NL CEN­TRAL

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - NL CENTRAL - News and notes by John Per­rotto Con­tribut­ing: Wire re­ports

Chicago Cubs

An­thony Rizzo made his first ca­reer ap­pear­ance at third base, and now the first base­man wants a chance to pitch.

Rizzo played third in the bot­tom of the ninth in­ning of a vic­tory at the Cincin­nati Reds on Aug. 22. He took the place of Kris

Bryant, who was hit by a pitch in the top of the in­ning and re­moved from the game for X-rays, which proved neg­a­tive.

Rizzo be­came the third left­handed third base­man in fran­chise his­tory and the first since the 1800s, but man­ager Joe Mad

don says there is “no chance” the 28-year-old will take the mound.

“I think it would have to be the per­fect storm,” Rizzo said. “It would have to be a play­off game, we’re out of pitch­ers and I’m the ab­so­lute last re­sort in the 27th in­ning. That’s the only way I could get it.”

Left- han­der Jon Lester (left shoul­der fa­tigue) pitched a sim­u­lated game Aug. 28, which could put him in line to re­join the ro­ta­tion dur­ing a four-game se­ries against the At­lanta Braves this week­end.

Mad­don ad­mit­ted he has been dye­ing his hair a darker shade of gray and jok­ingly said he is try­ing to achieve the blue-steel color ac­tor Ben Stiller wore in Zoolan­der.

Cincin­nati Reds

Tyler Mahle wasn’t per­fect in his ma­jor league de­but but pitched well enough.

The 22-year-old right-han­der was called up from Class AAA Louisville on Aug. 27 to start against the Pitts­burgh Pi­rates and took the loss, giv­ing up three runs in five in­nings.

Se­lected in the sev­enth round of the 2013 am­a­teur draft, Mahle pitched two no-hit­ters in the mi­nor leagues, in­clud­ing a per­fect game this sea­son for Class AA Pen­sacola (Fla.) on April 22. Mahle filled in for right-han­der

Homer Bai­ley, whose pre­vi­ous start Aug. 24, a no-de­ci­sion against the Chicago Cubs, was cut to three in­nings be­cause of ir­ri­ta­tion in his shoul­der. Bai­ley was sched­uled to start again Aug. 30 against the New York Mets.

Mahle’s bat­tery­mate, catcher

Chad Wal­lach, also made his ma­jor league de­but af­ter be­ing called up from Louisville. He is the son of Mi­ami Mar­lins bench coach and for­mer big-league third base­man Tim Wal­lach.

Left fielder Adam Du­vall earned his ma­jors-lead­ing 13th out­field as­sist Aug. 25 when he threw out Pi­rates first base­man Josh Bell at home plate. It is the most as­sists by a Reds out­fielder since Jay Bruce had 13 in 2013.

Right- handed re­liever Ale­jan­dro Chacin gave up a home run to the first bat­ter he faced, the Cubs’ Tommy La Stella, on Aug. 23 af­ter be­ing called up from Louisville.

Mil­wau­kee Brew­ers

Zach Davies looks so young that he oc­ca­sion­ally gets mis­taken for a bat­boy.

How­ever, the 24-year-old righthander has emerged as the ace of the Brew­ers pitch­ing staff in his sec­ond full sea­son. He won his 15th game Aug. 26, pitch­ing seven shutout in­nings at the Los An­ge­les Dodgers.

“It’s a fun ac­com­plish­ment,” Davies said. “I think al­most ev­ery­one in this room is re­ally try­ing to make the play­offs — that’s the end goal. It’s nice for my­self, but I had a lot of help to get there.”

Davies had a 5.08 ERA in his first 19 starts, but in his last eight out­ings his ERA is 1.67. Over­all, he is 15-7 with a 3.91 ERA in 27 starts.

“There’s not a big change that he’s made,” man­ager Craig Coun­sell said. “It’s four pitches work­ing to­gether with each other, and that’s what makes him so ef­fec­tive.”

Catcher An­drew Susac (right trapez­ius strain), on the dis­abled list since Aug. 15, was ex­pected to be­gin a re­hab as­sign­ment this week. An­other catcher, Jett Bandy (frac­tured rib), is likely to be ac­ti­vated from the DL on Sept. 1 af­ter be­ing shelved since Aug. 4.

Left- han­der Brent Suter (strained ro­ta­tor cuff) also is ex­pected to be ac­ti­vated Sept. 1. He was placed on the DL on Aug. 13.

Pitts­burgh Pi­rates

Ger­rit Cole made his­tory with his arm and his bat.

The right-han­der hit a home run and pitched seven in­nings while com­bin­ing with re­liev­ers

Juan Ni­ca­sio and Felipe Rivero on a five-hit shutout Aug. 26 in a 1-0 vic­tory at the Cincin­nati Reds. It was the first time in Pi­rates his­tory a pitcher drove in all of the team’s runs in a win.

“That’s the old thing: When some­thing like this hap­pens, you jok­ingly say he Lit­tle Leagued them,” man­ager Clint Hur­dle said.

Cole got his first ca­reer vic­tory against the Reds af­ter go­ing 0-6 in nine pre­vi­ous starts. The home run was the third of his five-year ca­reer, and Cole stum­bled on his trot around the bases.

“I al­most broke my an­kle at sec­ond base, and I think (Reds sec­ond base­man) Scooter Gen­nett was laugh­ing at me,” Cole said. “It doesn’t hap­pen very of­ten. It’s cool be­ing in the box and hear­ing the sound off the bat.” Catcher Fran­cisco Cervelli (left thigh) went on the dis­abled list Aug. 26. He had been ac­ti­vated only a day ear­lier af­ter miss­ing 10 games be­cause of pain in his left wrist.

Right fielder Gre­gory Polanco (left ham­string), out since Aug. 13, started do­ing light agility drills, but there was no timetable for his re­turn.

St. Louis Car­di­nals

Trevor Rosen­thal’s come­back sea­son will end on the op­er­at­ing ta­ble.

The closer will have Tommy John el­bow surgery af­ter suf­fer­ing a par­tial tear of the ul­nar col­lat­eral lig­a­ment. The right-han­der likely will miss at least the first half of next sea­son, too.

Rosen­thal, 27, con­verted 11 of 13 save op­por­tu­ni­ties this sea­son. He had a com­bined 93 saves in 2014 and 2015 but strug­gled last year and was re­placed by Se­ung Hwan Oh.

Rosen­thal re­claimed the closer’s job in July af­ter some rocky out­ings by Oh, who is likely to get the bulk of the save chances again.

“It felt like we were get­ting in a groove, I was in a groove, and to kind of have this hap­pen and take a piece away from a re­ally good team is a lit­tle bit of a bum­mer,” Rosen­thal said.

Third base­man Jedd Gy­orko (right ham­string) was placed on the dis­abled list Aug. 27 and is likely out un­til mid-Septem­ber.

Matt Car­pen­ter and Greg Gar­cia are ex­pected to play third while Gy­orko re­cov­ers.

Rookie first base­man Luke Voit was re­called from Class AAA Mem­phis to take Gy­orko’s ros­ter spot. If Car­pen­ter makes the ma­jor­ity of starts at third, Voit prob­a­bly will see sig­nif­i­cant play­ing time at first.

“That might have been the best slider I’ve seen in a long time. It was elite.”

Pi­rates man­ager Clint Hur­dle on Reds rookie right-han­der Robert Stephen­son, who had a ca­reer-high 11 strike­outs in six in­nings Aug. 25 in a win vs. Pitts­burgh

DAVID KOHL, USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Ad­vanc­ing on a wild pitch, Cubs first base­man An­thony Rizzo slides into sec­ond base in the fifth in­ning vs. the Reds on Aug. 22. In the ninth, Rizzo moved over to play third base for the first time.

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