USA TODAY US Edition
National League notes
Arizona: SS Stephen Drew had one hit in four at-bats and turned a double play while playing in the field for two innings in an extended spring training game at the Diamondbacks facility in Phoenix. Drew had his first swings in a game setting of any kind since his season-ending right-ankle fracture July 20. The Diamondbacks have no timetable for his return. . . . LHP Joe Saunders lowered his ERA to 0.28 in his last four starts against San Diego with seven scoreless innings Wednesday. Saunders has not given up an earned run in his last 22Z innings against the Padres and is 3-1 with a 1.19 ERA in his last five starts against them.
Atlanta: C Brian Mccann has switched to a hockey-style face mask. He tried it out during spring training and found that it gave him a larger field of vision and was more comfortable. He can thank backup C
David Ross, who worked on the prototype with the manufacturer all last season. . . . LH relievers Eric
O’flaherty and Jonny Venters and RH closer Craig Kimbrel, the end-ofgame bullpen trio, don’t have a nickname they like. “We don’t need a name,” Kimbrel said. “We just want to go out there and do our job.” News media had dubbed the trio “O’ventbrel” last season.
Chicago: LF Alfonso Soriano got his first stolen base of the season. At 36, he doesn’t run like he used to, but he might go more often this season. “My legs are feeling good,” he said. “I feel like I can run more and help the team get some wins.” . . . 3B Ian
Stewart had his second consecutive multihit game after going 3-for-16 over his first five games. Stewart, a left-handed pull hitter, even tried to bunt for a hit Wednesday to foil a shift Milwaukee had on against him. Manager Dale Sveum said if teams were going to give the Cubs part of the field, he will have them work on bunting the ball to open spots.
RHP Mat Latos, pitching on a day the bullpen was shorthanded, lasted five innings. “He had a couple of high-pitch innings; he was nearly at 100 pitches when we took him out,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We were hoping to get six or seven. Then we could piece it together. When you exit after five and we’re already short, it came back to bite us.” . . . SS Zack Cozart went hitless in a game for the first time
this season. He was the first Reds rookie to record a hit in his first six games since Frankie Baumholtz in 1947.
The Rockies’ 17 runs Wednesday were the most scored by any team at Coors Field without hitting a homer, according to Elias Sports Bureau. The last time a team scored at least 17 runs without hitting a homer was Aug. 3, 2010, when Houston beat St. Louis 18-4.
1B Carlos Lee struggled the previous two Aprils, posting batting lines of .183 average/.221 on-base percentage/.232 slugging percentage in 2010 and .196/.237/ .324 in 2011. Lee emerged from the first homestand with a .364/.462/ .545 line, driving in seven runs in six games. He credits work with conditioning coach Gene Coleman for strengthening the legs and a refined batting stance suggested by hitting coach Mike Barnett. . . . RH reliever
Rhiner Cruz has turned in two scoreless outings, striking out three.
RH closer Javy Guerra retired 11 of the first 13 batters he faced this year and converted all four save chances through Wednesday. “Javy’s been solid, he’s been sharp, he’s attacked the strike zone. We like this guy’s stuff,” manager Don Mattingly said. “He’s tough to pick up, he’s got a lot of weapons.”
Interim manager Joey Cora said LF Logan Morrison, recovering from right-knee surgery, will probably not start today’s game, but Cora hopes RF Giancarlo Stanton, who has had pain in his left knee, can play. “Until they are 100%, it’s going be tough to get them out there five, six, seven games in row,” Cora said. “We’ve got to take care of them because we’re thinking October. We’re not thinking April.”
3B Aramis Ramirez was given the day off in the finale of the four-game series against the Cubs, his former club. Ramirez has struggled at the plate in the early going, batting .091 (2-for-22) though he has driven in five runs.
3B David Wright was cleared to play with a broken right little finger by a hand specialist, but the Mets will wait to see how he feels today before deciding whether to insert him in the lineup.
LF Pat Burrell will sign a one-day minor league contract and officially retire as a Phillie on May 19, the team announced. Burrell spent the last two seasons with Tampa Bay and San Francisco before retiring. He hit 292 home runs in 1,640 games. Burrell is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Giants-phillies game on Tuesday.
RHP A.J. Burnett, who has a broken right orbital bone, was slammed for a nine-run second inning Wednesday in his second rehab outing for high-a Bradenton (Fla.). He lasted 1Z innings after going 4Z innings last Friday. Burnett is 0-2 with an 8.53 ERA, but he has struck out nine and walked two in 6z innings. The timetable for his return remains early May.
1B Lance Berkman was diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain, which is a slight tear and is least severe, of his left calf and is expected to be out until Tuesday. Berkman had a similar injury in 2009 while with Houston. That strain eventually got worse as he attempted to play through it, and he wound up on the disabled list.
RH closer Huston Street picked up his first save as a Padre on Wednesday after being introduced to his entry song — Ted Nugent’s Stranglehold. Street was keeping the identity a secret, although it turns out that he picked the song three or four days into camp after hearing it on strength and conditioning coach Jim Ma
lone’s sound system in the weight room.
RHP Tim Lince
cum’s 2z-inning outing Tuesday was the shortest of his career, and something else about him was short — his hair. His shoulder-length locks were substantially trimmed. He has given up five first-inning runs in two games after giving up eight firstinning runs in all of 2011. The twotime Cy Young Award winner’s ERA after Tuesday: 12.91.
LF Michael Morse will be shut down for at least six weeks to rest the strained muscle in his back. Morse, who has been on the DL since the start of the season, was troubled by the injury for much of spring training and aggravated it during a rehab game this week.