Albert Pujols gets his 1,000th RBI
Cardinals slugger joins elite territory in franchise history
Fittingly, Albert Pujols' 1,000th RBI came on a grand slam.
The slam on Saturday, Pujols' second of the young season, put him in the select company of Stan Musial, Enos Slaughter, Jim Bottomley, Rogers Hornsby and Ken Boyer as the Cardinals' all-time leading run producers.
"I think you understand you're in the presence of a once-in-a-lifetime kind of hitter," teammate Khalil Greene told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Technically, I don't know if you could improve on anything in terms of balance, plate discipline, power ... everything. He's not just a dangerous hitter; he's phenomenal. There aren't too many guys who can take one pitch into the upper deck, then take a 0-2 slider the other way for a double down the line."
Flores heeds advice, provides results: Jesus Flores, who went 3-for-4 with a key home run and three RBIs on Sunday, served as a good example of Nationals hitting coach Rick Eckstein's philosophy, asking players to bring it down a notch instead of trying to give the proverbial 110 percent.
"Body language-wise, he just has a knack for slowing things down, and you can really see him bearing down," Eckstein told the Washington Post. "And that's part of hitting in crucial situations -- taking control of the moment, not letting the moment take control of you. And I think that's where Flo has really done a very good job.
"What happens, your heart is in the right place: 'OK, I want to be the guy.' But you're almost breathing fire, you want to get it done so bad," Eckstein continued. "But you have to learn to step out and relax -- take control, easy, 80 percent -- because the natural game is going to speed you up a little bit."
Holm a natural Giant: Steve Holm never liked the Dodgers while growing up in Sacramento and has even less love for the franchise after coming through the Giants' system and listening to coaches talk about the clubs' rivalry.
"Once I finished signing my name on my first contract, the scout who signed me, Todd Thomas, said to me, 'By the way, you officially hate the Dodgers now,'" Holm told the San Francisco Chronicle. "In the Minor Leagues, I had coaches like Trevor Wilson, Steve Decker and Kirt Manwaring. Coming up through the system, you learn you're not supposed to like the Dodgers."
Kendrick's success more about hands than yoga: Howie Kendrick broke out in a big way over the weekend, with five hits and six RBIs. On Sunday, he decided to have some fun with reporters, inventing a reason for his latest success.
"I just started doing yoga and meditating in the morning, just thinking about my at-bats," Kendrick deadpanned to the Los Angeles Times. "It's good for the mind. It helps you relax a little bit."
Actually, Kendrick watched video and discovered that his hands were too far back.
"It was something so small that I didn't even know that I was doing it," Kendrick said. "As far as hitting, the hand adjustment was very important."
Gordon's return will be a boost: Barring the unforeseen, the Diamondbacks planned to activate Tom Gordon Monday.
"He has leadership qualities, similar to what Brandon Lyon [offered last year]," manager Bob Melvin told the Arizona Republic. "He's a guy that guys kind of lean on down there. Based on what he's accomplished in his career -- he's closed, he's pitched the eighth inning, he's pitched the seventh inning -- and he's kind of a gritty guy that likes to be a leader. It's going to be big for us."
Greinke covering the plate to keep runs off board: It's now been 43 innings (29 of which have come this season) since Zack Greinke has given up an earned run. He's now sitting at 4-0. Much of the credit for his success, he admits, goes to pitching coach Bob McClure.
"I tried to fight it for a while," Greinke told the Kansas City Star, "but you kind of realize that Mac still hasn't been wrong in anything he's ever told me, not that I'll listen to whatever he says right away."
McClure says his advice has been quite simple, actually.
"All I've tried to get across to him," he said, "is in order to throw fewer pitches, he needs to use both sides of the plate and go back and forth. Then you can be on the plate more and throw fewer pitches."
Taveras gets well-deserved day off: Willy Taveras is known for his desire to play every day, and Reds manager Dusty Baker knows that if he's going to give his outfielder a day off, he's going to have to do so without Taveras asking for it. On Saturday, Baker did just that.
"[Taveras] thanked me," Baker told MLB.com. "He's played every day [since Opening Day]. A guy that runs as much as he does and plays center field, he needs a break every now and then."
Bannister seeks to continue momentum: In his first start of the year, Brian Bannister worked six shutout innings against Cleveland. On Monday night, the Kansas City pitcher hopes to continue that run and give his team a chance to win against the high-flying Blue Jays.
"It was just good to be back," Bannister told MLB.com, speaking of his first start. "I worked hard in Triple-A, and I just wanted to keep the momentum going that the pitching staff had created. They've had a lot of really positive outings this year, and I just wanted to step in and not disrupt that."
Moyer continues his magic thanks to wind: Jamie Moyer picked up the 249th win of his career on Sunday, placing him just two wins behind Bob Gibson on the all-time wins list. He credited the wind for helping him get his 12th career victory against the Marlins.
"The wind was swirling and would go back out," Moyer told MLB.com. "To me, it was a matter of trying to keep the ball on the ground. The way the wind was blowing today allowed my ball to sink more than it normally does. I tried to take advantage of that and get some ground balls."
Moehler to get another rehab start: Brian Moehler will make at least one more rehab start in the Minors after having an effective outing for Triple-A Round Rock (Texas) on Friday. Currently on the disabled list with a right knee sprain, Moehler gave up two runs -- one earned -- in four innings against New Orleans. Wearing a knee brace, Moehler threw 44 of his 77 pitches for strikes.
"I felt just what I expected for not being on the mound for 10 days," Moehler told the Houston Chronicle. "It's about what I expected. I was pleased with it. Obviously, you can always do better, but I was happy with the outcome."
Home plate collision lands Quintero on DL: After being involved in a home-plate collision with Mike Cameron on Friday night, Humberto Quintero was placed on the disabled list on Saturday with a strained right shoulder. Because the team felt Quintero would be unable to play for three to four days, the Astros decided to place him on the DL and recall J.R. Towles from Triple-A Round Rock.
"My shoulder and my neck hurt a little bit," Quintero told the Houston Chronicle. "So my shoulder's swelling, too."
Hoffman glad to return to live action: Trevor Hoffman is glad to be back on the active roster with the Milwaukee Brewers. The all-time saves leader started the season on the disabled list.
"I think 17 days in, to finally have your Opening Day, is a little bit different," Hoffman told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I'm definitely glad to be back."
Feldman wants to claim rotation spot: Scott Feldman hopes his latest start against Baltimore will help him earn an extended stay in the Rangers rotation. Feldman, who started the season in the bullpen for Texas, allowed only one run in five innings.
"I would love to be in the rotation," he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "It was a lot of fun -- to get an opportunity to start a ballgame. It's something that I really enjoy doing."
Feldman hopes to add to Saturday's strong showing in his next outing on Thursday against Oakland.
"I hope they can't take me out of the rotation," said Feldman, who made 25 starts in 2008. "A lot of that stuff is out of my control. When I get the opportunity, I have to go out and do the best that I can."
Bruney out for 2-3 weeks: The New York Yankees placed Brian Bruney on the disabled list due to an elbow injury. Bruney, who has a strained flexor mass, is expected to be out no more than two to three weeks.
"My initial reaction was that I feel bad, and I feel like I'm letting my teammates down," Bruney told the New York Daily News. "In the end, if I don't say something and it becomes something bigger, I'd really be letting them down."
Hughes gets promotion, earns start: Phil Hughes will start on Tuesday night against Detroit, the New York Yankees announced over the weekend. Hughes was 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA in three starts at Triple-A Scranton (Pa.). Manager Joe Girardi said Hughes will make more than one start for the Yankees.
"You don't call a guy up to make one start; that's unfair to put that type of pressure on him," Girardi told the New York Daily News. "You hope he goes out, pitches very well and continues to pitch like he's been pitching down there. We plan on him being in our rotation."
Webb faces prolonged stay out of action: Brandon Webb is now expected to miss at least six more weeks with a strained right shoulder. Webb had a setback on Friday when he experienced problems while throwing. He was told to shut down activity for a week and then start to strengthen his arm. He will not throw for three weeks.
"It's frustrating because what I feel right now," Webb told the Arizona Republic. "I feel fine; just when I throw is when I get the pain. So, hopefully we'll just give it a little more time to heal, and we'll be ready to go in a few more weeks."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.