DENVER -- When Brian McCann didn't even touch the third-strike fastball that Clint Barmes swung at and missed in the eighth inning of Tuesday night's loss to the Rockies, there was reason to wonder if the Braves catcher was once again experiencing the vision problems that affected him at the start of the past two seasons.
But it turns out the passed ball was actually directly influenced by the vision problems that Takashi Saito experiences during night games. Instead of signaling pitches to the 40-year-old reliever by simply putting a certain number of fingers between their legs, Braves catchers are forced to provide signs in the manner that a third-base coach does.
After signaling for a breaking ball, McCann was unable to react to the high fastball that wasn't impeded until it hit umpire Lance Barksdale in the right shoulder. The resulting passed ball nullified what would have been an inning-ending strikeout and gave Dexter Fowler a chance to give the Rockies a three-run lead with his two-run single.
"If you're sitting slider and you're expecting a pitch at 82 [mph] and somebody throws it [94 mph], it's tough," McCann said. "If it was in the zone, I might have been able to catch it. But it was by me before I could do anything."
McCann and backup catcher David Ross will continue to provide Saito signals in the manner that they have throughout the season during night games.
"We got crossed up last night in a ... situation," McCann said. "But no, it doesn't really happen that often."
Braves' Lee notches 1,000th career RBI
DENVER -- Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez spent most of the past seven seasons serving as the Cubs' corner infielders. Now they find themselves linked as the latest Major Leaguers to record 1,000 career RBIs.
Lee, who was acquired via a trade with the Cubs last week, notched his 1,000th RBI with a first-inning groundout in a 12-10 loss the Braves suffered against the Rockies Wednesday afternoon. The 34-year-old first baseman added to his total with a second-inning RBI double.
"He's a professional hitter," Braves catcher Brian McCann said. "He's been proving what he can do for a long time. It's good to have him on our side now."
While playing for the Padres on May 7, 1997, Lee collected his first career RBI with a second-inning single off Cubs hurler Frank Castillo. He has posted two 100-RBI seasons, with the latest coming last year, when he drove in a career-high 111 runs.
Ramirez notched his 1,000th RBI on Aug. 14 with a second-inning leadoff homer against Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter. Lee hit a solo shot the next inning to provide the difference in a 3-2 Cubs victory.
Hudson unsure he could play outfield
DENVER -- While shagging fly balls during batting practice, Tim Hudson gains the sense that he still has the athletic skills that allowed him to serve as an above-average center fielder during his standout career at Auburn University.
"In my head, I'm pretty good at it," Hudson said. "But the skills have vanished over the years. Mentally, I think you think you can still do it."
The realistic portion of Hudson's psyche tells him that he wouldn't feel comfortable if asked to do what Phillies veteran hurler Roy Oswalt did during Tuesday night's 16-inning loss to the Astros. Out of position players when Ryan Howard was ejected at the end of the 14th inning, the Phillies were forced to play the rest of the game with Oswalt serving as their left fielder.
"I think guys probably think it would be cool to get out there," Hudson said. "But if it came down to it and a pitcher had to go in as an outfielder, I don't think I'd be comfortable out there making plays when the game is on the line. I don't think pitchers want to be the reason why you win or lose a game, because they goof up a play. But if that's your only option, it's your only option."
Lowe tired of coming out on short end
DENVER -- Derek Lowe has attempted to maintain his sanity by continuing to display his often witty and lighthearted personality. But after watching the Braves lose for the 10th time over the course of his past 12 starts Tuesday night, the veteran pitcher was visibly frustrated.
"It seems like I lose every time I go out there," Lowe said. "It's been a long time."
It's actually been just a little more than two weeks since Lowe beat the Giants on Aug. 8. This served as just one of the two victories that he has claimed while posting a respectable 3.79 ERA over his past 12 starts.
While going 1-3 with a 3.26 ERA in August, Lowe has been plagued by a lack of run support. The Braves have scored two runs or fewer while he's still been on the mound in four of the five starts he's made this month.
"I've gone through streaks like this before," Lowe said. "But it definitely gets frustrating because of the time of year that we're in. You want to go out and win and games and we've lost quite a few of my starts in a row."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.