Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch likes the way Justin Upton looks at the plate, even when he's not swinging the bat.
05/17/2010 2:05 PM ET
Justin Upton finding comfort zone
D-backs right fielder feeling at ease at the plate
"His comfort at the plate is starting to be more obvious with how he takes pitches," Hinch told the The Arizona Republic. "There's not a lot of flinching when he's taking pitches."
When Upton isn't taking a pitch, he is hitting the ball safely. The slugger had three hits on both Friday and Saturday.
"Nothing's different," Upton said. "I'm actually seeing the ball pretty well right now, getting some pitches to hit. I've been getting some pitches to hit but not barreling them up. I'm getting the barrel on those pitches now, and they're finding holes."
Lopez lends a hand to clinic: Felipe Lopez was among the Major Leaguers to participate in the Wanna Play? Spectacular and Youth Summit in downtown Cincinnati on Saturday, part of the festivities surrounding the annual Civil Rights Game.
Lopez participated along with Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips and former players Joe Morgan, Eric Davis and Harold Reynolds.
"There were some kids and some fans," Lopez told MLB.com. "We did a defensive clinic, ground balls, talked about hitting. They would ask questions to us. It was cool."
Kendrick gets new home at top of lineup: Howie Kendrick has been moved from No. 7 to No. 2 in the Angels' order.
Last year, Kendrick was demoted to the Minors in the middle of the season. When he came back to the Majors, Kendrick batted .351 from July 4 to the end of the season. After a strong start, manager Mike Scioscia thinks now is the right time for the change.
"I might have changed some things last year, but I was a different player then," Kendrick told the Los Angeles Times. "Now, I feel a lot more confident. I'm not going to apply any pressure because I'm at the top of the lineup. I won't try to do too much."
"I'm glad [Scioscia] believes I can hit at the top of the lineup, but for me, I feel I can hit anywhere," Kendrick said. "Guys are going to make their pitches; it's up to us to capitalize on their mistakes."
McCutchen brings 'dynamic' approach: Manager John Russell admires Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen's ability to stay focused.
"He's that type of player," Russell told MLB.com. "He's got a great head on his shoulders and handles adversity so well, success so well. There are a lot of factors involved. I like to use the word dynamic because he's dynamic in about everything he does."
Storen set for promotion: The Nationals announced plans to activate Drew Storen, the 10th overall pick in the 2009 draft, prior to Monday's game against the Cardinals.
"We'll see where he fits in, what role," pitching coach Steve McCatty told the The Washington Post. "We'll try to make it easy and get his feet wet at first, and go from there. We're going to try to make it easier. You don't want to throw somebody right into the fire. Conditions will dictate what happens, but that's the way you'd like to do it."
First-rounder Crowe starts with a bang: In his first game as a member of the Orioles, Trever Crowe did his part with two hits -- including a home run.
"He can do a lot of things. I can see why a guy like him ... was drafted in the first round," manager Manny Acta told MLB.com. "I think, when everything is said and done, he could be part of what we're trying to do here."
Meche recalls dream-like grand slam: When asked about his best baseball memory, Gil Meche recounted a specific day when he was playing the infield.
"I was about 12. Played third base. I pitched and played third base," Meche told the Kansas City Star. "The score was 7-10, we were losing. How many innings did they have back then? Six? It was the sixth inning, two outs, bottom of the sixth, bases loaded, and guess who comes up to the plate, Zack [Greinke]? Yeah, it's Gil Meche. And he hits a grand slam, to win the game."
Carlos Guillen relying on instincts at second: Carlos Guillen isn't at all worried about transitioning to second base.
"It's all about instincts," Guillen told MLB.com. "You don't learn that in one day or one week. It's seasons. It's something you don't teach to kids. Some things, you learn. Like I said, I don't put any pressure on myself. I just try to have fun, try to do the best I can."
Worth comes through in first appearance: Danny Worth picked up his first Major League hit in his first at-bat on Sunday when he collected an infield single with the bases full of Tigers.
"You think the complete opposite -- you think a good base hit or line drive," Worth told the Detroit News. "You dream of a home run, but who wouldn't take that in the first at-bat?"
Coghlan turning the tide in May: Chris Coghlan appears to have made the adjustments to get out of his first prolonged slump.
In his last eight games, Coghlan is batting .321 and has hit a home run in two of his last three appearances. Coghlan was frustrated by his start to the season but kept a positive attitude.
"I've never had struggles like that," Coghlan told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "But honestly I would never take it back for a second. You learn more in your trials than you do when you succeed. I've grown so much from that experience, as a hitter, as a player, as a person."
Broxton only concerned about winning: Early in the year, Jonathan Broxton did not get many opportunities to save games. But now he has six saves in the past 10 days.
"Stats are stats; as long as we're winning, that's all that matters," Broxton told the Los Angeles Times. "It doesn't matter about the saves or ERA, as long as we're winning, I'm happy. We just have to continue to play hard."
"I don't feel rusty," Broxton said. "My arm feels fine, and I'm throwing the ball good. But if I'm throwing the ball good and we're losing, then it's kind of pointless."
Pedro Feliz turns trip home into family time: Pedro Feliz, who played for the Giants for eight years and still makes his full-time home in nearby Foster City, Calif., enjoyed the Astros' trip to San Francisco.
"My family's there, so this is a good chance to spend some time with my family," he told MLB.com. "It's great being back."
Ricky Romero dedicates shutout to mom: Ricky Romero threw his first shutout against the Rangers on Saturday. Romero, now 4-1, tied a career high with 12 strikeouts and didn't walk a batter until the eighth inning. Of the 116 pitches he threw, 81 of them were strikes.
"Man, I tell you Ricky was just outstanding. He did a great job," manager Cito Gaston told the Toronto Sun. "To do what he did out there today was another Ricky right there. He just gets better all the time."
Romero said the only problem with the shutout was the timing of it.
"For it to be the first one [complete game] of my career means a lot," he said. "I wasn't able to get one last week for my mom. I got to pitch on Mother's Day [May 9], and I told her: 'I owe you one.' And this was definitely for her."
Francis completes comeback after shoulder surgery: Jeff Francis, who won 17 games in 2007, made his first appearance since Sept. 12, 2008.
The left-hander missed all of last season after having surgery to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. His teammates were almost excited as he was about his return on Sunday
"I haven't pitched in a while, and they haven't seen me pitch in even a longer while, so they probably enjoyed it just as much," Francis told MLB.com. "You can't describe [the emotions] really. There was a lot of preparation that went into this game today. I have four days to prepare for the next one. Not only the fans cheering, but the guys cheering for me when I got back into the dugout, I think that meant more than anything."
-- Red Line Editorial