Tejada in elite group with homer
Veteran happy to be able to contribute during pennant race
Miguel Tejada hit his 300th career home run Wednesday night in the Padres' victory over Los Angeles. He became the 22nd active player to reach 300 homers and the 129th player overall to reach the milestone.
"I'm pretty happy in this situation," Tejada told MLB.com. "I'm not a home run hitter. I just go and swing and try to hit the ball hard. I'm happier not with the 300, but that the 300th got the win. This is a great night for the Padres."
Tejada, now with 15 homers this season, has hit eight home runs for the Padres since coming to the team in a trade with Baltimore on July 29.
Bautista's 50th homer came with confidence: Jose Bautista became only the 26th player in Major League history to reach 50 home runs in a season when he hit a solo homer on Wednesday against Seattle.
"I didn't have any number in mind ... or goals [when the season started], but I was confident in the changes that I'd made in my approach," Bautista told the Toronto Sun. "The way that I ended last season, with the way I played in winter ball and Spring Training, my confidence level was quite high, but there's no way did I imagine that I would hit 50."
Heart of the order an ideal spot for Gomes: Jonny Gomes has thoroughly enjoyed the 2010 season with the Reds, being a contributor in the heart of the batting order for a team atop the NL Central.
"There's nothing I want more in my baseball world than to be in the middle of the lineup during all of this team's success," Gomes told MLB.com. "That's what I've got going on now. I'm pretty happy."
Zambrano to have special guests: Carlos Zambrano is excited about having some close family members meet him next weekend.
"My mom will probably see me pitch for the first time ever [Oct. 2] in Houston," Zambrano, who also expects his father-in-law and mother-in-law to make the trip, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Cabrera enjoying MVP chatter: Miguel Cabrera knows his team missing the postseason may be a factor in his candidacy for the AL MVP Award, but he says even being in the conversation is an honor, no matter what.
"It's special," Cabrera told MLB.com, "because it's like you want that in your career, to get the MVP someday. If it doesn't happen, that's OK with me. I've got to work harder to help the team win next year, and it's going to be a different case.
"I know if we go to the playoffs or we win, it's going to be different. But that's what it is."
Hudson plans for future with final two starts: Daniel Hudson should get two more starts before the season comes to a close. He plans to build on both of them for the future.
"Anything you can use to get some extra confidence going for next year, the better," Hudson, who is 6-1 with a 1.65 ERA in 10 starts for the Diamondbacks since being acquired from the White Sox in the Edwin Jackson trade, told the The Arizona Republic.
Scott finds relaxed approach brings success: Luke Scott had a strong August, batting .314 with nine home runs and 20 RBIs. He says he tends to be at his best when he keeps from over-thinking.
"I've played my best baseball relaxed, when I know that the guys who put the lineup up have confidence in me," Scott told MLB.com. "And that's been true from every level. And I've had that this year."
Soria finds plenty to like about Rivera: Joakim Soria, who has once again reached the 40-save plateau, says that Mariano Rivera has always been one of his role models.
"He's had an awesome career, and he's the best," Soria told MLB.com. "He's a model because you never hear of him in trouble or anything. And I always hear he's a good teammate, and a leader and everything, so he's a good example to follow."
Takahashi hopeful of starting spot next season: Hisanori Takahashi is doing well as the Mets closer recently. However, the 35-year-old rookie still has hopes to return to the rotation next season.
"Right now, I'm kind of comfortable. I have confidence as a closer, in the bullpen. But I still do like starting," Takahashi told the New York Daily News.
He is 9-6 with a 3.83 ERA this season.
"This year, I did a lot of different roles," Takahashi said. "I tried to find a spot in the Major Leagues, and a closer was a spot. Next year, I'm not sure if I would get a good deal as a closer, or a good deal as a starter. As long as they give me the option, I'll start."
Hamilton eyes final three games for return: Josh Hamilton hopes to return to the field for the final three games of the season as he tries to recover from two fractured ribs he suffered while slamming into an outfield wall.
"I think that's reasonable," he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "It's still a fast ramp-up, but at the same time, I want to get some at-bats. I'll do what I can. If I feel like anything is making me go backward, I'll stop it."
Hamilton is feeling less pain in his left side after receiving three epidural nerve-blocking injections.
Baldelli could play his way onto playoff roster: On Thursday, Rocco Baldelli made his first start in right field since joining the Rays on Sept. 1. How well he can play the field may determine his fate with the team when the postseason roster is drawn up.
"If Rocco can play defense like that, it permits us to do other things," Rays manager Joe Maddon told the St. Petersburg Times.
Baldelli handled two fly balls. On one, he had to make a running, leaping catch, and he also fielded three base hits. At the plate he went 2-for-3 with an infield single.
Kuroda not looking ahead: Hiroki Kuroda made what could be his final start in Dodger Stadium on Thursday night and came away with a win. Kuroda is one of three Dodger pitchers who are free agents at the end of the season.
"I'm not thinking about the future," Kuroda told the Los Angeles Times before Thursday's game. "It might be more accurate for me to say that I don't want to think about it."
Kuroda is loved in Hiroshima because he re-signed with the Carp in 2005.
"When I was a free agent the first time, my main priority was to win a championship with the Carp," Kuroda said. "The next year, I was a year older and figured that if I ever wanted to pitch in the Majors, I had to make a move at that time. But as far as this offseason is concerned, I haven't even thought about what I'm going to prioritize."
Lincecum primed to come through: So far, Tim Lincecum was scheduled for the most important start of his career on Friday against the Rockies.
"Everybody sees what's in our reach," Lincecum told the San Jose Mercury News. "We're playing for a cause. I have to keep my poise and not let my emotions get the best of me."
Braden not quite ready for the end: Facing a Rangers squad looking to clinch a playoff berth, Dallas Braden came through on Thursday night. Braden pitched eight shutout innings, at one point retiring 19 consecutive batters.
"It was just kind of a classic Dallas game when he's on," manager Bob Geren told the Oakland Tribune. "When you can locate the ball in and out, throw the changeup in any count and mix in breaking balls, [it's tough]."
"There's no obese lady in sight yet, and she ain't singin'," Braden said. "Talk to you in October."
Pujols shows no signs of letting up: As the season begins to wind down, Albert Pujols finds himself atop the NL leader boards in both home runs (41) and RBIs (112) and is batting .309. Even as his team appears to be out of the race, Pujols says he will continue to play until he's told otherwise.
"I don't think we're out officially," Pujols told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "If you're not out, you can't disrespect the game. Until you're out officially, you've got to play and push as much as you can.
"I'm going to play until my manager tells me, 'That's enough.'"
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.