a 2009 NL East Preview: 2009 MLB National League Central Preview
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2009 MLB National League Central Notebook


While the Pittsburgh Pirates may not want to serve as the farm system to the rest of Major League Baseball, the trade of center fielder Nate McLouth to Atlanta for three minor league players on June 3 gave the club a chance to recall prospect Andrew McCutchen.

The organization’s 2005 first-round selection made his debut June 4 against the New York Mets and gave fans a reason why McLouth was shipped off.

McCutchen went 2-for-4, scored thee runs and drove in a run in the lead off spot in the Pirates’ 11-6 victory.

Pittsburgh manager John Russell told reporters he did not view the move as something for future but a reason to get the best players the organization has one the roster. McCutchen, 22, a right-handed hitting center fielder is a two-time minor league all-star in 2006 and 2008, was the franchise’s 2006 minor league player of the year.


The Reds had to return right-hander Edison Volquez back to the 15-day disabled list because of tendinitis in his pitching elbow.

Volquez returned from a DL stint earlier in the week but experienced numbness in his fingers after his start against St. Louis. Team medical staff officials are calling it the best scenario of bad news.

Volquez’s situation is basically turning the Reds into your local medical facility. First baseman Joey Votto and third baseman Edwin Encarnacion are also out on the DL. Votto is dealing with an inner ear infection. The Reds’ on-again off-again offense really needs Votto to return quickly. He is hitting .357 with eight home runs and 33 RBIs.


Regardless of the off-the-field connection with steroids, veteran shortstop Miguel Tejada has found a way to rise above it all.

Tejada began June 4 action leading National League in batting at .358 with a 17-game hitting streak. Tejada had also belted six home runs with 32 RBIs. Tejada apologized to major league baseball and fans across the country when it was learned that he lied to congress about his use of steroids. His name was found in the Mitchell Report that was released in December, 2007.

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Center fielder Mike Cameron is far from being the journeyman center fielder because he really isn’t. He’s just one of those players who turns out to be a valued trade asset.

That’s why he has spent his career in Chicago with the White Sox, Seattle, the New York Mets, Cincinnati, San Diego and now Milwaukee.

Now, in his second year with the Brewers, the 14-year veteran is having a very solid start to his season at .289 with 11 home runs and 27 RBIs. The big knock on Cameron is his lack of plate discipline. He has struck out at leas 130 times in nine different seasons. He’s on his way to a tenth with 45 whiffs already this season. But Cameron is sitting on 291 career home runs, so it’s likely he will pass 300.


While Twitter is the new social network rage, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has not found it so amusing.

La Russa is suing the site because he claims the site used his name to scoff drunk driving and two pitchers who died who damaged his reputation.

The suit did not specify damages. But the suit said someone created a false account under La Russa’s name. And you don’t want to mess with La Russa. He does have a law degree.


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Former Cubs star outfielder Sammy Sosa has let it be known that he will soon announce his retirement from the game. Of course, it’s a little anti-climatic since Sosa has not played since the 2007 with his original ballclub, Texas.

Sosa, who name has been connected to steroids and was suspended for using a corked bat, hit 609 career home runs and became a star when he was with the Cubs. He thinks he should be in the Hall of Fame.

But because of his transgressions, it’s hard to think that when he is eligible in 2013, Sosa will be a first ballot member.



By Kevin Lonnquist
MLBcenter.com Staff Writer

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