The ability to seamlessly transition from position to position is a function of preparation for Willie Bloomquist.
06/12/2009 4:12 PM ET
Preparation key for Bloomquist
Royals utilityman expects the unexpected on diamond
"It doesn't come natural, I don't think," Bloomquist told MLB.com. "It's something you have to work on and expect the unexpected to some extent and be ready for everything and anything.
"You try to think along with the manager to try and get mentally prepared as well as physically prepared a couple of days in advance. Maybe thinking this guy might need a breather or this guy might need a day off or whatever."
What's most important, he added, is that he's in the lineup at all.
"That's the positive part of it," Bloomquist said. "I've got a manager here that isn't afraid to use me in that capacity, so that's been great for me because I've been in there a significant amount and, whether it be at one position or a bunch of different ones, when you're out there, it's great."
Nathan ready to make return to Wrigley: Joe Nathan, who pitched at Wrigley Field twice when he was with the Giants, looked forward to returning to baseball's second-oldest park with the Twins during Interleague Play.
"I think anytime you get an atmosphere like you have in a place like Wrigley, it makes it exciting to be out there, to be on the field, and just to experience that whole thing," Nathan told , "I'm looking forward to it. It's been six or seven years since I've been there. So it's definitely nice to have this at the tail end of a long road trip since everyone is excited about it."
Canizares brings reputation as a hitter: Barbaro Canizares, who is replacing injured Greg Norton on the Braves' roster, comes from Triple-A Richmond with a reputation for a productive bat.
"We got a healthy body and a guy who's known as a good hitter," manager Bobby Cox told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "The guy can hit. I've only seen him a couple of days in Spring Training."
"He hits everything," said rookie pitcher Tommy Hanson, who played with Canizares at Richmond. "He tries to set up pitchers. I think he'll be able to hit here."
Ethier getting some breaks: Andre Ethier is on a hot streak, batting .450 with four homers and two doubles during a recent one-week stretch. His average is up to .280, but he hasn't been doing anything differently than earlier in the season.
"Not one thing," Ethier told the Los Angeles Times. "The balls are falling in. Sometimes they fall in, sometimes they don't. Same swing, same approach."
Ankiel faring better against lefties: Rick Ankiel, with three hits for the second successive night, is getting more comfortable against left-handers.
"Sometimes when you don't see [lefties] much, they can be tough," Ankiel told MLB.com. "But today I felt like I was following the ball real good."
Ankiel finished the series against Florida with eight hits in 13 at-bats.
Franklin confident more work coming: Ryan Franklin got his 14th save and expressed confidence in the Cardinals' ability to generate many more save opportunities this season.
"Teams go through struggles, and I've probably had two save opportunities in the last two or three weeks," Franklin told MLB.com after St. Louis' 6-5 win over the Marlins. "But there's nothing I can do. I can't run around here with my head down. I've got to keep my head up, and things will turn around for us."
Pence playing the game he loves: Astros fans quickly pick up on Hunter Pence's outgoing personality and passion for baseball.
"I think that's why people are drawn to Hunter," Lance Berkman told the Houston Chronicle. "I don't think I've ever been that chipper. He loves to play. He loves the game."
Now in his second full season, Pence is among the league leaders in batting average and on-base percentage and he leads all right fielders in hits, batting average and on-base percentage.
"I get to play the game I love," he said. "There's a lot of scrutiny, and it's painful when you lose, when you mess up. I'm not going to let that change the perspective of the game I love."
Dellucci brings left-handed bat to Toronto: David Dellucci, let go by the Indians earlier this season, has signed a Minor League deal with the Blue Jays and will start out at Triple-A Las Vegas.
"He'll get some at-bats in Las Vegas -- then we'll see what happens," Jays manager Cito Gaston told the Toronto Star. "He's swung the bat well in his career, and we were looking for another left-handed bat who can help our other lefties [Adam Lind and Lyle Overbay]."
Chris Smith always prepared for the call: Chris Smith pitched two scoreless innings for the Brewers after not seeing any action for nearly a week following his callup from Triple-A Nashville.
"That's expected for guys who come up from Triple-A," Smith told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "But there will be a time when you're called upon.
"The best preparation I can have is to prepare myself like I am throwing every day. ... I think you have to be more prepared when you're not getting used because you don't have that feeling [of being on the mound or in the game]."
Correia impressive in earning the win: Kevin Correia of the Padres allowed just one run in six innings against the first-place Dodgers on Wednesday night.
"We're thrilled by the way Kevin pitched," closer Heath Bell told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "He can pitch like that every time out when he keeps it down the way he did tonight. He gave us six. That's all we in the bullpen ask. Give us six and the lead -- we'll hold it."
Correia had retired the final 15 hitters he faced and threw only 81 pitches through the first six innings.
Smoltz not circling dates vs. Braves: John Smoltz, whose final rehab start was delayed to Friday because of rain in Syracuse, isn't getting caught up in the possibility of making his first start for the Red Sox against his former club.
"I don't know if perfect is the word I would look at," Smoltz told the Boston Globe about the timing of his return. "When I signed with the Sox, I had no idea we were going to play the Braves. With the history and everything that's gone on, that cannot be a focus for me. If it falls that way, it falls that way, and I'll certainly attack them like I'll attack the Yankees or whoever else I play."
Fowler shines during rookie season: Rookie Dexter Fowler has a .356 on-base percentage and leads the Rockies with 28 walks.
"Early on, I never wanted to hit with two strikes. But I am learning to be more patient. I have a better idea of how the pitchers will attack me," Fowler told the Denver Post. "When I get on, it's obvious the guys behind me get more fastballs."
"He is really starting to show maturity in his at-bats," manager Jim Tracy said. "It makes a big difference when he's on. I don't want my third and fourth hitters walking. I want them swinging the bat."
-- Red Line Editorial