When the Giants signed Juan Uribe, they envisioned him being a utility player, but Uribe has started 26 of the last 28 games during the club's battle for the NL Wild Card spot. Uribe has hit .341 with eight homers and 18 RBIs in that stretch.

"It's a credit to Juan -- he's kept himself ready," manager Bruce Bochy told the San Francisco Chronicle. "He got shut down a little bit and became our utility guy, but he's done well to get himself ready, and he's getting the playing time he obviously deserves."

"Uribe is a unique character," teammate Sergio Romo said. "I've never really played with anyone who has as much charisma. He's always energetic, always up-and-going. He reminds us [by the way he acts] that we're still playing a game, and, if we have fun, we're going to do well."

LaPorta hitting comfort zone at first base: Matt LaPorta, one of Cleveland's top hitting prospects, doesn't mind whether he's playing left field, right field or first base, the latter of which he's fielded in recent games and back in college.

"I'm enjoying it now," LaPorta told the Akron Beacon Journal. "It's about being comfortable there. First is more of a skill position, being in the infield. So it's a little hard to get back to where I was a couple of years ago [in college]. Plus up here, the game is a lot faster."

And, he likes chatting it up with the opposition while he's at first base.

"I like that part of the game," he said. "I just chat with guys, ask, 'How you doing?' You don't have to know someone to ask how things are going."

First home run a hit for Carp: Mike Carp hit his first Major League home run on Wednesday. Teammates congratulated the Mariners rookie by hitting him in the face with an ice cream pie and by presenting him with a ball that read, "Congradulashuns Mike Karp" before giving him the actual home run ball.

"Everything you dreamed of," Carp told the Seattle Times about the moment. "You grow up as a kid wanting to hit a home run in a big league ballpark, and I finally got it out of the way."

Cervelli's heroics worthy of pie to the face: Francisco Cervelli got to play hero for the Yankees on Wednesday night. The rookie hit a single to left field in the ninth inning for a game-winning RBI single as the Yankees defeated Toronto, 5-4.

Afterward, he sprinted into right field in attempt to get away from teammates Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera.

"I know Cano and Melky want to kill me," Cervelli told the New York Daily News. "It's unbelievable."

He then got the customary whipped-cream pie in the face after the game during a television interview.

"I was waiting a long time for the pie," Cervelli said. "It tasted good."

Vazquez might stay in Atlanta: With the instant success of rookie Tommy Hanson and the return of Tim Hudson, the Braves pitching staff is on the upswing. Javy Vazquez wouldn't mind being part of the staff again next season.

"Hopefully I'll be here," Vazquez, recently named National League Player of the Week, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I really want to be here. Hopefully they want me here, too."

"It's a great town to play in," Vazquez said. "Every time I came here, I loved it over here. The guys are awesome. The coaching staff is great. I don't have any negatives."

Pierzynski joins millennium club for eighth year in a row: A.J. has now caught 1,000 or more innings in each of the past eight seasons, the last five of which have come as a member of the Chicago White Sox. For the Sox, that's a franchise record.

"It really means a lot, and it's kind of a cool thing to have," Pierzynski told MLB.com. "You know, it's something that means that I've been lucky, for one, not to have anything strange happen.

"Two, I've been able to run out there every day and I've been on some pretty good teams. We've been in pennant races where I've been fortunate enough to have to go out there a lot. And it means Ozzie [Guillen] has enough confidence in me to keep putting me out there."

Harang treats clubbies: Aaron Harang presented Reds clubhouse manager Rick Stowe and staff with the keys to a top-of-the-line, six-seat golf cart on Thursday. Of course the cart is red.

Harang ordered the all-electric cart from a local auto dealer, paid for it and handed it over to the clubhouse personnel. And they took it on a trial run around the underground circumference of Great American Ballpark.

"I've been thinking about doing this for a while," Harang told reporters. "These guys do so much for me and for the other players.

"They don't have their own cart," he added. "Whenever they need to take us out to the bullpen or haul stuff around, they had to go hunting for a golf cart and borrow it."

Theriot ready to take leadoff spot: There is no way to know who will be leading off for the 2010 Cubs, but Ryan Theriot says he'd accept the challenge.

"Look, I enjoy hitting first," Theriot told MLB.com. "I think I can do it, for sure. You change your approach just a tad, but it's something I've done in the past and feel very comfortable doing.

"When I'm called on to hit up there, I enjoy it. When I'm called on to hit second or eighth or seventh -- or like I always joke with [manager] Lou [Piniella], I need to be hitting third or fourth. You just kind of adjust and figure it out."

Greinke gets win, hit in the arm: Zack Greinke picked up his 14th win on Thursday, pitching five innings in the Royals' 5-2 victory over the Tigers, but not before being struck on the right arm by a line drive.

"I don't remember even moving out there, but when I saw it, I thought, 'Man, I was sort of close to catching it,'" Greinke told MLB.com. "But still not even close, I didn't even get a glove on it."

Oswalt's back puts him out for season: Roy Oswalt will not pitch any more this season. Oswalt, who has been pitching with a degenerative disk in his back, aggravated the back once again on Tuesday during his start against Cincinnati.

"It just ain't going away," Oswalt told the Houston Chronicle. "I've pitched with it for [four] starts, and it's just not getting any better. It's just kind of lingering more and more. If we were in contention fighting for the playoffs, I would probably get up and just try to block it and ride it as long as I could. But I don't want it to linger on for next year."

Tejada glad to serve as mentor to Manzella: With the Astros all but eliminated from the playoffs, manager Cecil Cooper informed Miguel Tejada that rookie Tommy Manzella will probably get at least one start and perhaps two per series the rest of the season.

Manzella, who is 1-for-4 this year and made the first start of his career on Wednesday, said Tejada has offered a lot of help and guidance.

"When I got to the big leagues, people helped me," Tejada told the Houston Chronicle. "That taught me that, when a kid like Manzella came up, I should help him and give him advice.

"He's a young player with talent to be in the big leagues and be the future shortstop of this team. My job is to help him if he's going to be my substitute for the future."

Beltran trying to make the most of final weeks: While the Mets have been eliminated from the playoffs, the season still has a lot of meaning for Carlos Beltran.

Beltran missed 10 weeks due to a bone bruise below his right knee and is using the rest of the season to settle back into a groove at the plate before the season ends.

"This is helping a lot," Beltran told Newsday. "Because, if I were to go home without coming back, it would have been something very difficult for me. I would have been feeling worried about the situation, but just getting back out there erased all of those negative thoughts. This is what I needed to do to get back to be what I was."

Wakefield still trying to regain strength in legs: Tim Wakefield had a meeting with manager Terry Francona, general manager Theo Epstein, pitching coach John Farrell and team medical director Thomas Gill on Wednesday in an effort to determine what plan they will try to follow the rest of this season. Wakefield is suffering from strength deficit in his legs and it has not improved.

"The meeting we had, basically, was to determine whether or not it was safe for me to continue to pitch because my strength has gone down," Wakefield told the Boston Globe. "We wanted to get everybody together and decide, you know, am I throwing another side [tomorrow], see how it feels from there? As of now, I'm planning on pitching."

-- Red Line Editorial