MLB Notes

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METS: Pitcher Orlando Hernandez threw on flat ground after the boot protecting his sore right foot was removed.

Hernandez hasn't pitched since he allowed six hits and a season-high eight runs over three-plus innings in a 13-5 loss to Atlanta on Sept. 11. He has worked just six-plus innings since Aug. 26.

Hernandez said he threw easy and felt good. He plans to throw a bullpen session today if the foot responds well, but refused to speculate beyond that.

CARDINALS: After missing five starts while hobbled by a strained left calf muscle, Albert Pujols talked manager Tony La Russa into putting him in the lineup just before the start of Monday night's game in Milwaukee.

As a pinch-hitter, Pujols went 2-for-2 with four RBI, including a bases-loaded walk.

NATIONALS: Right-hander Shawn Hill was scratched from his final start of the season and will have surgery on his right arm.

The Nationals said left-hander Mike Bacsik will start in place of Hill in the finale of their three-game series against the New York Mets on Wednesday night.

MARLINS: Pitching coach Rick Kranitz left the team. Bullpen coach Steve Foster will be pitching coach for the final week.

ATHLETICS: Picked up contract options for manager Bob Geren and second baseman Mark Ellis, locking up Geren through 2009 and Ellis for the 2008 season.

Geren, who had extensive managerial experience in the minors and overseas and is a longtime friend of general manager Billy Beane, signed a two-year contract for his first managerial job last November.

Ellis has been one of Oakland's most reliable players in a disappointing, injury-filled season.

ORIOLES: Pitcher Jeremy Guthrie threw in the bullpen and proclaimed himself ready for his final start of 2007.

Guthrie, who hasn't pitched since Sept. 9 because of a strained oblique muscle, is scheduled to go against Toronto on Thursday. The rookie is 7-5 with a 3.65 ERA, but he hasn't won in his past eight starts. His most recent win came on July 27, and he's hoping his next one will come exactly two months later.

ANGELS: Kelvin Escobar won't make his expected start tonight at Texas, giving the 17-game winner more time to rest his shoulder and get ready for the playoffs.

Escobar was first pushed back from his scheduled start Saturday because of inflammation in his shoulder. Now, instead of starting against the Rangers, Escobar, who is 17-7 with a 3.46 ERA, is expected to pitch over the weekend in Oakland.


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