Junior achievement

Here are some notes on the 598th career home run of Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Jr.:

It was Griffey's first home run in 90 at-bats, the second-longest homerless drought of his career.

He hit his home run off San Diego Padres pitcher Randy Wolf, the ex-Phillie, who became the 382d pitcher to allow a home run to Griffey.

He became the fourth player in baseball history to hit at least 300 home runs with one team (398 with Seattle) and 200 with a second (exactly 200 with the Reds), joining Jimmy Foxx, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro.

Oh what a night

Talk about a nightmarish evening.

St. Louis Cardinals superstar Albert Pujols hit a line drive that struck San Diego pitcher Chris Young flush in the nose. Young never lost consciousness, but blood spurted from his face and doctors diagnosed a fractured nose.

A badly shaken Pujols knelt in prayer with Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez before going over to the mound in an attempt to console Young, the former Princeton basketball player.

"I would have rather hit into a double play," Pujols told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

But that wasn't the end of it. Pujols later tried to score on Troy Glaus' single and slid hard but cleanly into San Diego catcher Josh Bard. Bard writhed at the plate in pain and left with a high ankle sprain that will leave him sidelined indefinitely.

"I'm still thinking about that," Pujols said, referring to the Young injury. "Then the thing with Josh. How many times is that going to happen?"

Career killers

Those Phillies have done it again.

For the third time in a little over a week, an opposing pitcher who had been knocked around by the Phillies has been sent to the minor leagues within a day or two after facing them.

Yesterday, the Washington Nationals demoted Matt Chico, who allowed seven hits and four runs Wednesday night to the Phillies in five innings.

Last week, Atlanta's Chuck James (six hits, five runs, five walks in four innings) and Toronto's David Purcey (five hits, eight runs, four walks in three innings) were sent down after facing the Phillies.


Major League Baseball suspended Reds manager Dusty Baker for two games and Padres hitting coach Wally Joyner for one game after recent arguments with umpires. Baker made contact with umpire Eric Cooper during Thursday night's loss to San Diego. Joyner came onto the field to argue in a Wednesday night game against St. Louis. . . . The Atlanta Braves announced that manager Bobby Cox has agreed to a one-year extension through 2009. Cox, 67, is in his 27th season as a manager, his 23d with the Braves. . . . The Braves also said pitcher John Smoltz, who has been on the disabled list since April 29 with a sore shoulder, will begin a rehabilitation assignment today with their double-A farm team at Mississippi.