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High & Inside: NL Notes

New life for an old hand Veteran pitcher Jeff Suppan, released last week by the Milwaukee Brewers, may soon find himself in familiar surroundings.

New life for an old hand

Veteran pitcher Jeff Suppan, released last week by the Milwaukee Brewers, may soon find himself in familiar surroundings.

The St. Louis Cardinals, chasing Cincinnati in the NL Central Division and with starters Kyle Lohse and Brad Penny on the disabled list, expect to sign Suppan soon to bolster their rotation, manager Tony La Russa said.

It would be a homecoming for Suppan, who was the MVP of the 2006 NL Championship Series with St. Louis.

Suppan threw a bullpen session before the Cardinals' game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday, and pitching coach Dave Duncan was impressed, La Russa said, adding, "There's something there that can help us."

La Russa said he expects the 35-year-old Suppan to start in the three-game series against Seattle that begins Monday in St. Louis. The Cardinals have not announced a starter for Tuesday's game.

The 16-year major-league veteran had his greatest success in three seasons with St. Louis from 2004 through 2006, going 44-26 with a 3.95 ERA. Suppan signed a $42 million, four-year contract with Milwaukee in 2007, but his numbers steadily declined. The Brewers demoted him to the bullpen this year, then released him last Monday.

Suppan's career record is 135-137 with a 4.72 ERA.

With Milwaukee, Suppan was 29-36 with a 5.08 ERA in 97 starts and 13 relief appearances. He made two starts this season before being sent to the bullpen. He was 0-2 with a 7.84 ERA this year with the Brewers.

The lone Bucs bomber

The Pirates are averaging just 21/2 runs per game during their eight-game losing streak.

Garrett Jones has done his part. He hit his second homer in two days - and 10th this season. He also had two hits for the third straight game and drove in two runs in the series finale.

"When you are in a slump like this, everything you hit hard goes right at someone," Jones said. "That's what happened to everyone but me."

On any given day . . .

With all the talk about dominance by the American League, yesterday was a brief breath of fresh air, as all five National League East teams won their interleague games -

on the road

- against AL opponents.


A finger injury kept Chipper Jones out of the Atlanta Braves' starting lineup for Sunday's game against the Minnesota Twins. Jones was a late scratch from Saturday's game when the injury flared up about an hour before the first pitch. The 38-year-old third baseman is hitting just .228 this season with three home runs and 22 RBIs. He missed five games last week because of inflammation in his right ring finger. . . . The Braves placed outfielder Nate McLouth on the 15-day disabled list with a head injury. The move was made before Friday night's game at Minnesota and is retroactive to Thursday. McLouth was injured in a game at Arizona on Wednesday when he collided with Jason Heyward in the outfield and his head slammed to the turf. . . . Cincinnati Reds righthander Edinson Volquez is scheduled to make his second rehab start since undergoing Tommy John surgery. Volquez will start for single-A Lynchburg on Thursday. Volquez, who was handed a 50-game suspension April 20 for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, was due to complete that suspension Monday. . . . The Chicago Cubs recalled righthander Mitch Atkins from triple-A Iowa and optioned James Russell to the minor-league club on Saturday. Atkins, who made two appearances last year for the Cubs, will work out of the bullpen. He is 4-2 with a 2.63 ERA in 14 appearances - six starts - for Iowa. Russell was 0-1 with a 4.71 ERA in 20 relief appearances for the Cubs.