Frank Catalanotto, who was released by the Rangers during Spring Training, hooked on with the Brewers in May and is now enjoying a strong finish to the season.

Catalanotto, 35, first helped to solidify Milwaukee's bench but has played more regularly since Corey Hart's emergency appendectomy in early August and is batting .342 over his last 38 games. Of course, now he's thinking beyond 2009.

"It helps me believe I can still play and hopefully further my career," Catalanotto told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

LaRoche at home in Atlanta: In his first 20 games since returning to the Braves, Adam LaRoche is batting .406 with seven home runs and 16 RBIs. LaRoche, who came up with the Braves, enjoys being back with Atlanta.

"It feels like I never really left," LaRoche told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Even though it had been close to three years [since he was traded by the Braves to Pittsburgh], I felt comfortable coming back to a clubhouse that I'm familiar with, guys I came up playing with. And the city here, for my family, my kids -- it's been an easy transition."

Snider finding results: Travis Snider started the season with the Blue Jays but was sent down to Triple-A after a slow start. Now, the rookie outfielder is back with the Jays and is playing at the level he expected to at the start of the year.

"Just the opportunity is encouraging on its own," Snider told the Toronto Star. "But when you start to see results, you just try to build off of them and continue to get better every day. You just try and stay patient. Some at-bats, you're going to get it; other at-bats, you're not."

Upton working his way back: Justin Upton, on the disabled list since Aug. 6 with a right oblique strain, began a Minor League rehab assignment Monday with the Class A Visalia (Calif.) Rawhide. The Diamondbacks' right fielder said he has to work on his timing at the plate.

"I haven't seen a lot of pitching in the last two weeks, so I don't know where my timing is," he told the Arizona Republic. "I feel great in the cage. My swing feels good. Everything's the same, it's just a matter of getting my timing back."

Santana shelved for season: The New York Mets learned that Johan Santana would miss the rest of the season due to elbow surgery, the New York Daily News reported. While Santana is expected to be ready for the start of 2010, he will undergo an arthroscopic procedure to remove bone chips.

Santana, who is 13-9 with a 3.13 ERA, has been experiencing some soreness in the elbow and has seen his velocity drop in recent starts.

"It's mostly soreness. It's my understanding from the doctors there are bone chips," Mets general manager Omar Minaya said on a conference call. "We all want to see Johan Santana pitching in September, but this is a smart move because we want to see him pitching for the long haul."

Blanks using speed to avoid labels: At 6-foot-6 and around 280 pounds, Kyle Banks is a big baseball player, but he's leery of being labeled slow when, in fact, he's been anything but lumbering on the basepaths this season. He may only have one stolen base, but he hit his first inside-the-park home run on Tuesday.

"I never wanted to be one type of player, lumped into a certain type of category," Blanks told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "I don't want to be categorized as a fast, big player; I want to be categorized as a fast player. It's not like there's been a ton of big guys who set the bar for size and speed in baseball."

Byrd part of recipe for success: Marlon Byrd has been a catalyst for the Texas Rangers in their quest for a postseason berth.

"Marlon does a lot of things that don't necessarily show up in the box score but are evident if you watch us play," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "How many times has his aggressiveness in the outfield saved an extra base? He sets the tone with the way he goes about it -- always running hard, always on the attack. Both the younger guys and the more established players seem to feed off of that."

Byrd has started 73 games in center field, 33 in left and four in right. Overall, he is hitting .283 with 15 home runs -- a career high -- and 66 RBIs.

Crisp ready to test new shoulders: Coco Crisp remains hopeful that his surgically-repaired shoulders will be ready to go by Opening Day next year.

"I had five pins put in my right shoulder and seven in my left shoulder. I said if I got one more I'd set off the metal detectors," Crisp told MLB.com. "They're supposed to make you like Superman strong. I'm waiting for that to happen."

Beckham not ready for a day off yet: Gordon Beckham has now started 69 straight games -- more than the White Sox third baseman ever played in a college season. Despite that, Beckham says the regular playing time is not a bad thing at all.

"Physically, I feel fine. I want to be in there," Beckham told the Chicago Tribune. "Hopefully, I go 100 [straight]. I'm not going to be [Cal Ripken]. Hopefully, sometime in the next 10 years, I get a day off. I'm kidding. Really, I have no desire to take a day off."

Myers plans for return to include bullpen spot: Brett Myers, who had surgery on his right hip in June, is in the Minor Leagues in an attempt to get back to the Phillies. Once he does, it figures that he'll be working in the bullpen, not the starting rotation.

"For me to come back and be a starter right now would be kind of far-fetched, because I'd have to get up to 100 pitches," Myers told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "The starting staff is doing really well right now, so hopefully, I can get back and help in the bullpen."

Ohlendorf benefits from new delivery: Ross Ohlendorf, who changed to an overhead delivery at the end of July at the urging of Pirates pitching coach Joe Kerrigan, has seen dramatic improvement.

"I didn't realize how much it would help me," Ohlendorf told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I'm surprised how quickly it has made a difference. Joe definitely was right on."

Inge getting his legs, swing back: Brandon Inge has been dealing with a problematic left knee for quite a while, but the Tigers third baseman says that he's been feeling a lot better of late.

"I've been swinging without my legs for about 2 1/2 months now," Inge told MLB.com. "There's no question about it. So now that I have my legs back, my swing's adjusting, so I'm not making contact with some pitches that I should right now.

"Now it's just timing. Once my timing gets right, and I get my feet back going the way they should, then I think everything should get back the way it should."

Wellemeyer continues to progress: Todd Wellemeyer is working his way back from inflammation in his right shoulder, and the Cardinals pitcher says he thinks he's headed in the right direction.

"Everything seems to be on target for whatever is next," Wellemeyer told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I threw a small bullpen [session] on Saturday, but this was my first full side. It feels good. I'm going to do some long toss ... and probably get back on the mound a few more times and then hopefully face some hitters."

Hernandez finds a home with Nationals: The Nationals reached into their past to address their rotation, signing Livan Hernandez, 34, to add a veteran presence to their young staff.

"We looked at where we were at with our young starting pitching, and we got to the facts that we're running out of innings with some of these young guys, and I refuse to push them past their limits," general manager Mike Rizzo told the Washington Post. "And Livan was available. We discussed him with our player-personnel people, and he's a good guy in the clubhouse. He's got some friends here on the ballclub, and he's nothing else but a workhorse and a reliable arm to get us some innings and get us through the rest of the season."

Ishikawa comes up with biggest hit yet: Travis Ishikawa had two big hits, including a three-run homer in the eighth inning, to lift the Giants to a 5-4 win over Arizona on Tuesday.

"I don't think I've ever hit a home run that late in a game to give us a lead," Ishikawa told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I guess you'd have to say it's my biggest hit so far."

"It was his show tonight," manager Bruce Bochy said of his rookie first baseman. "Ishi's done a good job for us. I want to keep him in the mix."

-- Red Line Editorial