NL Central notes


Arodys Vizcaino remains on a conservative schedule despite his success at Double-A Tennessee and glimpses of brilliance in spring training. Vizcaino, who missed the last two seasons because of right elbow surgeries, has yet to pitch in consecutive games for Tennessee, where he has a 2.84 ERA in 13 appearances with 14 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings, according to the Chicago Tribune. Manager Rick Renteria said when Vizcaino has been cleared to pitch in consecutive games, he will be under a pitch count. “It’s the right thing to do, regardless of what our bullpen situation is,” Renteria told the newspaper. “When you’re monitoring guys and making sure they come through healthy, the prudent thing to do is make sure they’re good.”


Arizona manager Kirk Gibson has been outspoken since Ryan Braun’s 65-game suspension last year for violating baseball’s drug agreement during the 2011 season, which included the slugger’s big series when the Brewers edged the Diamondbacks in the NL playoffs. Arizona reliever Evan Marshall was ejected for hitting Ryan Braun with a pitch. Asked if he thought that figured in Marshall’s pitch, Braun said: “You’d have to ask him (Gibson). I wish him the best, hope he finds peace and happiness in his life.”


St. Louis native boxer Devon Alexander threw out a first pitch. Alexander (25-2 with 14 knockouts) is a former WBC and IBF light welterweight champion and a former IBF welterweight champion. He has a welterweight fight against Robert Guerrero (31-2-1) on June 21. … The Cardinals are 20-2 at home against NL East opponents the last two seasons.


2B Neil Walker took batting practice and fielded grounders for the first time since undergoing an appendectomy June 9. He is optimistic he will be ready to be activated from the DL Tuesday, the first day he is eligible. … Andrew McCutchen came up short of becoming the first Pittsburgh player to have multiple hits in nine straight games since Rennie Stennett in 1971. Gregory Polanco became the first Pirates player to have a hit in each of the first seven games of his career since Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente in 1955.


Brandon Phillips’ string of 43 consecutive plate appearances without a strikeout, the longest active streak in the majors, ended. … Starter Johnny Cueto’s hard luck continued as he gave up two runs in six innings of a no-decision. Cueto scattered seven hits and four walks, but the bullpen failed to hold a three-run lead for him vs. the Pirates last week. Despite a sparkling 1.92 ERA, Cueto is 6-5 through 15 starts. In two starts against the Pirates in April, he allowed one run and six hits in 18 innings.

Compiled by Rick Crotts from wire reports.