MIAMI - Florida third baseman Mike Lowell took batting practice Saturday for the first time since breaking his left hand Aug. 30, and he hopes to start the final regular-season game today against the Mets.
"I'd like to get four at-bats," Lowell said. "I feel good. Hopefully things are headed the right direction."
The Marlins have until Tuesday to decide whether to include Lowell on the 25-man roster for their playoff series starting Tuesday at San Francisco. Manager Jack McKeon said he anticipates that Lowell will need time to regain his hitting stroke.
"It's just like spring training," McKeon said. "But he'd be a plus, even if it's just on the bench as a pinch-hitter."
Lowell leads the Marlins with 32 home runs and 105 RBIs.
GRACE CHEERED: First baseman Mark Grace, who announced his retirement Friday, doubled and singled in three at-bats for Arizona, raising his season average seven points to .200 before he was taken out for a pinch-runner in the sixth. The career .303 hitter received a standing ovation and tipped his cap before descending into a gauntlet of high fives and a hug from Randy Johnson.
NO MAKEUP: The Giants won't travel to New York on Monday for a makeup game against the Mets that would have been necessary only if San Francisco finished the season a half-game behind Atlanta for the best record in the NL.
ASTROS: Second baseman Jeff Kent needs one double to become the fifth player to hit 40 in five consecutive seasons. Wade Boggs had 40 in seven straight.
BLUE JAYS: Former Rays right-hander Tanyon Sturtze was suspended for three games, or the rest of the season, and fined by Major League Baseball for yelling at an umpire. A $1,500 fine was reduced to $500 on appeal.
CUBS: Rightfielder Sammy Sosa hit his 40th home run and set an NL record by reaching the mark for the sixth straight season.
YANKEES: Second baseman Alfonso Soriano became the third player to have consecutive seasons with 35 homers and 35 steals. Willie Mays (1956-57) and Barry Bonds (1996-97) are the others.