Todd Helton singled to left on a two-strike slider on Tuesday night against Atlanta to become the 255th Major League player to collect 2,000 hits.

"I wish it had been a grand slam, but to get to this point is pretty darn cool," Helton told the Denver Post. "I can't even believe I am standing here talking about it. It's not something I set out to do."

After the game, his teammates gave Helton a standing ovation when he entered the clubhouse at Turner Field, and teammate Aaron Cook presented him with an engraved A. Uberti hunting rifle from the players, reading "2,000 hits" on one side and "CR Todd Helton" on the other.

Saltalamacchia making runners stay put: Jarrod Saltalamacchia is making base runners pay for trying to steal a base this season. The Rangers catcher is throwing out attempted basestealers at a 36.3 percent clip, ranking third in the American League.

After catching seven of 47 runners last season, Saltalamacchia has thrown out six of 17 runners this year.

"When you go from playing one or two days a week to playing every day, everything is going to get better," Saltalamacchia told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Getting in a routine and getting into games has definitely helped out."

Top basestealers may still try to swipe a base against Saltalamacchia, but other runners may not press their luck as much anymore.

"He's discouraging the medium runners," manager Ron Washington said. "Scouts sit in the stands and see that he's been throwing the ball well. It goes in the reports."

Ishikawa heading back to stomping grounds: Travis Ishikawa is looking forward to the Giants' visit to Seattle this weekend. Ishikawa grew up in nearby Federal Way, Wash., and was a huge Ken Griffey Jr. fan. With Griffey back with the Mariners, Ishikawa hopes to get a chance to say hello.

"I think every kid in the Northwest tried to hit like Griffey," Ishikawa told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I couldn't find any more joy than watching him play center field and step up to the box."

Ortiz back to showing his power: David Ortiz felt relieved after hitting his first home run of the season on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.

"I feel good, man. I feel like I just got that big ol' monkey off my back," Ortiz told the Boston Herald. "In this game, sometimes that's all it takes -- to have a good at-bat, to get a good hit -- and then everything starts clicking."

Ortiz was just glad to finally connect and hit one out of the park.

"I was missing pitches I normally hit, or sometimes put a good swing on it and still miss. That's crazy, it gets you thinking," Ortiz said. "It puts you in a situation where you're thinking, 'What do I have to do?' I'll try it all. I was about to hit right-handed."

Bannister wants to see blue: Brian Bannister was interested in finding out if the Royals' strong start would heighten fan support in St. Louis for their intra-Missouri series with the Cardinals this weekend.

"The biggest difference this year is going to be how much fan support we have when we go there," Bannister told MLB.com. "I've already run into so many fans that say, 'We're driving in.' I think there's going to see a lot more blue this year representing us. It's a tough place to play, it's a heated series, there's a lot of pride involved in the state, and we're going to have a lot more support this year with the way we're playing."

Nady looks forward to rehab assignment: Xavier Nady, who injured his right elbow and went on the disabled list on April 16, took batting practice for the first time in a month on Wednesday. The Yankees outfielder hopes to be able to start a rehab assignment sometime next week.

"It felt good," Nady told the New York Daily News. "I was more hesitant the first couple of swings, but I was swinging the bat good. I'll do this for a couple days, and hopefully by Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I'll be letting it loose out there."

Carpenter impressive in third start: Chris Carpenter made just his third start of the season and pitched five shutout innings on Wednesday night in the Cardinals' 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

"He's the best, you know?" St. Louis closer Ryan Franklin told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "He's got a Cy Young and all that, but he's also got unbelievable stuff, unbelievable composure and unbelievable competitiveness. He's got everything you want."

"He's the nastiest pitcher I've faced all year," Derrek Lee said.

Konerko just wants to keep hitting: Paul Konerko isn't taking time to mull over reasons for his success this season. The White Sox's first baseman carries a .313 average into the weekend.

"To be honest, I'm not thinking too much about nothing," Konerko, who hit his sixth home run of the season on Wednesday night, told the Chicago Tribune. "I'm just trying to attack each day the right way. I know it's a cliché, but it wasn't the right thing in the middle of May to talk about the way the season was going a year ago, and it's not the right thing to do now. So I'm not going to do it."

No more Mr. Nice Verlander: Justin Verlander is looking for more of an edge when he takes the ball.

"I'm not a very nice guy on my start day right now," Verlander told the Detroit Free Press. "Something had to change. I don't hardly talk to anybody unless I need to."

Miller makes extended birthday start: Birthday boy Andrew Miller was determined to reach his pitch count on Thursday night. The Marlins pitcher went seven innings, threw 112 pitches and recorded nine strikeouts.

"I knew going into it I was going to get to my pitch count," Miller told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "There wasn't a situation where I was going to come out at 85 pitches. As a pitcher, I want to go until basically I can't anymore. That's what they gave me tonight."

Stammen's debut a success: Craig Stammen made his Major League debut a success by pitching into the seventh inning in the Nats' 5-4 win over the Pirates.

"He has a lot of clean scorecards," fellow pitcher John Lannan, one of Stammen's closest friends, told the Washington Post. "He pitched tonight like he's been here forever."

Martin becoming more aggressive at plate: Russell Martin has lifted his batting average to .353. The Dodgers catcher says his success is a product of a couple of things.

"I'm just more aggressive at the plate," Martin told the Los Angeles Times. "I'm seeing the ball better, too."

Valverde to get second opinion on calf: Jose Valverde, currently on the disabled list with a strained right calf, went to Miami to get a second opinion from Dr. John Uribe and Dr. Thomas San Giovanni of the UHZ Sports Medicine Institute.

"He's going to see Dr. Uribe in South Florida for a second opinion," general manager Ed Wade told the Houston Chronicle. "He's making very good progress, but his agent talked to [assistant general manager] David Gottfried [Tuesday] and asked if they had the ability to get a second opinion. And we said, 'Yeah, by all means.'"

Wellemeyer making things simple: Todd Wellemeyer knows what it takes to be consistent and plans to take a path that will lead to more success.

"I just can't try to be like a perfectionist out there, because you're going to mess up," he told MLB.com. "I've got to realize that. I think I try to be too fine, and when stuff starts going the wrong way, it just mounts, and I kind of lose what I need to do. Instead of simplifying it, it gets super-complicated."

Murphy on the move to first base: With Carlos Delgado likely out into July, the Mets have decided to move Daniel Murphy to first base. Murphy has played 13 games at first base while coming up in the Mets organization as a third baseman.

"His reaction, it surprised me," manager Jerry Manuel told the New York Daily News about Murphy's reaction. "He just lit up, had a big smile. I spoke with [outfield coach] Razor [Shines] about it and he said, 'Oh yeah, he's like a kid with a new toy.'"

-- Red Line Editorial