After Tuesday night's game, Vladimir Guerrero's average sits at .301 for the season. If he can end the year at .300 or above, Guerrero will tie Lou Gehrig for the most consecutive seasons in the Majors with a .300 average and 25 home runs. The Iron Horse did it 11 times from 1927-37.

"When you're mentioned at all with Lou Gehrig in any way, shape or form, it puts into context the type of player you are," Angels manager Mike Scioscia told the Los Angeles Times. "It's been fun to watch firsthand. At times, people take Vlad for granted when he's in a little slump here or there, but this guy is as good in the box as any hitter who has ever played the game."

Thome an early-to-rise role model: Among the many things for which Jim Thome is known, his discipline and preparation are at or near the top of the list. Ask just about any of his peers, and you'll get a similar response -- admiration.

"He's up at 5:30 every morning," Nick Swisher told the Chicago Tribune. "Not me. He does everything the right way and he's an excellent role model for kids and even players in the game. And he's a wonderful person to have around. I've learned so much from him. I've been fortunate to have so many guys help me out, and he's at the top."

McLouth gets Gold Glove support: Nate McLouth has started 142 games in center field for the Pirates this year and had played error-free ball until Tuesday night. With such fielding excellence, those around him are throwing his name out for a Gold Glove Award.

"Obviously, looking at his numbers, he's very deserving," Pirates manager John Russell told MLB.com. "You can't take away anything that Nate has done this year. He's done a great job in the outfield and he's had a very productive offensive year. I think he should be a very deserving candidate."

Ausmus seeks job closer to home: Brad Ausmus isn't sure if this is his last season or not, but it is his last year wearing a Houston uniform. Ausmus, who has caught more games in Astros history than any other catcher, will play his final game with the team on Sunday unless the Astros need to play a playoff on Monday to determine the Wild Card team.

Ausmus makes his home in the San Diego area during the offseason and wants to play closer to home next season to spend more time with his wife and two daughters. If a team in Southern California doesn't sign Ausmus, he will likely retire.

"My feeling is I need to be closer to home," he told the Houston Chronicle. "My daughters [Sophie, 10, and Abigail, 9] are getting to an age where I prefer to be around more often than not. I'd like it to be in Southern California, but that may not happen. I may be forced to hang them up."

Marquis good for a hometown grand slam: Jason Marquis, one of the better hitting pitchers in the league, showed off his batting technique on Monday when he hit a grand slam in the Cubs' 9-5 victory over the Mets. A Staten Islander who starred at Tottenville High School, Marquis picked up his 11th win in front of about 30 friends and family members.

"He can hit," Cubs infielder Mark DeRosa told the Chicago Tribune. "He's got a Silver Slugger. He's a guy who offensively was always putting together great at-bats. We were busting him, because his numbers had been dwindling. He showed it tonight."

Kinsler would agree to WBC selection: Ian Kinsler said he would like to play for the United States in next spring's 2009 World Baseball Classic. The first World Baseball Classic held in 2006 was won by Japan. The WBC will begin on March 5 and end on March 23.

"Absolutely," Kinsler told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I talked to [Michael Young] about it when he went, and he said if you have the opportunity to go, it's something you need to do at least once."

Fielder's prowess at the plate honored: Prince Fielder hit .462 (12-for-26) with three home runs and 11 RBIs to earn National League Player of the Week honors for last week. It is the second time he has won the award. For the month of September, Fielder is hitting .319 with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 19 games.

"He's really picked us up and put us on his back," Ryan Braun told Brewers.com. "He's carried us this month."

Trio of Rays pitchers show their stuff: Fans of the Tampa Bay Rays saw a glimpse of the team's future this week as star prospect David Price pitched Monday night, Mitch Talbot earned a start Tuesday night and Jeff Niemann pitched in relief. Watching the pitchers closely is Xavier Hernandez, the pitching coach for Triple-A Durham who is with the Rays this week.

"These three kids, they're making strides in the right direction, and we'll see what pans out here at the Major League level," Hernandez told the Tampa Tribune.

Maine given OK to pitch in relief: John Maine showed enough during his recent bullpen session that he now has a chance to be used by the Mets out of the bullpen down the stretch, according to manager Jerry Manuel. Maine has been slowed by a sore shoulder and has not thrown in a game since Aug. 23.

"He threw very well," Manuel told Newsday. "I was very impressed with the life he had on a number of pitches."

Peralta lobbies for spot on Dominican team: Jhonny Peralta doesn't know if he'll be asked by the Dominican Republic to play in next year's World Baseball Classic, but he knows for certain that if he is asked, he would be happy to go.

"If they ask me, I'll go," Peralta told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I would like to represent my country."

Bale's best out of the bullpen: After beginning the 2008 season as a starting pitcher for the Royals, John Bale had to leave the team due to shoulder stiffness. Then he broke his hand in a fit of frustration. But since returning, he has pitched nine times -- 10 1/3 innings -- and given up no runs and just four hits.

"[He is] tremendously efficient. Since he's had an opportunity to come back -- because of what transpired earlier in the season and as remorseful as he was about the situation -- he's been on a mission and he's done a very good job," manager Trey Hillman told MLB.com.

Bale seems to have found a new home out of the bullpen.

"I think if I had a choice in it, I'd say the same. That's where I feel more comfortable and the role I'm best suited for," Bale said.

Hampton hopes to return to Braves: Mike Hampton is a free agent following the season and would love to come back to the Braves.

"This organization has been great to me," he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "They hung in there through some pretty bad times, some low points in my career. They've always had my back, showed me loyalty. We'll see."

Billingsley finds his rhythm: Chad Billingsley got his fastball back, and got a victory in the Dodgers' 10-1 win over San Diego on Tuesday night.

"I felt a lot more confident with my fastball. That was one thing I worked on between starts, getting my rhythm back. I obviously want to get that back. Without that, it's hard to pitch," Billingsley told the Los Angeles Times.

Lincecum gets rave reviews from Cy winners: The Giants honored 43 players on their Wall of Fame prior to Tuesday night's game. Included in the group were Cy Young Award winners Gaylord Perry and Mike McCormick. Tim Lincecum is the team's latest candidate for the award.

"We're pulling for Tim, of course," two-time Cy Young winner Perry told the San Francisco Chronicle. "But if he doesn't win it, we certainly don't need to feel disappointed, because he's had an exciting year."

"I still think Lincecum has been the most consistent pitcher in the league all year," McCormick, the last Giants pitcher to win the Cy Young Award, back in 1967, said.

Lee tells kids to hold off on throwing curveballs: Cliff Lee recently offered some advice to youth baseball players. It's best, he says, to not throw any offspeed pitches or curveballs until players are at least 15 or 16 years old.

"It's not good for your arm, and [not throwing them] teaches you to pitch with your fastball," Lee told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "If you need curveballs to be successful at such a young age, something's off. Fastball location, and maybe mixing in a changeup, is all you really need as a kid. Add the other stuff later. It will make you much better and healthier in the long run."

-- Red Line Editorial