Ivan Rodriguez caught the 2,227th game of his career on Wednesday night, passing Carlton Fisk for the most appearances by a catcher. Having done so at Rangers Ballpark in front of the fans that rooted for him for so long was special for Pudge.

"It was awesome," Rodriguez told the Houston Chronicle. "What happened today out there was unbelievable. A standing ovation my first time up -- it was awesome. I got some goose bumps when that happened. The video that they did in the third inning was unbelievable."

Ryan Howard rebuilding park for kids: Through his family foundation, Ryan Howard is helping to rebuild Hunting Park in Philadelphia.

"Seeing the look on these kids," Howard told the Philadelphia Inquirer, "that's what it's all about for me: giving back."

Howard said he knows that giving back is one of the most important things a professional baseball player can do.

"As a professional athlete and an individual, I recognize the importance of philanthropy," Howard said to officials, community leaders and scores of young ballplayers at the park.

Wieters gets first homer: Matt Wieters wasn't certain the ball was going to clear the fence when he hit his first Major League home run on Wednesday night.

"I felt like I hit it well, but I didn't know how the ball was carrying tonight because we didn't get to take [batting practice] on the field," the Orioles' rookie catcher told the Baltimore Sun. "I was just sort of watching it, and the left fielder looked like he might have a bead on it, so I had to watch it all the way. It definitely feels good. I haven't exactly been tearing the cover off the ball. It's good to get that kind of ovation and that kind of support from the home fans."

Homecoming by the Bay for Vizquel: Omar Vizquel is still adjusting to a reserve role with Texas as he returns to San Francisco for an Interleague series this weekend. He's serving as mentor for 20-year-old Elvis Andrus while playing a backup role with the Rangers, but he's still been effective offensively with a .323 average in 62 at-bats.

"It's been a lot harder than I thought," Vizquel told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I'm doing good. I'm doing my job helping guys. But mentally, it's hard. You obviously miss the possibility of being on the field and the opportunity to be there every night."

"For the most part, the fans here are knowledgeable fans," the Giants' Rich Aurilia said. "They realize that when Omar came here, they were getting a future Hall of Famer to play shortstop. Beyond that, I just think his personality and the way he came across to the team, the organization, the fans and the media just captured everybody's attention."

Wood, DeRosa return to Friendly Confines: Kerry Wood is all set for his return to Wrigley Field this weekend and said that he and current teammate Mark DeRosa, who also spent time with the Cubs, look forward to their return.

"I'm sure it will be an exciting weekend," Wood told MLB.com. "We're going back to a place where we've played before. We're going back where I spent all of my career, and DeRosa had a couple of good years as well."

"It was the greatest time in my career," DeRosa said. "It was a lot of great memories. It will definitely be weird being on the opposing side."

Hanson off to solid rookie start: After three starts in the Major Leagues, Tommy Hanson is 2-0 with a 4.08 ERA.

"He's tough," Braves teammate Nate McLouth told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He throws a low-to-mid 90s fastball, but he's not predictable. He'll throw sliders in fastball counts and things like that."

In a win against the Reds on Thursday, Hanson delivered a bases-loaded single in the sixth inning for his first hit and RBI in the Majors.

Mitch Jones has arrived: After seven years in the Minors and two more in Japan, Mitch Jones made his Major League debut at age 31 with the Dodgers. He had no timetable.

"I didn't come in with a thought process as far as that went," Jones told the Los Angeles Times. "I took care of what I could take care of on the field and hopefully the rest of the stuff would fall into place. Obviously, it took a little longer than I would have expected."

Jones got his first Major League hit on Wednesday, a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning.

"Obviously, it was a moment you dream about. I always think about getting that first hit," he said. "I thought that it would be a sharper single than it was, but a hit's a hit. It's exciting."

Stephen Drew's bobblehead fools 'em: Stephen Drew recently had his own bobblehead night, but when asked about it, he admitted it might have not been a picture-perfect likeness.

"Ah, really. To be honest, it's just an honor to have one," the Arizona shortstop told the Arizona Republic. "Saying that, I've had people and teammates come up to me and say, 'This thing don't look nothing like you.' It's pretty funny, but overall, it's cool to have one."

Wright pushes right buttons with Pelfrey: David Wright and teammate Mike Pelfrey often let one another know how they're feeling when it comes to on-field items.

"We talk trash about each other all the time -- during the game, after the game," Pelfrey told Newsday. "If I make a good play, I'll yell over to him, 'That was cat-like right there.' Wright could have come up to me on the mound during my worst outing in Pittsburgh and said, 'Hey, man, give me a bat today.' And I would have told him, 'No kidding.' The thing is, I'm trying to get better, and he wants me to get better."

Hughes comfortable wherever he's needed: Phil Hughes is OK with his shift to the bullpen because the Yankees need him there.

"I still consider myself a starter," Hughes told Newsday, "but at this particular time, I'm more valuable as a long man. I feel great. I'm kind of caught in limbo at times, but sometimes you have to sacrifice a little bit for what the team needs. I want to be here, if that means being in the bullpen all season."

Francisco is back in Texas: Frank Francisco, returning to the Rangers following a bout of shoulder tendinitis, thinks he's ready to close games right away.

"Man, I don't know what pressure means," Francisco told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I'm ready right now. You know, I've been working the whole time, and I don't think it's that much different. All I need to get back is my command. That's it."

Blanton wants to eat innings: Joe Blanton has averaged 5.2 innings per start for the Phillies.

"To go out there and eat innings, you have to throw well," Blanton told the Philadelphia Daily News. "A coach isn't going to keep running you out there if you are giving up six runs per game, just because he can keep running you out there."

Nolasco puts the hex on Red Sox: Ricky Nolasco got back in the win column for the first time since May in the Marlins' 2-1 rain-shortened victory on Thursday night against the Red Sox. He allowed just one hit through five innings.

"I was surprised that we started the game, but you just go out there and pretty much know the rain is coming and you try to keep your team in the game as long as you can," Nolasco told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "I was attacking these guys early, throwing a lot of strikes early."

Detwiler finds success by staying true to form: Ross Detwiler the sixth overall pick of the 2007 Draft, says scrapping an attempt by the Nationals to alter his delivery was a key to reaching the Majors.

"When you're not comfortable and you're thinking about other things on the mound, you're not going to get the results you want," Detwiler told the Washington Post.

"Would it be nice if he was more direct to the plate? Yes," pitching coach Steve McCatty said. "But did Bob Gibson throw across his body? Yeah. Quite a bit. A lot of guys do."

Richmond's curveball impressive in win: Scott Richmond recorded 11 strikeouts and allowed just one run en route to picking up his fifth win of the season for Toronto on Wednesday.

"I was able to pound the strike zone early and finish them with breaking balls late," Richmond told the Toronto Star. "My whole career I've always had a good curveball. It's a pitch that I need to be successful and it's coming around nicely."

-- Red Line Editorial