Jason Castro plans to finish what he started at Stanford University.

Four courses short of a degree in sociology with an emphasis on business and the economy, the Astros catcher has re-enrolled.

"I'm so close to finishing, and to get a degree from anywhere is really an important thing," Castro told MLB.com. "You can't play baseball forever. We all like to think we're going to play a long career, but it's good to have a backup plan. It's an accomplishment not everyone gets to necessarily get. I'm so close, there's no reason why I shouldn't go back."

Castro plans to take two classes this quarter and two more next offseason. Houston's season ends on Sunday, and Castro plans to be in class at Stanford on Wednesday.

"A huge thing in my family is the importance of an education," he said. "They really stressed to me how important it was to finish, and I'm going to make sure I can do everything I can to get that done."

Castro left Stanford early when he was a first-round selection in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.

Counsell rewarded with start in home finale: With the return of fan favorite Craig Counsell to Milwaukee next season uncertain, manager Ken Macha gave Counsell the start at shortstop Sunday in the Brewers' final home game of the season.

Counsell will be a free agent this offseason and has stated he would like to return to the Brewers. However, the chance to win a third World Series title is also important.

"That's a big factor," Counsell told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I have to go into every year looking at it like it's [my] last year. October baseball is something that is really important to me."

Guthrie sets the bar high with achievements: Baltimore's Jeremy Guthrie has double-digit wins, a 3.98 ERA and has once again reached the 200 innings-pitched mark this season. For Guthrie, that's an important set of accomplishments.

"It's nice to be there for your team," Guthrie told MLB.com. "You have to stay healthy to be able to do it, and you have to pitch well deep into games to have that type of opportunity. I'm really pleased and grateful that for the past two seasons my body has held up and I've been able to make every start. I'm grateful that I could accomplish that and I still have one more start, and I hope to be able to continue to do it for a lot of years."

Beachy making strong impression: Brandon Beachy has come up during the stretch drive and given the Braves two solid outings.

"He's got a great arm; he's got an idea what he wants to do, he's stepping up big for us," catcher Brian McCann told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "He's come in and given us a chance to win both times he's pitched. You can't ask for anything more than what he's done."

St. Pierre sings a happy tune: Max St. Pierre has a unique at-bat song when he comes up at Comerica Park -- Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy."

"There's worse things than slumping or just not doing well at baseball," St. Pierre explained to MLB.com. "So it just calmed me down every time. The last three years, that's my song, man. It calms me down. I like it."

St. Pierre made news earlier this month for getting his first stint in the big leagues after 14 years in the Minors.

Livan Hernandez reaches 200 innings again: On Sunday, Livan Hernandez reached the 200-inning mark for the 10th time in his career but the first time since 2007.

"I feel really happy," Hernandez told the The Washington Post. "Two hundred innings is not easy. It's like a hitter hitting 30 home runs."

Fans give Inge rousing sign of approval: Even though it's quite possible Brandon Inge will be back with the Tigers in 2011, that didn't keep the fans in Detroit from acknowledging his time there as he came up for his first at-bat in Sunday's game.

"I got some chills," Inge told MLB.com. "And it was probably the only saving grace that there's still some optimism that maybe I can come back here. I hope so. It didn't feel like farewell to me. It just didn't. It felt like more of an appreciation one way or the other, whether I stay or I don't. I can't tell everyone how appreciative I am, so I was kind of taking it in a little bit."

Ethier back in the swing after broken finger: Andre Ethier got off to a great start in 2010 but was sidelined with a broken finger. Now with the season in its final week, Ethier finally feels comfortable at the plate again.

It's been "probably the last two, three weeks that I feel like I've gotten my full strength back, where I could say it's almost back to 100 percent strength-wise in my hand, and I feel like I can grab and swing the bat the way I want," Ethier told the Los Angeles Times.

"I have a swing where I don't finish with two hands, I finish one-handed with the hand I had the broken finger on," Ethier said. "So, there were some swings where I felt like, at the end of it, I'm fighting just to hold on to the bat."

Carter to get outfield help from Henderson: Rickey Henderson wants to help A's top prospect Chris Carter become a better outfielder now that he's apparently been blocked at first base by the emergence of Daric Barton.

"I can help him," Henderson told the Oakland Tribune. "I can teach him how to read the ball off the bat, how to get a good jump, how to always be prepared setting up. If he can learn how do those things, it'll come to him. He's a natural athlete with good feet, so he just needs to get out there and play and start feeling relaxed."

Carter also plans to play the outfield during Winter Ball in Venezuela.

Span likes to hit the road to Detroit: Denard Span does particularly well against the Tigers.

"I think every individual player has one team that they seem to just play a little bit better against," Span told MLB.com. "It seems like Detroit is the team that I decide to show up more so than other teams. I definitely like hitting here. It's a fast infield. You almost feel like you are playing on turf. The ball gets through the infield pretty quick. It seems like I've just caught some extra breaks here."

Gee jockeying for starting spot next season: Dillon Gee has pitched himself into contention for a rotation spot with the Mets next sping.

"I like the fact that he can pitch in," Mets manager Jerry Manuel told MLB.com. "He can pitch in off the plate, which is a tremendous weapon for a guy to be able to do that."

Cliff Lee gets the start in ALDS opener: Manager Ron Washington announced Cliff Lee will the team's Game 1 starter, with a possible return if there is a Game 4 in their Division Series even though he has never pitched on three days' rest.

"If we have a chance to put this thing away and we feel good about Cliff going again, we'll do that," Washington told MLB.com.

C.J. Wilson will pitch Game 2 and Colby Lewis in Game 3.

-- Red Line Editorial