NL notebook: Astros get left-hander Borbon from Toronto

The Toronto Blue Jays traded left-handed pitcher Pedro Borbon to the Houston Astros yesterday for a player to be named.

Borbon, 34, is 1-2 with a 4.97 earned-run average in 16 appearances. He is 13-13 with a 4.28 earned-run average in 305 career major-league games.

"It was a shock. When they called me in I thought they either released me or traded me," said Borbon, who lives in Houston. "It will be a great opportunity for me to be with my family all year long."

Borbon has also played for Atlanta and Los Angeles in his eight major-league seasons. He earned a World Series ring during his rookie season with the Braves in 1995, and had been with the Blue Jays since being traded from the Dodgers in November 1999.

"He's been good at getting left-handed hitters out," Astros General Manager Gerry Hunsicker said in Houston. "I see him as a situational lefty, a legitimate option late in games when we need to get a couple of left-handed hitters out."

Arizona: 1B Mark Grace is available to pinch-hit, but may not play again until the weekend as his bruised right ankle heals. He fouled a pitch off the ankle Monday night.

Atlanta: INF Mark DeRosa continues to play even with SS Rafael Furcal back in the lineup. In fact, DeRosa may found a home at shortstop. Furcal played his second straight game at second while DeRosa made his third consecutive start.

Chicago: RHP Mark Prior, the second overall pick of last year's draft, likely will be called up to replace Juan Cruz (0-7) in the rotation. Prior starts Friday in Class AAA.

Cincinnati: Ken Griffey Jr. will not join the Cincinnati Reds in St. Louis as planned for the four-game series that begins tomorrow. The development is not a setback. It is merely a further indication that the Reds are going to be extremely cautious in bringing Griffey back.

Colorado: Manager Clint Hurdle declared the catching job wide open. Gary Bennett won the starting role over three other contenders in spring training, but he's hitting only .205.

Florida: 2B Luis Castillo was given his third game off in the last four days because of tightness in his right hamstring.

Houston: Pitcher Wade Miller (pinched nerve in his neck) will make a rehabilitation start tomorrow for AAA New Orleans, his first outing since being placed on the disabled list April 13. ... Bullpen coach John Tamargo was promoted to bench coach, succeeding Tony Pena.

Los Angeles: LHP Jesse Orosco was scheduled to be seen by a doctor. He strained a muscle in his side during batting practice for pitchers. Manager Jim Tracy said he cannot rule out that Orosco would be placed on the DL.

Milwaukee: RHP Nick Neugebauer was placed on the 15-day disabled list after he was forced to cut short his bullpen session when he experienced pain in his strained rotator cuff. An MRI was scheduled today. The move was retroactive to May 9. The Brewers recalled right-handed pitcher Brian Mallette from AAA Indianapolis and said right-hander Jose Cabrera will take Neugebauer's spot in the rotation and start Saturday against the Chicago Cubs.

New York: The Mets placed utility infielder John Valentin on the 15-day DL because of an injured right shoulder, and purchased the contract of infielder Ty Wigginton from AAA Norfolk.

Philadelphia: RHP Amaury Telemaco, recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, allowed three runs over five innings in an extended spring-training game in Clearwater, Fla.

Pittsburgh: RHP Ryan Vogelsong threw 10 minutes of batting practice for the first time since having reconstructive elbow surgery Sept. 20.

St. Louis: Reports in April of RHP Andy Benes' imminent retirement were inaccurate. He'll work out a few more days in St. Louis, throw off a mound tomorrow, then likely will go to extended spring training in Jupiter, Fla.

San Diego: The Padres activated catcher Wiki Gonzalez and right-handed reliever Tom Davey from the 15-day DL. To make room, RHP Bobby Jones was put on the 15-day DL and catcher Javier Cardona was optioned to AAA Portland.

— Times news services