Chris Perez, who closed at the University of Miami and briefly in St. Louis, is making the most of his ninth-inning role with Cleveland.

"This is something that is not new to him," manager Manny Acta told MLB.com. "He's not a guy just being thrown into that role. That's what he's done before, so he never seemed out of place from the beginning. He likes being in those situations. He's fearless. Even when he didn't have his best command the first couple weeks of the season, he didn't back down."

Pujols not concerned with Triple Crown talk: Albert Pujols isn't going to get caught up in Triple Crown talk.

"It's a very special milestone. Don't think that I don't care," Pujols told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Don't read me wrong. This is just not the time to think about numbers when you have a ball club fighting to get wins and to stay focused on getting to the postseason. I'm not a selfish player. This [team] is my family."

Pujols leads the National League with 35 home runs and 95 RBIs. He's .006 points off of the lead league in batting average. Carlos Gonzalez leads with a .326 mark.

Hunter has a huge fan in Adam Jones: Adam Jones is a big fan of Torii Hunter.

"I met him in '06 or '07," Jones told MLB.com. "He's the latter part of this generation. He's a guy that some of the younger African-Americans, especially outfielders [look up to]. He's definitely my favorite player to watch."

Added Jones: "I watch the way he plays the game. He's always out there with a smile, no matter what. He's always smiling. That's the part I like about him. In the game of baseball, he's by far my favorite player to watch."

McDonald admires Inge's defensive play: Playing against Brandon Inge for many years has left an impressions on John McDonald, who is no stranger to good infield defense himself.

"He's a game-changer at third," McDonald told the Detroit Free Press. "He's obviously somebody you'd love to have on your team.

"Any time you can have somebody playing defense that impacts the outcome of games in a positive way, you want those types of players on your team."

Fuentes handling transition to setup role: Left-hander Brian Fuentes will pitch in any role he's needed with the Twins.

"I had my routine where the score was going to dictate when I stretched and warmed up," Fuentes told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "I guess you get pampered and primped as a closer, drinking Gatorade until it is time to stretch."

Knuckleball putting Dickey near top of the heap: At age 35, R.A. Dickey is riding his knuckleball to late-career prominence.

"He's emerged and evolved as one of the good pitchers in the National League -- period," Mets manager Jerry Manuel told MLB.com.

"I'm trying to just live in the moment," Dickey said. "If the moment says I'm up there with those guys, so be it. I'm awfully thankful. It makes me very appreciative because I've poured a lot of hard work into getting to this point."

Eckstein riding hot streak since return: David Eckstein went 7-for-23 (.304) with six runs scored and a .429 on-base percentage in his first six games since coming off the disabled list following a month layoff due to a calf injury

"The biggest thing is getting back to that level of speed of the game and putting yourself back to where you feel comfortable with where the pitcher's throwing the pitches that they're going to throw," Eckstein told MLB.com.

Hoffman inches closer to 600 saves: Trevor Hoffman earned his 599th career save on Sunday as the Brewers defeated the Pirates, 8-4. With two runners on base in the ninth with one out, Hoffman entered the game and got out of the jam with no damage.

"Round numbers are really what baseball looks at," Hoffman told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "If this is my last season, it would be hard to walk away knowing you're one shy of a big number.

"In the big picture, it's still a body of work."

Napoli happy to toil for Angels, for now: The Angels placed Mike Napoli on waivers and the Red Sox submitted a claim on him.

"It's always nice to have other people want you to be a part of their club, but I'm an Angel now and it's out of my control," Napoli told the Los Angeles Times. "I like playing here, and I'm going to try to help this team win as long as I can."

Webb hopes to stay in Arizona: Brandon Webb believes he could be ready to be pitch in relief in two weeks or so and views the final weeks of the season as an opportunity to showcase himself.

"The next few weeks are huge for next year," Webb told the The Arizona Republic. "For one, I want to prove it to myself. And, two, I want to prove not only to the Diamondbacks, but all the other teams out there that might be interested in me playing for them next year."

Nova impressive in first Major League win: Ivan Nova treated his second Major League start like just another Triple-A outing and came away with his first victory.

"It's the same baseball," he told MLB.com. "No nerves. ... No pressure at all. Just emotions."

Livan Hernandez signs extension: Livan Hernandez, who started this season with a Minor League deal, has agreed to a one-year extension with the Nats.

"We think that he's earned it," general manager Mike Rizzo told the The Washington Post. "His coming into Spring Training in terrific condition and pitching great throughout the season and really being a cornerstone and a leader of the pitching rotation, the time he gives with our young guys. It's just something we think that he earned and deserved and could be a guy for us through the winter that we know he's part of the ballclub, and we know every fifth day we'll be handing him the ball and have a quality start."

"I'm really happy with the situation," Hernandez said. "It's always I want to come back and play here. It gives me a chance to come back for another year and hopefully more years."

-- Red Line Editorial