C.J. Wilson, who joined the Rangers' rotation this season, has emerged as one of the game's best starters this season. Since the All-Star break, the hard-throwing left-hander is 7-0 with a 1.99 ERA, including 7 2/3 scoreless innings on Monday against Kansas City.

"He's not really missing anything right now," teammate Elvis Andrus told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "It's exciting how he's throwing the ball."

Wilson thinks seeing hitters more often has led to his second-half success.

"The more looks I get at a team, the better I'm able to analyze them," said Wilson, who leads the American League with a .202 opponents batting average. "Real game experience against the same team gives me an advantage. I've had a chance to prepare even more."

More shade at Miller Park gives batters a sunny outlook: Ryan Braun endorsed the idea of closing a couple of right-field roof panels at Miller Park during day games to keep the whole infield in the shade. The Brewers changed the configuration Sunday as a way to avoid having pitches thrown from a sunlit mound to shaded home plate, which makes it more difficult for hitters to pick up the ball.

"There's no doubt it will help," Braun told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "[Otherwise] it's like trying to look into a bright light and see a white baseball."

Braun went 4-for-4 with a home run on Sunday.

Edmonds could be playing his final season: Jim Edmonds, who took the 2009 season off only to sign with Milwaukee for the 2010 season, says his latest stint with the Reds may be his last as a Major League player.

"I'm leaning toward shutting it down and being a family man again," Edmonds told MLB.com. "My wife and kids have had enough right now. They're struggling a little bit with it. I try not to talk too much about it because I never thought these issues would come up in your life. When you're a young player, this is your life. As you get older, your priorities change.

"I've made my mark," he said. "I've done as much as I can possibly do as an everyday player. Even though I'd like to still go out there and prove I can do it, being hurt is not making it any easier."

Manny still 'feels the fire': Manny Ramirez wants to help spark the White Sox pennant drive.

"I feel that I still have that fire to compete," Ramirez told the Chicago Tribune through interpreter Joey Cora, a White Sox coach. "As long as I have that fire to compete, I'm going to keep playing. As soon as that fire leaves, it's time to go. I feel the fire. I want to compete, and we'll see what happens."

Konerko glad to have Manny on his side: Count Paul Konerko among those players who are excited to have Manny Ramirez on Chicago's South Side.

"It's a great bat to have," Konerko told MLB.com. "That guy can hit. As a teammate, you just try to welcome him into the clubhouse, make him feel as welcome as you can, and hopefully he'll get a steady flow of at-bats here and he'll get comfortable. He's a great hitter, and it can only be a positive thing."

Inge proud of his tenure: Brandon Inge has loved his time in Detroit, but knows that as he heads into free agency this offseason, nothing is certain.

"For me, you don't find that sense of loyalty in this game," Inge told MLB.com. "Just in baseball, there's not as much loyalty as maybe in general. Players are traded all the time. People are moving in and out. That's just the way it kind of works. And so, I'm so appreciative that I was able to stay here with this organization the entire time. Mr. [Mike] Ilitch and this organization stuck beside me for a long time."

Ross gives Braves superior catching duo: Everyone knows the Braves have an All-Star catcher in Brian McCann. But what not many realize is that they have a solid backup in David Ross, who gives the club a great catching tandem, a fact not lost on manager Bobby Cox.

"It is because he throws out runners, calls a great game, he's got the power to hit homers -- he always does something," Cox told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"He's a guy that can throw out runners, he's got power ... you know, it's a joy to see his face every day in the clubhouse," Cox said. "He's always full of energy, team-oriented all the time."

LeCure taking on new role in bullpen: Sam LeCure had made 101 straight appearances as a starter until last week, but he's up for the bullpen challenge.

"It's fun," LeCure told MLB.com. "It's a little different in the bullpen because you never know when you're going to pitch."

Broken-bat triple called 'crazy' by Gonzalez: Carlos Gonzalez won a game against the Giants with a broken-bat triple on Monday night.

"It was crazy because I hit the ball on the barrel, and I didn't know how that bat broke," Gonzalez told the San Jose Mercury News. "I guess it was meant to be. It was crazy. That's how we won the game."

Pennington shows bunting prowess: A's bench coach Ty Waller also acts as the team's bunting instructor so he was thrilled when Cliff Pennington perfectly executed two bunts in a recent game.

"He really hasn't [bunted for hits] as much as he will in the future, I believe," Waller told the Oakland Tribune of Pennington, who leads Oakland with six bunt singles this season.

"I want to hit," Pennington explained with a smile as to why he doesn't bunt more. "I want to swing the bat."

Stephen Drew comes home riding wave of success: Stephen Drew didn't have an explanation for his recent 14-for-28 road trip.

"I haven't changed anything," he told the The Arizona Republic. "It's one of those things that every hitter goes through in a season, and you just try to keep it up as long as you can."

Pettitte continues to progress: Andy Pettitte continues to progress from his strained left groin. He threw 35 pitches in the bullpen on Sunday and reported no problems.

"I heated it up pretty good," Pettitte told the New York Daily News. "I went out there planning on kind of being nice and easy like I did the other day, and it ended up being a little more intensity -- and it felt really good. Just another good step in the right direction."

The left-hander believes he could be back in the rotation by mid-September if he suffers no setbacks.

Boggs to have new look for wedding: As a show of solidarity, the Cardinals all shaved their heads this week -- including Mitchell Boggs, who was reluctant to do so since he's getting married in December.

"It wasn't much of a choice because it's being part of the team," Boggs told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "We'll see how it works. I told [my fiancée] it'll look a little different."

-- Red Line Editorial