Just five months removed from open-heart surgery, Aaron Boone was back in an Astros uniform on Tuesday night after being activated from the disabled list. Boone, who had surgery in March, played in 11 Minor League rehab games.

"I don't know what to expect, but I know I'll be prepared to play," Boone told MLB.com. "I'm just looking forward to being back and being part of the team."

Boone said he will be nervous the first time he takes the field or hits.

"I had those [nerves] in the Minor Leagues, so I'm sure I'll have them here, too," he said. "That's the beauty of it."

Boone's return doesn't surprise his dad: One person who wasn't surprised by Aaron Boone's return to action just five months after having a heart valve replaced is his father, Bob.

"Like I told him, you're a Boone," Bob Boone, the Washington Nationals assistant general manager, told the Washington Post.

"He's on their roster as of today, so hopefully he can do something positive." Boone smiled. "Earn his money, you know."

Penny had his eye on Giants early on: Brad Penny was scheduled to make his first start for the Giants on Wednesday against the Phillies.

"If he gives us five innings, that would be great," Giants manager Bruce Bochy told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Anything more than that, we'd be very happy."

"I wasn't going to go to Florida," Penny said. "I considered it a little bit, but I thought, 'I want to play in front of some fans,' to be honest with you. I knew I was coming here from the get-go."

Moylan continues record homerless streak: Peter Moylan has surpassed John Smoltz's Braves record for most consecutive games without allowing a home run.

Smoltz appeared in 76 games while Moylan's streak is ongoing with 79. Moylan did this while rebounding from reconstructive elbow surgery, which caused him to miss the majority of the 2008 season.

"I don't have any extra soreness," Moylan told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I feel like I'm recovering normally. As far as I can tell, the only remnants of me having surgery is the scar on my arm."

Walker turns big August numbers into callup: After putting up strong numbers at Triple-A Indianapolis in August, Neil Walker was recalled by the Pittsburgh Pirates and says he thinks he's ready to contribute at the Major League level.

"I'm really happy with the way things turned out in August," the third baseman, who batted .264 with 31 doubles, 14 home runs and 69 RBIs at Triple-A, told MLB.com. "That's what I'm capable of. The way I felt, the way my swing felt and my mentality is what propelled me through August."

McCarthy back after three months on DL: After nearly three months on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his right shoulder blade, Brandon McCarthy was back on the mound for the Texas Rangers in the second game of a doubleheader against Toronto on Tuesday night.

McCarthy allowed only one run on three hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out two batters and threw 62 of his 95 pitches for strikes.

"Everything feels good, and I'm coming back feeling confident," McCarthy told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram before Tuesday's game. "I should have no limits on me as far as pitch count or anything. It feels good to come back and try and help this team get to the playoffs."

Bruce ready to end two-month hiatus: Jay Bruce was able to take batting practice Tuesday after being out almost two months with a fractured right wrist.

"That's a long time without swinging the bat," Bruce told MLB.com. "I have no complaints. I felt good. I felt strong. It's all about repeating now. It's all about doing it again, day after day, with no pain or discomfort."

Don't forget about MVP candidate Morales: Mike Scioscia believes first baseman Kendry Morales, who is batting .314 with 30 home runs and 94 RBIs, is a strong candidate for AL Most Valuable Player.

"It seems word travels west to east in baseball a little slower than it does east to west," Scioscia told the Los Angeles Times.

"But I think the baseball world knows what he has meant to our club. If you look at his individual statistics, what he's meant to our club ... if you take Kendry out of our lineup, I think you're looking at a different offense."

Lohse to begin his return in bullpen: As Kyle Lohse works his way back from a strained left groin, the Cardinals plan to use him as a reliever.

"Whatever the team needs," Lohse told MLB.com. "I'd love to go out there and finish the way I started, but we got four guys who are going good right now and a lot of off-days. It's unfortunate for myself, but it's good on the other hand that we don't need to rush me back out and start. I'll do whatever the team needs and see how it goes."

Glaus seeking first at-bat of the season: Troy Glaus, on the disabled list all season, is back with the Cardinals and will be used primarily as a pinch-hitter in the final month of the season.

"This is what all the work was about -- was trying to get back here and contribute here," Glaus told MLB.com. "I feel good. I feel ready to go, and we'll see what I can do to help this team win down the stretch."

McCutchen begins ball collection: Daniel McCutchen had a pair of "firsts" on Monday, notching his first Major League strikeout and picking up his first big league hit in what would eventually become a 4-3 win for the Cincinnati Reds. For his efforts, the Pirates' rookie was awarded a couple of game balls.

"One for my first hit, one for my first strikeout," McCutchen told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Hamels extends scoreless streak to 19 innings: Cole Hamels pitched a shutout in Philadelphia's 1-0 victory over the Giants on Tuesday night. Hamels, who at one point sat down 21 straight Giants batters, has now worked 19 straight scoreless innings to match a career high.

"I really tried not to stress myself out in going out there and trying to be too good or trying to fall into those expectations and all of a sudden expecting of yourself," Hamels told MLB.com. "All I can really do is try to go out there and throw strikes and let that take care of itself. I have a team behind me. They're there for a reason. You can't strike out everybody. You can't overpower them."

Gerut finding his pitches: In his last 27 games entering Tuesday night, Jody Gerut was hitting .310 (13-for-42) with two home runs and nine RBIs.

Brewers manager Ken Macha said Gerut is picking the right pitches to hit and not trying to pull the ball as much.

"You get a few hits, you get to play more," Macha told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "He was getting off early. When you try to pull and get out there, you're going to be aggressive, and you wind up swinging at the first pitch."

Thole finding comfort zone behind plate: Josh Thole, a 13th-round Draft pick in 2005, has earned a promotion to the Mets. Thole, considered the team's top catching prospect, hit .328 with one home run and 46 RBIs in 384 at-bats at Double-A Birmingham this season.

Thole was a catcher in high school but played behind the plate only 28 times in his first three professional seasons. This season the Mets used him as a catcher on a full-time basis.

"As the season has been progressing, I've been feeling better and better every day," Thole told the New York Daily News. "But something really clicked about three weeks ago when [catching coordinator] Bob Natal was here the last time. We just made a slight adjustment in my receiving, and I've felt so much better."

-- Red Line Editorial