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NL Notes: Bucs claim former Giant Kontos for stretch run

Plus notes on the Braves, Mets and Marlins.

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Francisco Giants Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Cubs appear to be settling into a somewhat-comfortable spot at the top of the NL Central, but don’t tell the Pittsburgh Pirates that.

The Bucs’ now lay claim to George Kontos, formerly the longest-tenured reliever on the Giants. Kontos was taken off waivers by Pittsburgh this past week and figures to set Pittsburgh up well in the late innings. They’ll need the help — Pittsburgh faces a good amount of division opponents the rest of the way, including fifteen games against the Cubs and Brewers.

Here’s what else is happening around the National League:

Nick Markakis has always been a guy that just seems to be “there.” Well, quietly, Markakis has built up quite a resume, and he added a cornerstone to that list of accomplishments Thursday night, when he picked up his 2000th hit against the Dodgers. Markakis is only the 10th active player to achieve the feat, and only the 285th in Major League history.

The Mets’ infield might be looking very different very soon. Both Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker were able to clear waivers this past week, which means they are both available to be dealt any time in the month of August. I anticipate at least one of these guys hitting the bricks, especially a guy like Cabrera who has been known to move to a contender in the past. Walker is more of a guy the Mets can commit to going forward.

The game is getting younger. Way younger. Atlanta’s Ozzie Albies went deep in one of his first appearances for the big league club last week. The catch? Albies was born in 1997, making him the first player to appear in a game that was born in that year. Going yard must have made it all the better for the youngster.

What a terrible break for Edinson Volquez. Just months after throwing a no-hitter for the Marlins, Volquez will need Tommy John surgery, sidelining him for all of 2017 and most of 2018. The injury was discovered when Volquez tweaked his elbow in a throwing session last week. More careful inquiry revealed a UCL tear.