Dustin Pedroia puts on a knee brace and his hitting shoes

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Dustin Pedroia went into a major slump while playing through a knee injury suffered in mid-May, going 16-for-94 (.170) with zero homers over the next 23 games, but the former MVP is 10-for-20 (.500) with four doubles since deciding to wear a knee brace and seems optimistic that the problems are behind him:

I thought I was messed up there for a while. I was having trouble walking up stairs. It kind of worried me. My legs are like three inches, that was part of the problem. I was striking out quite a bit. I was lunging out to try to hit the ball. That’s not really a part of my game.

Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports that Pedroia continues to get treatment of his knee and the revelation that he “was having trouble walking up stairs” during the prolonged slump can’t make Red Sox fans feel very good, but for now at least it looks like Pedroia is back on track.

Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career home run

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Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.

Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. lays out to make a great catch in deep right-center field

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Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. robbed Giants first baseman Brandon Belt of at least a double in the top of the first inning of Monday’s game at Wrigley Field. Almora completely left his feet to catch the ball before landing just shy of the warning track.

The Giants took the early lead two batters prior to Belt’s at-bat as Joe Panik hit a solo home run to center field.