It's Opening Day! Well, it is for the A's and Mariners halfway around the world, anyway. Who's excited?
On to the news:
- The Red Sox have sent slick-fielding SS Jose Iglesias to the minors, meaning that Mike Aviles will be their starter at the position. Aviles' swing-at-everything ways may not endear him to stat geeks as a real ballplayer, but he hit 16 homers and stole 20 bases between Triple A and the majors last season. Aviles doesn't yet qualify at shortstop in most fantasy formats, but he fits at second base and third base, and is worth a look in mixed leagues.
- The Rockies have released veteran 3B Casey Blake, meaning that either Chris Nelson or Jordan Pacheco will be their Opening Day third baseman. Nelson offers modest power and not much else, which limits him to NL-only consideration. He qualifies at second base and third base, and you'll want him at the former. Pacheco has less power than Nelson, and qualifies at first base only in most formats, so consider him a low-end NL-only option until he gets some appearances at catcher, as he could be more of a utilityman than anything else. This turn of events will probably hasten the eventual debut of blue-chip prospect Nolan Arenado, who impressed during spring training and hit 20 homers with an .836 OPS in A ball last year. Who thinks we'll see Arenado at Coors Field before the All-Star Game?
- The Rays have decided to go with Jeff Niemann over Wade Davis as their fifth starter. Friend of the blog/Rays' aficionado Jason Collette of Baseball Prospectus and Rotowire has a good piece on Niemann here, and likes him for AL-only leagues this season.
- Cardinals SP Chris Carpenter is probably going to be out for awhile because of the weakness in his shoulder. There's no timetable, but the St. Louis Post Dispatch story at that link suggests that it's going to be at least a couple of months.
- Reds SP Mat Latos left Tuesday's game with a strained calf, but seems to be fine.
- The same is probably true for Yankees OF Curtis Granderson and his sore right elbow.
- I haven't seen any updates on the closer situations for the Reds, Royals or White Sox, the last of which seems to be adding candidates instead of eliminating them. If you're drafting today, the recommendations here are Sean Marshall, Greg Holland and Addison Reed. I think Matt Thornton will be the Opening Day closer for the Sox, but expect Reed to save more games over the course of the season.
- Injured Tigers 3B Miguel Cabrera has been cleared to resume baseball activities. I know a few of you drafted Cabrera, so that's good news.
- This Braves notebook suggests that Tommy Hanson will be the Opening Day starter, and that Randall Delgado seems to have won the fifth-starter battle over Julio Teheran. Don't read too much into this regarding the 21-year-old Teheran, who still projects to be a stud someday.
- It looks like rookie OF Lorenzo Cain will bat second for the Royals.
- Here's a health update on the Nationals, who hope to have RP Drew Storen, 1B Adam LaRoche and OF Mike Morse ready for Opening Day.
- In that Nats' update, the Washington Post notes that today is the final day to which teams can backdate season-opening stints on the disabled list. If you see a player go on the DL today, don't panic, because in many cases it will mean the player just needs an extra week to get ready.
- With that said, Adam Lind owners should keep an eye on his lower back issues.
- Spring training stats don't mean anything! I really do believe that, but Lucas Duda's four spring homers have caught my attention. I drafted him late in a mixed league last week - he could hit 20-25 homers in the remodeled Citi Field, and qualifies at 1B and OF.
- With Lonnie Chisenhall on his way back to Triple A, Jack Hannahan has won the Indians' third-base job. If Hannahan could hit, this would be relevant fantasy news.
- Injured Marlins' outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison could be back in the lineup by Friday.
- In case you're wondering about Orioles 2B Brian Roberts, he'll start the season on the DL and isn't close to playing. Leave Roberts off your draftboard unless you're taking a flier in an AL-only league.
- The Diamondbacks have set their pitching rotation, which doesn't include any surprises.
See you back here Friday morning. Starting next week, the blog will be updated every weekday.