The big news since Friday's post has been about Red Sox OF Jacoby Ellsbury (probably out 6-8 weeks with a shoulder injury) and Giants' closer Brian Wilson (likely headed for season-ending Tommy John surgery). My colleague Ryan Fowler has some replacement suggestions for the duo, and my latest edition of Free Agent Frenzy offers ideas as well. If you're looking long-term on saves, the Giants have a guy named Heath Hembree at Triple A who has "closer of the future" written all over him.
Ricky Nolasco wasn't bad on Friday, but didn't quite reach out Fantasy Quality Start criteria. Seattle's Hector Noesi tossed eight shutout innings on Saturday, but Chris Sale was just so-so on Sunday. The season record is 9-3, and today's pick is Philip Humber (2 percent owned) at home against the Orioles.
The Red Sox host the Rays today at 11:05 a.m., so set your lineups early. Happy Patriots' Day, Massachusetts!
On to the news:
- If I owned Reds 2B Brandon Phillips, I'd be a little worried. Phillips returned to the lineup on Sunday after a hamstring-related absence, but reportedly decided against trying to beat out a bunt in the seventh inning and pulled up after hitting a double in the ninth. It sounds like Phillips will be in the lineup when the Reds play on Tuesday, but the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that he's not 100 percent and will "have to take it easy for at least a week or so until the leg gets fully healed." Depending on your bench options, Phillips looks like a bench candidate this week in standard mixed leagues.
- The Cardinals are hoping that 1B Lance Berkman (calf) and David Freese (finger) will be back in the lineup on Tuesday. In other Cardinals' news, OF Carlos Beltran is day-to-day after getting hit in the forearm by a pitch.
- After yesterday's rough outing, Rays SP Matt Moore has a 5.54 ERA and 1.62 WHIP through two starts, with nine strikeouts and nine walks in 13 innings. Most rookies experience bumps in the road, but Moore is too good to keep posting numbers like that. He could be a buy-low trade target already - you never know when an impatient fantasy owner will press the panic button.
- Absences due to broken pinkies are for sissies. Mets David Wright, who was a likely DL candidate on Friday, went five-for-nine on Saturday and Sunday with a homer, an RBI and three runs scored.
- The Royals have placed OF Lorenzo Cain (groin) on the DL, and aren't sure if Luke Hochevar (foot) will be able to make his next start on Wednesday. With regards to the Cain injury, a couple of my AL-only teams would really like to see Jason Bourgeois get some playing time, even if it's just against lefties. Thanks in advance to manager Ned Yost for his consideration.
- A's OF Yoenis Cespedes now has three home runs, 15 strikeouts and three HBPs in 40 plate appearances. At least he's not boring.
- Andy Pettitte had a strong minor-league start yesterday, and is tracking toward a May return to the Bronx. When ready, Pettitte will be an AL-only option, and that's all. Don't pay the Yankee fantasy tax for him.
- Did you see Blue Jays 3B Brett Lawrie try to steal home with the bases loaded on Saturday? As a fantasy owner, try to ignore the strategic boneheadedness of the play and be happy about the aggressiveness.
- The Rangers might flip the rotation slots of Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison later this week. Pay attention if you own them in daily leagues.
- Tyson Ross is the A's fifth starter.
- Justin Morneau will start getting some time at first base this week. If he doesn't start hitting, you won't care.
- This just in: Braves SP Brandon Beachy is pretty good.
- Angels' blue-chip prospect Mike Trout scored from first base on a single in a Triple-A game Saturday night. Through 11 games, Trout is batting .435 with a homer, six RBI, 11 runs scored, four stolen bases and a 1.143 OPS. This message has been brought to you by my SuperPAC, Make America Great: Bring Mike Trout to the Major Leagues.
- After swiping a pair of bases yesterday, Dodgers SS Dee Gordon has seven steals in 10 games. Whooooosh!
- Astros OF Jordan Schafer is day-to-day with a head injury.
- The Rockies have optioned utilityman Jordan Pacheco to the minors to get more reps at third base. He should be back in Denver soon.
See you back here tomorrow morning.
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