Early return: Pirates' McCutchen likely to play Tuesday
Good news, fantasy owners! Andrew McCutchen is eligible to come off the DL today, and "expects to be in the lineup," according to the Pirates' website. Manager Clint Hurdle wasn't quite as certain after Monday's BP session, but said, "Unless there's some type of setback, we feel optimistic that he could very well rejoin us" on Tuesday.
I'd plan to activate McCutchen today if I owned him, but there's one red flag: He'll be wearing extra padding around his ribs for the rest of the season. It's not one of those old-school flak jackets - the team's website calls it "a spandex shirt with extra padding on both sides of the ribcage," and McCutchen said the injury is still "going to be sore every now and then." You're probably not going to bench or trade McCutchen at this point of the season, but remember that he's not yet 100 percent healthy, so he might not be his normal self.
Monday's studs & duds
Stud: Erik Kratz? Yep. The Royals' backup catcher hit two home runs in relief of teammate Salvador Perez, who left Monday's game with knee "discomfort" and is day to day. This is yet another sign that the Royals are a team of destiny, and/or that hell is freezing over.
Dud: Cardinals' closer Trevor Rosenthal blew another save. Manager Mike Matheny is still standing by Rosenthal, and here's an interesting article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Bernie Miklasz about why it might be premature (for now) for the Cards to make a closer change.
News & notes
The Rangers expect Yu Darvish to come off the DL and start next Monday. Darvish is one of several Rangers that have cleared waivers, but that doesn't mean he'll be traded. He's more likely to become a linebacker for the Cowboys than be dealt to another baseball team. Actually, considering how awful the Cowboys' defense is, that's not a bad idea.
The Red Sox have sent Jackie Bradley Jr. to the minors, and promoted Mookie Betts to be their regular center fielder. Betts struggled in his previous engagement with the Sox, but he has plenty of speed, is owned in 0.5 percent of FOXSports.com leagues, and has fantasy eligibility at shortstop around here. I could see giving him a chance in any format if you need the steals.
Cardinals SP Michael Wacha (shoulder) is making progress in his recovery, but he's still a couple of bullpen sessions away from facing hitter, according to the Post-Dispatch.
Our Monday Bartolo Colon recommendation didn't pan out, so we're still 76-49 on the season. Colon was scratched from his start and placed on the bereavement list so he could go home to the Dominican Republic to visit his "critically ill mother," according to the Mets' website. Best wishes to Colon and his family.
Today's pick is Miami's Jarred Cosart (4.9 percent owned) versus the Rangers, while Wednesday's selection is Cosart's teammate, Nate Eovaldi (16.7 percent owned), versus those same undermanned Rangers. This combo of bad opponent and pitcher-friendly ballpark is too good to pass up.
See you back here tomorrow morning.