Power surge: Jays' Encarnacion returns
Blue Jays 1B Edwin Encarnacion, who has been out since July 5 due to a strained quad, is scheduled to come off the DL in time to play tonight against the White Sox. Despite the six-week absence, Encarnacion still ranks seventh in the majors with 26 home runs, and his .591 slugging percentage stands behind only Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Abreu. The man once known as "E5" for his horrible play at third base is arguably baseball's best home-run hitter - start him if you've got him.
Thursday's studs & duds
Stud: The same can't be said for Milwaukee's Mike Fiers, who struck out 14 Cubs in six scoreless innings. The soft-tossing Fiers has made just two starts since being recalled from Triple A last week, but he's quickly earning his keep. As an added bonus, he was this blog's streaming starter recommendation for the day. Woo-hoo!
Stud: Dodgers SS Dee Gordon had three hits, four runs scored and two stolen bases (his 53rd and 54th) against the Braves. Remember when we were all sure he'd lose the job to Alex Guerrero in spring training?
News & notes
Rockies OF Carlos Gonzalez has scheduled season-ending knee surgery. If you haven't been doing so already, make the Rockies a streaming target in every game they play away from Coors Field, because their lineup is terrible. On the bright side, the Rox are expected to get OF Michael Cuddyer (shoulder) back from the DL this weekend.
Yu Darvish's elbow inflammation apparently isn't serious, but there's not yet a timetable for his return, and FOX Sports Southwest's Anthony Andro reports that there are "no guarantees" Darvish will be back this season. From Darvish: "I think I could throw but if that's going to risk my elbow for the future I'm not going to take the risk." Hmm ...
Dan Straily will come up from Triple A to start Saturday for the Cubs. You might remember Straily as the guy who cost me $18 in my AL keeper league draft because he was supposed to pitch well for the A's, but instead posted a 4.93 ERA in seven starts and got sent to the minors. He's been better since getting traded to the Cubs, with a 3.00 ERA in seven Triple-A starts.
Padres 1B Yonder Alonso (forearm, wrist) is on the DL, and it doesn't sound like he'll be back soon. Tommy Medica, who has decent power (seven home runs in 182 at bats), figures to be Alonso's regular replacement. Medica probably won't have value beyond NL-only leagues.
The aforementioned, awesome outing from Mike Fiers raised our record to 74-48 for the season. The weekend picks are Brandon McCarthy (owned in 33 percent of FOXSports.com leagues) at Tampa tonight; Mets' lefty Jon Niese (11.4 percent owned) versus the Cubs on Saturday; and Jeremy Hellickson (9.1 percent owned) against the Yankees on Sunday. Hellickson has a 2.03 ERA in five starts since coming off the DL, and while he's not that good, he should be solid down the stretch.
See you back here Monday morning.