Blue heaven: Dodgers’ Puig expected to return Friday
After taking extra batting practice and pinch-hitting on Wednesday, the Dodgers are optimistic that OF Yasiel Puig (hand) will be able to return to the lineup tonight against the Giants. Manager Don Mattingly wasn’t as confident late Wednesday in the return of Hanley Ramirez (hand), but on the bright side, a DL trip isn’t likely.
Thursday’s studs & duds
Stud: On a day filled with strong pitching performances, Tyson Ross’ outing (six innings, one run, 11 strikeouts with a win) was probably the best. Can I say I told you so about Ross? Please? OK, it’s not like I thought he’d be this good.
Stud: Blue Jays 1B Juan Francisco went three-for-four with a homer and four RBI. Who would have bet on him for a 20-homer season?
Dud: The Brewers got to Mets SP Dillon Gee for six runs in five innings.
Dud: Indians Michael Brantley and Nick Swisher both went hitless in six at bats during their team’s 14-inning loss to the Royals.
News & notes
The Mariners acquired DH Kendrys Morales from the Twins, and will bat him cleanup. As a result, Logan Morrison and Corey Hart will platoon at first base in Seattle. From the Twins’ standpoint, look for Chris Parmelee to get more playing time, at least until Joe Mauer (oblique) comes off the DL.
Red Sox DH David Ortiz left Thursday’s game with back spasms, and is day to day.
Speaking of the Twins, Phil Hughes’ status for his next start is TBD after he got hit in the shin with a one-hopper on Wednesday, and Kyle Gibson (back) is unlikely to start on Saturday.
Jake Petricka got his fifth save for the White Sox on Thursday, and "essentially becomes the White Sox closer" with Zach Putnam on the DL, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Any pitcher in possession of a closer’s job is worthy of a fantasy pickup, but remember that Matt Lindstrom (ankle) is close to beginning a rehab assignment. If you’re still able to snatch up Petricka, don’t get too attached to him.
During Corey Kluber’s flirt with perfection on Thursday, Yahoo! fantasy analyst Scott Pianowski asked the following question on Twitter: Which fantasy starters (besides Clayton Kershaw) would you take over Kluber for the rest of the season? I haven’t had time to seriously analyze the details, but I’d probably rather have Felix Hernandez, Yu Darvish and David Price, and my preference for them is based more on track record than anything else. After that … Max Scherzer? Stephen Strasburg? The answers are not easy, because Kluber has become such a stud.
The Mariners have promoted SS Chris Taylor (.328, 5 HR, 14 SB at Triple A), and manager Lloyd McClendon says "he’ll get his fair share of playing time." Brad Miller’s remaining fantasy owners should feel even more discouraged than they’ve already been, since he could be on the short end of a platoon. As for Taylor, he’s not an attractive option in any mixed leagues because we’re not yet sure when he’ll play full-time.
The Yankees are likely to decide today if 1B Mark Teixeira (lat strain) will go on the DL. The Yanks also added lefty Chris Capuano to their ragtag pitching staff. Capuano could start or relieve, and isn’t fantasy-friendly.
The Mets have recalled power-hitting SS Wilmer Flores, but it sounds like he’ll serve in a reserve role.
My man Marcus Stroman was terrific again on Thursday, so we’re up to 59-42 for the season. The weekend picks are Charlie Morton (owned in 20.2 percent of FOXSports.com leagues) at Colorado on Friday; Mets’ lefty Jon Niese (17.4 percent owned) at Milwaukee on Saturday; and Brewers’ rookie Jimmy Nelson (3.4 percent owned) against the Mets on Sunday.
See you back here Monday morning.