Recent review: Longoria, Holliday hurt
I’ll update the weekend's diamond news and notes, and apprise the latest injuries.
The Fantasy Infirmary
Evan Longoria became the latest powerhouse to fall with a strained left oblique muscle. He felt soreness on Saturday and left the game in the sixth inning. Alas, fantasy owners need to prepare for a lengthy absence, as the Rays have placed Longoria on the 15-day disabled list and expect him to miss at least three weeks. The versatile Sean Rodriguez slides into the starting lineup in his absence, with Felipe Lopez serving as a primary backup.
Longoria’s injury certainly leaves a gaping hole in your fantasy lineup. Here are a few third-base waiver options to hold you over until his return.
• Edwin Encarnacion is currently slotted as the Blue Jay’s third baseman. After this weekend’s butchery in the field, he may be shifted back to DH in short order, but you can’t take the eligibility away. He’s good for 18-22 home runs with regular at-bats.
• Scott Rolen of the Reds hit his first home run over the weekend. He is a strong power contributor when healthy, hitting in a great lineup and ballpark. Sure, Rolen’s health is always a concern, but you’re just looking to bridge the gap until Longoria returns.
• Brent Morel is acclimating to life as the everyday first baseman for the White Sox. Morel went 3-for-9 with two RBI and a stolen base in the first two games against Cleveland. He’s certainly an unproven commodity, but the lineup and ballparks are pluses.
• Chase Headley and Brandon Inge are also on the radar. Headley offers solid numbers across the board. Inge offers power and little else.
Matt Holliday underwent an appendectomy at the end of last week. Initial reports had the slugger out for 4-6 weeks, though the Cardinals have curiously elected not to put him on the disabled list as of this writing. Prospect Jon Jay, 26, slides into the lineup in his absence.
With Holliday out, fantasy owners may take a stab at Jay, who has been on the radar for a couple seasons.
Other outfield waiver replacements include:
• Andres Torres performed well for the Giants last season, contributing strong four-category production.
• Cameron Maybin is getting a chance to be an everyday player in San Diego, and may contribute decent power (PETCO limits the ceiling) and speed.
• Ben Francisco has the job in Philadelphia during Dominic Brown’s absence and offers decent five-category production.
Speaking of oblique injuries, Jair Jurrjens was placed on the disabled list by the Braves. The move was made retroactive to March 25. Jurrjens’ injury creates an opportunity for prospect
Magglio Ordonez went 0-for-7 in the Tigers’ first two games with two strikeouts. He was held out of Sunday’s game because of soreness in his left ankle. The Tigers attributed the issue to cold weather, but we’ll keep an eye on this situation given Ordonez’s history. Any extended absences would create an opportunity for super-sleeper Brennan Boesch.
Jorge De La Rosa of the Rockies left his Saturday start in the sixth inning because of a blood blister on his middle finger. The bullpen preserved the victory for him (he struck out five with one walk and did not allow a run). De La Rosa does not expect the issue to keep him from his next start.
Colorado ace Ubaldo Jimenez struggled in his first start due, in part, to a cut cuticle on his right thumb. The team remains optimistic that Jimenez will heal in time for his next turn in the rotation against the first-place Pirates.
Finally, I had written about Baltimore prospect Zach Britton with some regularity this spring and put him near the top of the “Watch” list. I’ll break out Britton’s start momentarily, but his recall from Triple-A Norfolk was necessitated by the muscle soreness experienced by Brian Matusz. Matusz underwent an MRI on Friday and a muscle strain in his upper back was discovered. He’s expected to be sidelined for 3-6 weeks.
Britton completed the Orioles’ sweep of the Rays with a fantastic start. He pitched six innings of one-run ball, allowing three hits and three walks with six strikeouts. Britton threw 58 strikes in his 96 pitches, although his ground ball to flyball rate is potentially troubling (4-to-7).
The aforementioned Chris Tillman shut down the Rays this weekend, hurling six innings of hitless, shutout ball. Tillman struck out five batters and walked three.
I would be remiss if I failed to note the brilliance of Jeremy Guthrie in the opener. Guthrie pitched eight shutout innings, allowing three hits and a walk against six strikeouts.
Brian Roberts opened the season with a fantastic series against the Rays. The veteran second baseman posted four hits in 13 at-bats with a triple, a three-run home run and five RBI.
The Rangers swept the Red Sox on the strength of 11 home runs. Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz both hit three solo home runs in the series. Mike Napoli added two home runs as well.
The Royals also won three of four games in their series against the Angels, all in their last at-bat. The offensive players spread the wealth, with seemingly everyone contributing a big hit. The bullpen pitched well to pick up the starters, although Jeff Francis turned in a nice start with one earned run allowed in seven innings pitched (four strikeouts).
Joakim Soria pitched in three of the four games, earning a win and a save in his three innings of work. Interestingly, Soria did not record a strikeout in those appearances.
Joe Nathan struggled in his first appearance for the Twins, but he eventually closed things out to earn his first save. Nathan allowed two hits and walked two batters (one unearned run) before inducing a game-ending groundout. It wasn’t dominant, but sometimes you need to get that first outing out of the way. I’ll be curious to monitor his progress.
The Reds swept away my NL Central pick (Milwaukee) this weekend. Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan combined for nine hits in 12 at-bats with three home runs (two for Hanigan) and seven RBI.
Rickie Weeks and Ryan Braun both hit two home runs in the series. Weeks went 4-for-13 in the series with two home runs, two doubles and four RBI.
Knuckle-baller R.A. Dickey pitched six innings of one-run ball (unearned) with seven strikeouts against five hits and three walks. I had to doff my proverbial cap to the Mets.
The normally slow-starting Mark Teixeira came out of Florida mashing. Teixeira slammed three home runs in the opening series against the Tigers with seven RBI. He logged four hits in 12 at-bats during the series.
The Dodgers won three of four games against the defending champion Giants. Matt Kemp started well, producing five hits in 12 at-bats (.417) with two doubles, a home run, three RBI and a stolen base.
The White Sox scored 21 runs in the first two games of their series against the Indians. Outfielder Carlos Quentin led the way with seven RBI, but Adam Dunn’s home run in the 15-run opening day barrage was the blast everyone anticipated. Dunn logged four hits, including a double and home run, with five RBI.
I could go on forever, but I’m tempering the enthusiasm. Let’s log some additional at-bats and innings before getting too excited.
Similarly, I need to put a tag on some players who have struggled out of the gate, but lest we forget, we’re talking 10-12 at-bats and one start.
As mentioned above, the White Sox celebrated the opening weekend with a hit parade against the Indians. Alex Rios didn’t get in on the action. Rios went 0-for-12 with five strikeouts.
Shin-Soo Choo registered one hit in his first 12 at-bats, including six strikeouts. He did walk twice and scored a run.
Following a brutal 0-for-7 start in which he struck out four times, Carl Crawford was slotted in the seventh slot for Sunday’s series finale against the Rangers. He responded with a 2-for-4 effort and an RBI. Crawford struck out five times in 11 at-bats during the opening series.
Troy Tulowitzki allowed fans to choose his walk-up song (they chose “Firework” by Katy Perry). He needs to find a tune to jumpstart his bat following two O-fers. Tulowitzki went 0-for-8 in the Rockies’ first two games with two strikeouts and two walks. He left eight runners on base.
Javier Vazquez struggled markedly in his return to the National League. He failed to escape the third inning, surrendering seven runs, four earned, on six hits and five walks against one strikeout. Vazquez served up two home runs.
Francisco Liriano pitched 4 1/3 innings against the slugging Blue Jays. He allowed four earned runs on four hits and five walks. Liriano allowed two home runs.
“Mad” Max Scherzer earned a win for the Tigers, but he allowed four home runs. He surrendered six earned runs in five innings on nine hits and two walks.
John Lackey was obliterated by the potent Texas lineup. He allowed nine earned runs in 3 2/3 innings on 10 hits and two walks. Lackey threw 50 of his 86 pitches for strikes. His ground ball-to-flyball ratio set off alarms (one-to-11).
Get the carousel cranked up. Fernando Rodney struggled in his first work this season for the Angels. Rodney allowed a hit and a walk with two strikeouts before closing out the Royals in the opener. He then walked three batters and allowed one hit and two earned runs on Sunday. Rodney owners should check their benches and see if a spot for Jordan Walden can’t be created.