Saturday, March 15, 2008

News, Notes, and More

Now that we've come to the middle of March, fantasy baseball owners across the nation are sitting in their makeshift war rooms preparing for their draft. Last minute injuries, demotions to the minors, etc. can thwart the best made strategies. Here's a quick update from the Spring to ensure that you do not accidentally draft someone who just got hit by an 18-wheeler.

1. Willy Mo Pena tore his oblique muscle. Kind of hard to swing with authority when you have a torn oblique, so Pena is expected to be on the shelf for up to eight weeks. This leaves a hole in the Nationals outfield, as Elijah Dukes has been swinging like a little leaguer, and Dmitri Young is considered too heavy to patrol the outfield.

2. BJ Ryan made his first appearance of the Spring and looked sharp. Ryan should resume his role as closer for the Blue Jays.

3. Brad Lidge, returning from knee surgery, threw 35 pitches yesterday and is expected to make his debut late this week. If things go well, he could be ready for opening day. If not, expect Flash Gordon to get the bulk of the work out of the pen.

4. Kaz Matsui, I kid you not, had surgery to repair an anal fissure. I don't even know what that means, but it cannot be good. While not a major injury, Matsui is expected to miss opening day which increases Mark Loretta's value for the first week or two of the season.

5. Since returning from a thumb injury that he suffered a few weeks ago, Adrian Beltre has been strong, going 6-16 with a homer.

1. John Maine is looking good, after a shaky second half in '07. Maine shutout the Marlins for five innings, striking out six.

2. Ryan Dempster got shelled in his last start for the Cubs. He let up five earned runs in 1 2/3 innings pitched. Fantasy baseball managers should stay far away from Dempster. In recent years Dempster has been terrible as a closer where he only had to pitch one inning a game. Now, the Cubs somehow think Dempster will excel when he has to pitch 5-7 innings a game. Ummm, good luck with that.

3. Franklin Morales, who came on strong as a rookie in 2007, is struggling thus far this Spring. Yesterday, Morales let up five earned runs, and ten hits in two and two-third innings pitched. Scouts say Morales's velocity is down from last year, and believe he could struggle if it does not come back.

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