It’s hard enough following one’s own fantasy team without having to keep track of an entire sport’s daily transactions. To assist you, here’s a column dedicated to recapping the most notable trades, signings, promotions, demotions and role changes across the majors over the past week as they relate to fantasy. We’ll do this on a weekly basis. If you feel I’ve missed anything important, please don’t hesitate to keep the conversation going in the comments below.
• When Roy Halladay was pulled early from a start last month, fantasy owners had good reason to be concerned. Now we have a prognosis to go with those fears: the Phillies’ ace has a strained right shoulder and could miss up to the next two months. That means Kyle Kendrick will remain in the rotation for the time being, and Halladay’s spot in the rotation will likely be filled by Vance Worley, who’s returning from an elbow injury this week.
• Things fantasy owners don’t want to hear their ace pitchers say: “It feels like somebody stabbed me in the back.” That was Jered Weaver’s reaction last week to the lower-back spasms and strained muscle around a disc in his lower spine that will cause him to miss at least two starts. Back injuries can be a nagging problem, so we’ll see how well Weaver recovers, but those needing to plug a hole in their fantasy rotations can introduce themselves to Garrett Richards (5-2, 4.31 ERA, 1.598 WHIP, 7.7 K/9 in 10 starts at Triple-A this year) who will assume Weaver’s responsibilities in the Angels’ rotation until the right-hander’s return.
• At the very least, no one can fault fantasy owners who drafted Matt Kemp this year. Besides his near-MVP season last year, Kemp was a stallion to start 2012 and was a model of health and consistency as he neared 400 consecutive games played last month. But then he tweaked his left hamstring, landed on the DL after he tweaked it again, and in his second game back last week, aggravated the muscle for the third time.
The good news is that he suffered the least serious type of strain, so there’s every expectation he’ll be a fantasy force for the second half of the year, but Kemp will miss at least the next four weeks, and probably more, as the Dodgers almost certainly will be extra careful in how they bring back their prized center fielder. His absence will keep Tony Gwynn (.277/.324/.346, eight steals) in the lineup.
• Surgery for a broken right wrist will sideline Nick Markakis for up to four weeks, costing the Orioles one of their best hitters. Baltimore called up Bill Hall to add a warm body to the bench, and Endy Chavez and Ryan Flaherty could see some playing time in the outfield as well.
• Carlos Lee was officially placed on the DL Sunday with a strained left hamstring, which led the Astros to promote Brett Wallace (.265/.327/.476 with 10 home runs) from Triple-A to take his place at first base.
• Tigers outfielder Andy Dirks, who had played well to start the season, landed on the DL last week with tendinitis in his right Achilles tendon. Outfielder Matt Young was called up from Triple-A, though with Austin Jackson seemingly ready to come off the DL this week from his abdominal strain, Quintin Berry will likely stay in the lineup to pick up Dirks’ playing time.
• In what has to be considered one of the strangest baseball injuries of the season, Jonathan Lucroy broke the fifth metacarpal in his right hand last week when, of all things, his wife apparently shifted a suitcase that fell onto his hand. That’s especially bad news for fantasy owners, since Lucroy was hitting .345 with five home runs before the injury. Now, he’ll be gone for up to the next six weeks, giving backup catchers George Kottaras and Martin Maldonado some playing time.
• Clearly, Doug Fister has not fully recovered from the strained side that began plaguing him earlier this year, as the Tigers’ right-hander landed back on the disabled list with the injury last week. The good news is that it doesn’t appear that the injury is any more severe now than it was when he first aggravated his oblique, but still, it’s frustrating news for fantasy owners. While he recovers, look for left-hander Casey Crosby (4-2, 4.26 ERA, 1.362 WHIP, 10.1 K/9 in nine Triple-A starts) to replace him in the rotation, though the 23-year-old was pushed around by the Yankees in his first start Friday night.
Other bumps and bruises
• Jaime Garcia missed a start last week due to elbow soreness though an MRI showed no structural damage. Still, it probably would be prudent to bench Garcia this week, especially as there are already rumblings that he won’t be ready to make his next start on Tuesday.
• Just when he started to turn things around in his 2012 season, Jemile Weeks is being bothered with a left hip strain, an injury that’s plagued him in past years.
• Bud Norris was pulled from the second inning of last week’s start with a hip flexor injury, though he’s currently on track for his next start.
• Giants closer Santiago Casilla suffered a bruised tibia in his right leg after running off the mound during a play last week, but it doesn’t appear that the injury is too serious. Still, Sergio Romo or Javier Lopez could be in line for some save opportunities if manager Bruce Bochy decides to let his closer rest a bit during week 10.
Road to recovery
• Pablo Sandoval, on the disabled list for the past month with a fractured hamate bone in his right hand, will begin a rehab stint this week and could possibly rejoin the Giants by the end of the week. Complicating matters is an investigation into a sexual assault incident that allegedly occurred last week, though no charges have been filed against Sandoval, and he reportedly is cooperating with authorities.
• It looks as if Carlos Santana will be activated from the DL this week after suffering a mild concussion.
• Huston Street could rejoin the Padres this week as he’s making progress in a rehab assignment after straining a right lat muscle last month.
• Ever since Drew Storen went down with an elbow injury at season’s outset, manager Davey Johnson has tried his best to keep ace setup man Tyler Clippard in the eighth inning, instead trotting out Brad Lidge and Henry Rodriguez to scoop up save opportunities. But after both players fell short, Clippard now appears to be the man in D.C., as he picked up the save in Saturday’s game, his fourth of the year. Clippard, 27, has compiled a 1-2 record with a 2.78 ERA, 1.015 WHIP and 11.5 K/9 so far this year and looks as though he could hold down the closer’s role for at least the next month, depending on Storen’s progress.
• Already considered by many to be baseball’s best team, the Texas Rangers boosted their rotation last week when they won the Roy Oswalt sweepstakes, signing the 34-year-old to a minor-league contract. Oswalt could join the rotation later this month and will bump Scott Feldman from the fold when he arrives in Arlington.
• Alex Castellanos was promoted by Los Angeles to replace Kemp on the 25-man roster, though he’ll likely be used at second base while Mark Ellis recovers from a leg injury that will cost him at least another month. Castellanos, acquired last year in the Rafael Furcal trade, was crushing Triple-A pitching at the time of his call-up to the tune of a .379/.476/.759 line with five homers in 105 plate appearances, and he’s carrying outfield eligibility in some fantasy leagues, making him an especially attractive player to consider picking up.
• Lonnie Chisenhall is back at the big league level after Jack Hannahan went down with a strained left calf. THT’s Paul Singman foresees a batting average in the .270-.280 range with 12 to 15 home runs (assuming he stays with the Indians for the rest of the season), though it’s far from clear whether Chisenhall will hold onto regular playing time once Hannahan returns in a few weeks.