Raul Ibanez: After battling a strained groin for much of this season, Ibanez couldn’t take it anymore and headed to the disabled list on June 18. He was having a career year before his vacation, smacking 22 HRs in 250 ABs while providing owners with possibly the best value pick of this year’s draft. After playing two games on Monday and Tuesday, Ibanez took a day off to rest last night. He’ll be back out there today and will likely rejoin the Phillies on Friday. Be prepared to activate him after tonight’s contest.
Alex Gordon: Gordon has played with Northwest Arkansas over the last few days and went 2-for-5 with a home run in Tuesday’s Double-A game. Since starting his rehab assignment, Gordon is 7-for-21 with two HRs and an astounding 10 walks to his credit. He’s very close to returning and makes for a great bet to have a strong second half, which would put him back on the fantasy map heading into 2010.
Shaun Marcum: It’s not often you see a starting pitcher return before he reaches his one-year Tommy John surgery anniversary, but that’s exactly what Marcum is hoping to accomplish. He was able to go three innings in Single-A on Monday without suffering any setbacks. The Blue Jays would love to have the right-hander back quickly, as they’re running out of starters to place on the DL. In fact, I think they started the Duke basketball head coach on Tuesday. The team is hoping to bring Marcum back to the bigs in three-to-four weeks.
Tim Hudson: Creeping on his own one-year anniversary of Tommy John Surgery, Hudson threw batting practice on Monday and reported that everything is just fine. He remains on track to begin his rehab assignment on July 19. The team will look to get him back in early August, at which point they’ll have to clear a space for him in the rotation (if they didn’t already before the trading deadline). It’s anyone’s guess as to who would move to the bullpen, but Kenshin Kawakami looks like the most logical option.
Ryan Doumit: The Pittsburgh catcher is just about back from his wrist injury. After last night’s 0-for-3 affair, Doumit is hitless through four rehab games. With the Pirates once again looking to the future, there’s really no rush bringing Doumit back and risking him aggravating his wrist, so expect him to stay in Triple-A for a few more days until he gets his timing back. Look for him to rejoin the club for the first game after the All-Star Break.
Carlos Beltran: The fantasy world panicked when the news broke that Beltran could need career-threatening microfracutre sugery, but it turned out to be a bunch of hogwash. Despite that relief, Beltran still isn’t close to coming back, and it looks like the beginning of August is the most optimistic outlook. If you can pick him up on the cheap and stash him, he could provide your team a big boost down the stretch.
Jose Reyes: Beltran’s teammate Reyes suffered a setback in his recuperation this week, and while he should still beat Beltran back from the DL, it won’t be happening soon. If you’ve stuck with Reyes this long, you have no choice but to continue sticking with him until we hear some more definitive news. Unlike Beltran, I don’t see Reyes contributing as much when he does come back, so I would see what you can get from a prospecting owner when Reyes nears a return.
Jake Peavy: Nothing new to report in regards to the Alabama fireballer. He’s still expected to return this season, probably around the end of August. Keeper league owners that are in the hunt for this year’s title should be looking to trade Peavy to a non-contender and bring in some players that will help their playoff push.
Mike Lowell: Lowell had to have minor hip surgery on June 29, but he won’t be shelved for any more than the minimum 15 days. Expect him back after next week’s All-Star activities. If an owner in your league didn’t have room on his reserve list for Lowell and had to cut him, you should make the move to add the Boston third baseman if you need help at the position, as he’s offered a nice mix of power and average this year.
Kelvim Escobar: The Angels starter made his not-so-triumphant return from labrum surgery on June 6. Ten days later, after seeing no further action, the team placed Escobar back on the DL. He was supposed to return as a reliever, but after suffering another setback, he could be done for the season. He’ll be a free agent next year and will struggle to find a team willing to gamble on his damaged arm. Feel free to cut Escobar in all formats.
R.J. White is a fantasy blogger at the sports site FanHouse. Check out his work both here and there, and feel free to talk to him in the forums, where he posts under the name daullaz.
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