A little bit of good news for those faithful few that held on to Phil Hughes. The boy wonder pitched 6 1/3 innings in a rehab start for Double-A Trenton, and his fastball clocked in consistently around 92-94 MPH over 88 pitches, complementing a successful performance earlier in A-ball. Yanks GM Brian Cashman was among those looking on. There’s still no sort of timetable for Hughes’ return, but he’s been marching back strong. Now there’s nothing else to do but wait and hope.
Josh Johnson went to see Dr. James Andrews Thursday, who didn’t find any structural damage, but he’s been ordered not to throw a baseball for another week-and-a-half. Carl Crawford and Roy Oswalt are both progressing — albeit slowly — in their rehab processes, while there’s been no word on David Wright’s back. Derek Jeter plans to make his return Monday against the Indians.
Those same Indians are hurting as bad as Jeter’s calf was a week ago. Here’s a look at their latest injury that derailed the Choo Choo.
Shin-Soo Choo (15 day DL – broken left thumb)
As if his season wasn’t going badly enough, Choo went down last week when he got smacked in the hand by a fastball from Giants lefty Jonathan Sanchez. Now, things keep getting worse for the South Korean outfielder.
The Indians were hoping to avoid getting surgery on his injured hand, but in form with everything else happening with the Tribe right now, that just didn’t work out. Choo went under hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham’s knife in Cleveland on Tuesday, and is now looking at a 2-3 month timetable for his return.
He joins a laundry list of Indians that have been banged up this year. Grady Sizemore, Matt LaPorta, Travis Hafner, Mitch Talbot, Alex White and Carlos Carrasco have all spent time on the DL, while Trevor Crowe hasn’t yet been able to make it on the field due to pre-season shoulder surgery.
So what’s the deal for Choo owners? Unless you’re in a deep league with nothing available on the wire, it’s likely safe to drop Choo. If he’s out for eight weeks, that’s a September return, which would help you in the playoffs but is the best-case scenario. The Indians may keep him out until the playoffs (if they make it), or if they’re out of contention sideline him for the year. Only if you have a free DL slot — and you consider Choo the most worthy of your injured players to use it up — should you keep him.
Let’s take a look at what you can do to replace his production. It’s probably too late to pick up the surging Ty Wigginton (60% owned), so if you don’t have access to a reliable fourth OF like Aubrey Huff (62% owned) or Jason Kubel (51% owned), you’ll have to head to the bottom of the wire.
- Corey Patterson (24% owned) – He’s burned a lot of owners in past years, but he appears safe to own this time around. He’s consistently in the Blue Jays lineup, hitting a not-as-bad-as-it-could-be .258/.291/.396, driving in runs and getting some steals. C-Patt’s not really “back,” but he’s not useless.
- Daniel Murphy (29% owned) – Murphy’s stock exploded after his four-RBI performance against the Tigers on Wednesday, with his ownership increasing by 10% overnight. Not many have noticed, but he’s been playing consistent ball all year, and is batting .302/.346/.426. Though he’s unlikely to break out a big streak, he won’t hurt your squad.
- Jonny Gomes (13% owned) – When Gomes is hitting fastballs well, the equation is simple. Just accept the .225 average and be glad you can find that kind of power at the bottom of the barrel.
Other mixed league options: Andres Torres (23% owned), Peter Bourjos (15% owned), Laynce Nix (12% owned), Garrett Jones (10% owned).
Deep league potshot: Chris Heisey (5% owned).
Kim writes for Business Insider's sports page and runs a sports business blog at Spizness.com while attending NYU as a graduate student in Business and Economic Reporting. Catch up with him at the Cafe as Kim Bhasin, and follow him on Twitter (@KimBhasin).
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