StrategyMay 6, 2011

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Roto Medic: A Sad Panda

By Kim Bhasin

He’s back!  Evan Longoria stepped back on to the field Tuesday, smacking two hits in his first eight trips to the plate to go along with two walks. Victor Martinez is back in action as well, although he slotted in as a DH in his return.  He started Thursday’s game behind the plate though, so it appears that things are back to normal in Detroit.  Josh Hamilton’s hitting off a tee a week ahead of schedule, and Joe Mauer’s started taking swings again in the batting cage.

Meanwhile, Kendrys Morales and Chase Utley still linger on the DL, with no definitive end in sight.  And as for Phil Hughes, well, yikes.  GM Brian Cashman came out and set a 6-8 week timeline for Hughes, but the Yanks still don’t know why his velocity remains diminished.

Now, let’s talk about a chubby Panda with a cracked hamate.

Pablo Sandoval – (15-day DL – fractured right hand)

What’s more depressing than seeing a downtrodden, broken, dejected panda bear?  Nothing, except maybe an emo Juan Uribe.  Fortunately Sandoval isn’t a real panda, but that won’t do much to console his owners.  Panda was doing alright, batting .313/.374/.530 with five HRs and just 14 RBIs before he broke the hamate bone in his hand/wrist.

The biggest concern is that a broken hamate can be a significant power sapper, so the Giants would be wise not to rush Panda back on to the field. This drains the 3B position even further, but his hot corner brethren are bolstered by Longo’s return.

He went under the knife on Tuesday for what they’re calling routine procedure and he’s scheduled back in 4-7 weeks.  Sandoval is eligible at 1B and 3B in most leagues, and since the other player on the docket today overlaps, we’ll talk about him first before making some suggestions.

Ryan Zimmerman – (15-day DL – torn rectus abdominus)

Zimmerman got hurt a month ago, straining an already strained abdominal muscle sliding headfirst into second. Well, it turns out he tore his rectus abdominus (whatever that is) and had surgery to repair the problem.  He should miss about six weeks more if all goes as planned.

The good news is that Zimmerman confirmed that this has nothing to do with the strained oblique that sidelined him last year, but it’s still always scary when you tear something as important-sounding as a rectus abdominus.

The 3B position has been annihilated.  Injuries to Scott Rolen, Casey Blake, David Freese, Willie Bloomquist and Ty Wigginton have eliminated whatever depth remained.  That has left names like Alberto Callaspo (23% owned) and, gulp, Wilson Betemit (22% owned) to fill spots on people’s fantasy rosters.

We’re piling everyone in to a big clump this week, so let’s take a look at both of the corner infield positions:

  • Eric Hosmer (1B) (13% owned) – He’ll be owned far more than the figure cited by the time you read this.  The much-hyped Royals prospect was called up Thursday.  Whatever he can do to help the Royals, it’ll be better than what Kila Ka’aihue has produced in the opening month and a half.  If you haven’t already missed the feeding frenzy, join in on the fun.
  • Matt LaPorta (1B, LF) (17% owned) – LaPorta was a popular 1B sleeper in the Spring but fell out of favor after a slow start.  He has finally shown signs of life lately, batting .294/.306/.559 in the past two weeks with two HRs and six RBIs.  He’s worth a look at if you were starting Panda at 1B.
  • Jack Hannahan (3B) (15% owned) – Hannahan has been quietly producing in Cleveland, but not quiet enough to be completely ignored in fantasy circles.  The already-weak 3B position has been gutted further by these injuries, leaving the barrel particularly bare.  Hopefully your league’s Longoria owner dropped whoever his stop-gap was, because the under 30% crowd isn’t going to cut it.
  • Ian Stewart (3B) (26% owned) – After a horrific start to the season earned him a trip to the farm, Stewart’s finally gotten the call back to the bigs.  He’s got the highest upside out of any of the lesser-owned 3Bs available.  As always with Stewart, you’ll have to eat the Ks.

Other mixed league options: Freddie Freeman (1B) (26% owned), Mitch Moreland (1B) (25% owned), Jonathan Herrera (3B) (21% owned), Chase Headley (3B) (16% owned).

Deep league potshots: Casey Kotchman (1B) (1% owned), Greg Dobbs (3B) (1% owned).

Kim writes for Business Insider's sports page and runs a sports business blog at 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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