It has been a week of good news for the unlucky owners of injured superstars. Evan Longoria’s rehab for his oblique seems to be going as planned, and the Rays 3B is already running and doing rotational exercises. Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel flashed a better-than-nothing statement to the media, describing Chase Utley’s knee enigma as “slowly getting better.” Even better news for Utley owners is that he’s been cleared to start a running program and has started light jogging. Hanley Ramirez prompted some heart murmurs when he collided with the Astros’ Bill Hall at second base, but it looked far worse than it was and the Marlins SS was back out on the field in days.
But for every positive snippet about the guys on the mend, we’ve had to swallow a fat negative one about others. For those that had to reach for the Pepto Bismol after Texas Rangers third base coach Dave Anderson sent his reigning AL MVP home from third on that ill-fated play, here’s what you can do to calm the nausea:
Josh Hamilton – (15-day DL – fractured humerus)
Hamilton spewed rants blaming his third base coach in the wake of the awkward play that landed him on the DL, but later apologized and accepted responsibility for the injury. Whether or not Anderson made a bad baseball decision, Hamilton wouldn’t have cracked that shoulder if he just slid feet first. But ignore the drama. Lets get to it: how long is Hammy going to be out for?
Reports following the MRI project 6-8 weeks of downtime for Hamilton, so we’re in this for the long haul. If you drafted Hammy, you’ve likely prepared for the worst at OF with his delightful injury history, but if you haven’t, this knock doesn’t have to ruin your roto season. David Murphy is replacing Hamilton in the lineup, and he’s had a solid couple weeks to open the season. He’s certainly worth a look if he’s still available, but he’s been snatched up in 38% of leagues. If you can’t plug in Murphy, check for these guys with the hopes that they can give you two full months of serviceable stats:
- Josh Willingham (21% owned) – The ever-consistent Willingham continues to be reliable after his latest move to Oakland. He’s put up respectable power numbers to start the year, with three HRs and seven RBIs in the early going. Expect him to continue to produce as long as he’s batting cleanup in the A’s (albeit weak) lineup.
- Johnny Damon (11% owned) – With Manny “at ease” and off in Spain, Damon’s free to DH. Which is good news for him, since Sam Fuld’s meteoric rise to cult-superhero status would have yanked some of Damon’s playing time out in left field anyway. The old vet has actually started hitting as well, mashing three HRs and nine RBIs in his last six games, including a 10th inning game-winning dinger on Thursday against the Twins. Damon has played more than 140 games every single season since 1996, so it’s safe to be confident that the 37-year old will stay in the lineup.
- Cameron Maybin (18% owned) – Maybin’s still got some of that upside people were talking about years ago, and while he’s not a sort of post-hype sleeper, he can still contribute to a fantasy team in need. But there’s always that big limiter in San Diego: PETCO Park. Maybin’s guaranteed to play almost every day, but don’t bother if your league counts Ks.
Other mixed league options: Hideki Matsui (14% owned), Matt LaPorta (12% owned), Chris Coghlan (12% owned), Brennan Boesch (23% owned)
Deep league potshot: Chris Heisey (1% owned)
Joe Mauer – (15-day DL – bilateral leg weakness)
LaVelle E. Neal of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune tweeted the terrible little tidbit that the Twins catcher will be hitting the DL shortly after their 10th inning loss to the Rays Thursday. The Twinkies have stayed fairly quiet about his condition thus far, but Drew Silva over at Hardball Talk noted that the bilateral leg weakness can be related to nerve or spinal cord issues, which could be potentially serious.
But for now, it’s still all speculation. Mauer will be heading to see a specialist Friday so we’ll know more after he’s examined, but we do know that he’s going to be having some guaranteed downtime. The Twins don’t have a viable replacement for Mauer behind the plate, at least for your fantasy squad. Drew Butera will likely be the new regular behind the plate, and they’ve called up career minor leaguer Steve Holm, neither of which are worth a roster spot in any format. Head over to the wire and grab one of these guys until we know more about Mauer’s status:
- Nick Hundley (25% owned) – Hundley’s been ripping the ball too hard to ignore. He’s hitting .406/.487/.719 with two HRs and eight RBIs, and while it’s certain not to last, ride the wave while the surf’s still lively. At worst, Hundley’s getting all the playing time behind the plate in San Diego, so no worries there.
- Alex Avila (23% owned) – Avila’s been a popular pickup lately with the Tigers, showing that Victor Martinez would be DHing most of the time. But Avila’s still unowned in three of every four leagues, so it’s not too late to chase down and climb into that bandwagon.
- A.J. Pierzynski (15% owned) – Hate him or… hate him, he’s the next best option down at the depths of the catcher position. Chris Iannetta hasn’t been getting as many opportunities as he’d like in Colorado, and Ryan Doumit has the impending return of Chris Snyder to worry about shortly in Pittsburgh.
Other mixed league options: Ryan Doumit (17% owned), Yadier Molina (17% owned), Miguel Olivo (9% owned),
Deep league potshot: Rod Barajas (4% 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).
Want to write for the Cafe? Check out the Cafe's Pencil & Paper section!