News, Analysis & UpdatesApril 2, 2012

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The Deal: Rocky Relationship

By R.J. White

His first four pitches were called balls. His next three were strikes. The eighth pitch thrown by Ubaldo Jimenez almost changed fantasy seasons.

With Troy Tulowitzki at the plate, Jimenez threw inside — too far inside — and caught Tulowitzki on his left elbow. The benches cleared, and a brawl looked inevitable as Jimenez started coming towards Tulowitzki, but cooler heads prevailed.

The two have exchanged hurtful words through the media this spring, so neither should expect a Christmas card from the other moving forward. I’m going to pretend that they were roommates on the road when they were teammates and re-enacted scenes from Step Brothers every night. Jimenez is obviously the one filling pillowcases with bars of soap.

Thankfully for Tulo owners, X-rays have shown no break, and Tulowitzki shouldn’t miss much time, if any, at the start of the season. Jimenez seems likely to receive a suspension, but he seems even more likely to appeal it, so keep him in your lineups for now. Luckily for fantasy owners, the Rockies and Indians aren’t scheduled to play again this season.

Desmond Pushing the Right Buttons

Desmond Jennings had been dealing with the aftereffects of an outfield collision with B.J. Upton this spring, but he showed Sunday that he’s ready for the season. All he did was hit three homers in a game, becoming probably the first person ever to do so. He has plenty of fantasy upside as a players, but his auction and draft price in non-keeper formats generally made him a stay away for me. It would shock no one if he delivered a huge season and wound up as a top-20 player next spring.

Hart Broken?

We as fantasy owners had been prepared to be without Corey Hart at the beginning of the season as he rehabbed a knee injury, but after playing five straight days in minor-league competition (the team of course didn’t want him in their own games to preserve his 15-day DL backdate), he might be with the team sooner than we thought. Congrats to those who got him at a value in leagues where his injury scared people off. Expect an announcement from the team today on whether he’ll be out there on Opening Day.

Pineda Out

The early returns of the Michael Pineda-for-Jesus Montero swap are not good for New York. The talented young pitcher has been put on the DL with shoulder soreness after looking absolutely awful against the Phillies on Friday. He’s going to have to get his shoulder healthy, then attempt to find some of his missing MPH in the minors. The Yankees will have some interesting rotation decisions to make when Pineda and Andy Pettitte return to the majors.

NL Roster Decisions

Wilin Rosario, a top-five catching prospect, has made the Rockies roster as the second catcher. He’ll begin the year behind the ageless Ramon Hernandez, but since Hernandez isn’t an everyday catcher — he hasn’t topped 313 at-bats in any of the last three seasons — Rosario should get plenty of work. He’s had a hot spring, hitting .396 with three HRs in 48 at-bats, and he should be a consideration in two-catcher leagues right out of the gates. Speaking of ageless Rockies, Jamie Moyer has been named the No. 2 guy in the Rockie rotation. He’s obviously not fantasy relevant, but a No. 2 at 49 years old? Well done, sir, well done. Wade LeBlanc surprisingly didn’t make the Marlin rotation after his sick spring.

AL Roster Decisions

Prospect pitcher Liam Hendriks has made the Twins rotation out of the gate with Scott Baker on the DL. He’ll need to get some starts and pitch well to remain in Minnesota when Baker’s ready. Drew Smyly, another prospect, has won the No. 5 job for the Tigers. He should be on your radar, but I’m not saving a roster spot for him yet. Felix Doubront and Daniel Bard won spots in the Boston rotation, leaving Alfredo Aceves in the bullpen. I wouldn’t invest much in Bard as a starter. Jeanmar Gomez won the No. 5 job in Cleveland over Kevin Slowey, a former statnik sleeper. Mike Trout was sent to Triple-A, as expected. The ABs just aren’t there yet.

The Bottom of the 9th

Andrew Bailey is questionable for Opening Day with a thumb injury as of Monday morning. He should have the injury examined today, and we should know more by tomorrow morning. Speculators are already snapping up Mark Melancon, but Aceves could factor into the closer role as well if Bailey has to miss time.

R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe, writes for FanDuel and has previously written for FanHouse and Razzball. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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