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Transaction Analysis: Notable Moves this Week

A highly-touted rookie made his major league debut this week, but aside from that, it was a fairly slow week in terms of notable transactions. Here are some of the highlights:

FRIDAY, JUNE 4

Luis Castillo to the 15-day DL

Castillo was playing with a bruised left foot since May 8, and the Mets finally opted to give him some time off to properly recover. Prior to this year, Castillo could usually be counted on for an average of .290 or better, but this year he managed to hit just .241 before being placed on the DL. The veteran second baseman has hit just 14 home runs over his last six full seasons, but usually produces a decent number of stolen bases and runs scored. Alex Cora and Ruben Tejada (who was called up to fill Castillo's roster spot) will fill in at second base. Through Thursday, Cora is hitting just .205, while Tejada went 1 for 6 in his few games with the club at the start of the season.

Brett Anderson to the 15-day DL

Anderson made just two starts after returning from the DL on May 29, only to find himself once again back on the shelf due to inflammation in his left elbow. There were fears that Anderson may have torn a tendon or ligament, but an MRI on Friday revealed nothing more than a case of tendinitis, which is good news. A timetable for his return won't be set until he starts throwing, which won't happen until he's pain-free. 23-year old Vin Mazzaro will occupy Anderson's spot in the rotation for the time being. Through Thursday, Mazzaro is 1-0 with a 6.08 ERA in four appearances and is likely to have little fantasy value until he proves capable of getting major League hitters out.

Jason Bartlett to the 15-day DL

Bartlett strained his right hamstring on May 29 and was originally listed as day-to-day. However, a few days of rest did not make his hamstring any better, so the Rays opted to place him on the disabled list on Friday. After an impressive 2009 season that saw him rank among the league leaders in batting average at .320, Bartlett never really got it going during the first two months of this season. The Rays leadoff hitter and shortstop was hitting just .231 (42 for 182) with one home run and 22 RBIs when he suffered the injury. Reid Brignac will cover short while Bartlett is out, with Sean Rodriguez getting extra playing time at second base. Through Thursday, Brignac is hitting .299 (35 for 117), while Rodriguez is at .239 (22 for 92). Bartlett's injury allowed the Rays to activate catcher Kelly Shoppach from the DL. The Rays are now carrying three catchers on the roster, and have been rotating them in and out of the designated hitter spot in the lineup, allowing all three to get playing time.

SATURDAY, JUNE 5

Jon Niese activated from the 15-day DL

Niese was nothing spectacular to start this year, going 1-2 with a 4.79 ERA as the Mets number three starter before aggravating a hamstring injury that he had suffered last year. Niese tore his hamstring tendon last August, and experienced soreness in the same area during his start on May 16. After a couple of weeks of recovery time, Niese returned on Saturday and went seven innings against the Marlins. He looked sharp, giving up just one run and striking out six batters, and could be worth a look going forward. The struggling Oliver Perez (6.28 ERA), who had already lost his starting spot, was placed on the disabled list with tendinitis in his left knee, allowing for Niese's return. MLB requested Perez's medical records from the Mets due to the convenient timing of his injury, but had no problems with his DL assignment.

SUNDAY, JUNE 6

Doug Fister to the 15-day DL

Fister was having quite a successful run before he landed on the DL with shoulder fatigue. The right-handed starter first broke into the majors last year and went 3-4 with a decent 4.13 ERA, and followed it up by starting this year 3-3 with a 2.46 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. His record could have been better, and his strikeout rate of 4.13 per nine innings is nothing to get excited about, but he managed to keep his team in most games that he pitched. He likely won't be out too long, and the M's called up lefty Luke French to take his spot on the roster. French was 4-5 with a 5.21 ERA and 1.71 WHIP last year between Detroit and Seattle and should be used in relief. Ryan Rowland-Smith comes out of the bullpen to start in Fister's place. Rowland-Smith is 0-4 with a 6.65 ERA through Saturday.

MONDAY, JUNE 7

Mike Sweeney to the 15-day DL

Sweeney took over Seattle's designated hitter job from the now-retired Ken Griffey Jr. in mid-May and became the club's top home run hitter with six bombs in just 89 at-bats. However, the team's already woeful offense took a hit when Sweeney landed on the DL on Monday due to low-back pain. Sweeney hadn't played since June 2, and has struggled with injuries in recent years. In his absence, Milton Bradley moves from left field to DH, and Michael Saunders gets to man left field on a regular basis. Both players have struggled offensively so far. To fill the vacant spot on the roster, Seattle called up young first baseman Mike Carp. Carp batted .315 (17 for 54) in his major league debut season last year, and will likely get limited playing time backing up slick-fielding Casey Kotchman.

TUESDAY, JUNE 8

Orlando Hudson to the 15-day DL

Year after year, Hudson produces predictably solid results. He's never been a big power or stolen base threat, but what he does bring to the table is a good batting average. Hudson has batted over .280 every year from 2006 to present, and was on pace this year to shatter his season-high run total of 87 set in 2006. However, a wrist injury sustained during a collision with teammate Denard Span has kept him out of the lineup since May 30 and he will now be out until June 15 at the earliest. Matt Tolbert has taken over the second base job for the time being, but has been unproductive, batting .143 (3 for 21) through Monday. The Twins also have Brendan Harris and Danny Valencia on hand to back up in the infield if Tolbert can't handle the job. However, Valencia has been manning third base while Nick Punto fills in at short for J.J. Hardy who is battling an injury of his own. In a corresponding roster move, the Twins also reinstated Michael Cuddyer from the bereavement list on Tuesday.

Stephen Strasburg promoted

Strasburg made his much-anticipated major league debut on Tuesday against the Pirates, and what a debut it was. The 21-year old rookie went seven strong innings, giving up just two runs on four hits and no walks to go along with a whopping 14 strikeouts. What was most impressive was the fact that he needed just 94 pitches, making him the first pitcher ever to log that many strikeouts in so few pitches. It should be interesting to see how this highly-touted prospect and his 98-mile-per-hour fastball fare against tougher competition. Strasburg takes the rotation spot of Craig Stammen, who was demoted on Sunday, and veteran catcher Jamie Burke was designated for assignment to make room for Strasburg on the roster. The career .277 hitter got into one game with the Nationals and caught one inning, but didn't get a plate appearance.

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9

Aramis Ramirez to the 15-day DL

The usually solid Ramirez, who drove in over 100 runs six times in his last nine seasons coming into this year, had done absolutely nothing with the bat through the first two months of the 2010 season. Ramirez began this year by hitting just .168 (30 for 179) with only five home runs and 22 RBIs in 47 games. Ramirez had been playing through soreness in his left thumb for a couple of weeks, and the Cubs finally decided to place him on the DL on Wednesday. The Cubs called up veteran corner infielder Chad Tracy to help fill the void at third base. Tracy was hitting .273 (6 for 22) with just two RBIs in his stint with the club at the start of the season and has seen his productivity decline drastically over the last few years. Jeff Baker and Mike Fontenot could also see some time at the hot corner in Ramirez's absence. Through Tuesday, Baker is hitting .213 (16 for 75), while Fontenot is at .300 (36 for 120).

Jesse Litsch activated from the 15-day DL

Coming into the 2009 season, Litsch was one of Toronto's most promising young hurlers. In his previous two seasons (his first two in the majors), Litsch was 20-18 and had an impressive ERA of 3.67 during that time frame. After just two starts last year, he blew out his elbow, and has been out ever since. It was a long road to recovery for Litsch, who had Tommy John surgery last June, but he finally rejoined the team on Wednesday. He's had difficulty handling hitters in Triple-A, so he should probably be avoided for the time being, but he may be worth a look later this year if all goes well. Lefty reliever Rommie Lewis was demoted to allow for Litsch's return. Lewis had an ERA of 4.91 in 13 appearances. Brian Tallet will now move back to a relief role, which he's better suited for. Tallet is 1-2 with a 5.60 ERA in five starts.

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