Projected Starters - A look at Thursday's matchups:
Brewers (Dave Bush R) at Braves (Jair Jurrjens R), 7:10 ET
Rangers (Tommy Hunter R) at Red Sox (Tim Wakefield R), 7:10 ET
Phillies (Jamie Moyer L) at Cubs (Ryan Dempster R), 8:05 ET
White Sox (John Danks L) at Twins (Kevin Slowey R), 8:10 ET
Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw L) at Cardinals (Chris Carpenter R), 8:15 ET
Mariners (Doug Fister R) at Angels (Joel Pineiro R), 10:05 ET
Mets (R.A. Dickey R) at Giants (Tim Lincecum R), 10:15 ET
Day Game After Night Game: None
Injuries - A brief look at players that have been missing time with minor ailments and their expected returns.
Day-to-Day (includes players expected to make their return from the DL)
Carl Crawford, OF, TAM (shoulder) Limited to DH duties pre-break, but started the All-Star Game in left field, so should be good to go
Carlos Beltran, OF, NYM (knee) Returning to lineup Thursday, finally
Jeff Niemann, SP, TAM (back) Left Sundays start with back tightness; seems minor
Adrian Beltre, 3B, BOS (hamstring) Will have an MRI Thursday; probably not serious
Scott Baker, SP, MIN (elbow) Said cortisone shot has helped; still on track to start Monday
Cesar Izturis, SS, LAA (forearm) Resumed batting practice Wednesday
Felix Pie, OF, BAL (quad) Expected to rejoin lineup Thursday
Players on the DL
Shin-Soo Choo, OF, CLE (thumb) Could return by end of July
Brett Anderson, SP, OAK (elbow) Rehab start postponed due to blister; no big deal
Clay Buchholz, SP, BOS (hamstring) Will make one rehab start Thursday before returning to rotation
Victor Martinez, C, BOS (thumb) Not much improvement yet
Dustin Pedroia, 2B, BOS (foot) Will have CT scan Friday that may allow him to get out of the boot and crutches
Brian Roberts, 2B, BAL (back) 5-for-6 in two low-level rehab games; targeting August 1
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS, CLE (forearm) Has begun rehab assignment
Shaun Marcum, SP, TOR (elbow) Will throw another bullpen Thursday before Jays make a plan for his return
Josh Beckett, SP, BOS (back) Will make second rehab start Saturday, then expected to return to the rotation
Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, BOS (ribs) May finally be nearing a rehab assignment
Dallas Braden, SP, OAK (elbow) Rehab start Thursday, aiming for July 20 return
Conor Jackson, OF, OAK (hamstring) In Arizona for workouts; will begin short rehab assignment when ready
Manny Delcarmen, RP, BOS (forearm) Will make a rehab appearance Thursday, then likely return to the team this weekend
Jeremy Hermida, OF, BOS (ribs) Will start rehab assignment Thursday
Jed Lowrie, SS, BOS (illness) Will continue rehab at Triple-A starting Thursday
Mike Lowell, 3B, BOS (hip) Will rejoin team Thursday; no plan yet
Transactions - Players that have been demoted, called up, traded, released, you name it. We'll cover it here.
John Ely, SP, LAD
Jason Jaramillo, C, PIT
Justin Thomas, RP, PIT
Jeffrey Marquez, RP, CHW
Jon Link, RP, LAD
Yunel Escobar, SS, TOR
Jo-Jo Reyes, RP, TOR
Alex Gonzalez, SS, ATL
Closer Watch - A closer look at intriguing ninth-inning situations (check out Dave Regan's Closer Grid with the link to the left).
Cleveland Kerry Wood came into a tied game in the 10th inning Sunday apparently in a hurry to each the All-Star break, as he recorded just one out while allowing the game-winning run to score. Wood now has four losses and three blown saves to go with one win and eight saves. His name has been thrown around in trade rumors, but who wants a pitcher whos been so bad? Chris Perez is still on deck; hes been hard to hit over the last two months (16 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 8 BB, 12K).
Pittsburgh Octavio Dotel blew his fifth save Sunday and took the loss to Milwaukee. Hell likely remain in the closers role for the time being, but hes a candidate to be traded as well, in which case All-Star Evan Meek seems first in line to get the few save chances in Pittsburgh.
Key Matchups - Spotlight on hitters and pitchers with favorable matchups against their opponent on a particular day (generally, individual matchups with fewer than 10 at-bats are not included). *Check Status
Vladimir Guerrero v. Tim Wakefield 9-for-21 (.429), 5 HR, 8 RBI, 9:3 BB:K, .600 OBP No surprise that bad-ball hitter Vladdy likes the knuckler
Bengie Molina v. Tim Wakefield 7-for-20 (.350), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 0:1 BB:K, .409 OBP
Derrek Lee v. Jamie Moyer 5-for-11 (.455), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1:3 BB:K, .500 OBP
Justin Morneau* v. John Danks -- 8-for-26 (.308), 3 HR, 9 RBI, 9:7 BB:K, .486 OBP
Joe Mauer v. John Danks 10-for-29 (.345), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 4:5 BB:K, .424 OBP
Michael Cuddyer v. John Danks 16-for-30 (.533), 5 HR, 11 RBI, 2:4 BB:K, .563 OBP
Matt Holliday v. Clayton Kershaw 4-for-10 (.400), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 4:2 BB:K, .571 OBP
Jamey Carroll v. Chris Carpenter -- 6-for-16 (.375), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2:2 BB:K, .444 OBP
Josh Bard v. Joel Pineiro 5-for-12 (.417), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2:0 BB:K, .500 OBP
Jack Wilson v. Joel Pineiro 7-for-12 (.583), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:0 BB:K, .583 OBP
Chris Carpenter v. Dodgers Carpenter hasnt been himself lately, having been stuck with four or more earned runs in three of his last five starts, but he gets a user-friendly opponent in the Manny-less Dodgers, who have a pitiful-looking combined .241/.282/.315 line against him. He fired seven shutout against Los Angeles earlier this year, so look for him to get back on the horse this time out.
Ian Kinsler v. Tim Wakefield 2-for-13 (.154), 1 HR, 1 RBI, 0:3 BB:K, .154 OBP
Aramis Ramirez v. Jamie Moyer 1-for-11 (.091), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 4:2 BB:K, .333 OBP
Brian Schneider v. Ryan Dempster 2-for-12 (.167), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2:3 BB:K, .286 OBP
Nick Punto v. John Danks 2-for-21 (.095), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2:1 BB:K, .174 OBP
Andre Ethier v. Chris Carpenter 2-for-11 (.182), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:1 BB:K, .182 OBP
Chone Figgins v. Joel Piniero 3-for-22 (.136), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1:2 BB:K, .167 OBP
Jeff Francoeur v. Tim Lincecum 2-for-13 (.154), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1:4 BB:K, .214 OBP Most likely wont start
Tim Wakefield v. Rangers Wakefield hasnt faced a lot of these Rangers, but hes been absolutely crushed by them when he has, allowing nine homers in 105 at-bats. Granted, five of those come from Vlad Guerrero, but this hard-hitting Texas lineup is hardly the sort of team you want to start Wake against. The fact that the game is in Boston rather than Arlington is a small consolation.
John Danks v. Twins When you see the Twins three best hitters filed under hot and only Nick Punto under cold, it should give you a pretty good idea of what to expect from Danks on Thursday. Minnesota hitters have a combined .315/.398/.576 line against him. Fortunately for Danks, Morneau may not play though hed probably rather see Cuddyer out of the lineup. The bright side: Danks has had a fine season, including two solid outings (7 IP, 3 ER; 6.1 IP, 1 ER) against the Twins already this year. Dont automatically bench him, but evaluate the risk-reward of starting him in a short week in head-to-head leagues.
Daniel Hudson, SP, White Sox The 23-year-old Hudson struggled Sunday in his first start since replacing Jake Peavy in the rotation, but has been very effective in Triple-A (11-4, 3.47 ERA, 108 Ks in 93.1 innings) and had a decent cup of coffee last year, posting a 3.38 ERA over 18.2 innings. His career minor league numbers 2.90 ERA, 10.6 K/9 show impressive potential, so if he makes a good impression, he could stick in the rotation for good. Shallow leaguers might want to exercise caution due to his youth and unfavorable home park, but Hudson is worth taking a flier on.