Projected Starters - A look at Sunday's matchups:
Twins (Brian Duensing - L) at Indians (David Huff - L), 1:05
Angels (Trevor Bell - R) at Tigers (Rick Porcello - R), 1:05
Rays (Andy Sonnanstine - R) at Blue Jays (Brandon Morrow - R), 1:07
Cardinals (Jeff Suppan - R) at Marlins (Sean West - L), 1:10
Rockies (Esmil Rogers - R) at Pirates (Paul Maholm - L), 1:35
Mets (R.A. Dickey - R) at Phillies (Roy Halladay - R), 1:35
Giants (Jonathan Sanchez - L) at Braves (Derek Lowe - R), 1:35
White Sox (Mark Buehrle - L) at Orioles (Jeremy Guthrie - R), 1:35
Astros (Wesley Wright - L) at Brewers (Yovani Gallardo - L), 2:10
Reds (Travis Wood - L) at Cubs (Thomas Diamond - R), 2:20
Rangers (Colby Lewis - R) at Athletics (Trevor Cahill - R), 4:05
Nationals (Jason Marquis - R) at Dodgers (Ted Lilly - L), 4:10
Padres (Mat Latos - R) at Diamondbacks (Joe Saunders - L), 4:10
Royals (Kyle Davies - R) at Mariners (Jason Vargas - L), 4:10
Red Sox (Josh Beckett - R) at Yankees (A.J. Burnett - R), 8:05
Day game after night game: COL, PIT, NYM, PHI, SF, ATL, STL, FLA, CHW, BAL, MIN, CLE, WAS, LAD, KC, SEA, LAA, DET, HOU, MIL, SD, ARI
Injuries - A brief look at players who have been missing time with minor ailments and their expected returns
Day-to-Day (includes players expected to make their return from the DL)
Mark Reynolds, 3B, ARI - (Head) Missed his second straight game on Friday, will undergo more tests on Saturday, and could return at any time.
Skip Schumaker, 2B, STL - (Wrist) Scratched from Friday's game due to ongoing wrist irritation. He received a cortisone shot on Wednesday but was not ready for Friday after Thursday's off day.
Rafael Furcal, SS, LAD - (Back) Played catch Friday, but he won't be able to return on Tuesday unless he's able to amp up his baseball activities over the next two days.
Ronald Belisario, RP, LAD - (Personal) Scheduled to make two more rehab appearances this weekend and could be activated on Tuesday.
Gaby Sanchez, 1B, FLA - (Hamstring) Sat out Friday and Saturday's games but was available to pinch-hit.
Cody Ross, OF, FLA - (Neck) Missed Saturday's game against the Cardinals, but the injury is not believed to be serious.
Edgar Renteria, SS, SF - (Biceps) Did not start in Saturday's game against the Braves.
Starlin Castro, SS, CHC - (Shoulder) Was hit in the shoulder by a pitch on Saturday and has a bruise on his left shoulder. He shouldn't, but could, miss Sunday's game.
Brandon Phillips, 2B, CIN - (Foot) Left Saturday's game after fouling a ball off his foot and may not play on Sunday.
Alex Rodriguez, 3B, NYY - (Leg) Sat out Saturday's game after being hit in the shin with a ball during practice. He could return as early as Sunday. X-rays were taken, and they came back negative.
Jeff Niemann, SP, TB - (Shoulder) Has been scratched from his Sunday start and will be replaced by Andy Sonnanstine.
Players on the DL
Jason Marquis, SP, WAS - (Elbow) Will make his first start since April on Sunday in his return from the DL.
Stephen Strasburg, SP, WAS - (Shoulder) We be held to 90 pitches in his return to the mound on Tuesday.
Kyle Lohse, SP, STL - (Forearm) Will make another rehab start before returning to the Cardinals.
Chase Utley, 2B, PHI - (Thumb) Is no longer wearing a splint on his sprained right thumb, has a follow-up exam scheduled for the coming week, and could return by the end of August.
David Freese, 3B, STL - (Ankle) Will miss the rest of the season after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his right ankle Thursday.
Manny Ramirez, OF, LAD - (Calf) Had his MRI pushed back from Friday to Saturday. He remains at least two-to-three weeks away from returning and is still in discomfort.
Russell Martin, C, LAD - (Hip) Multiple specialists have told the Dodgers to wait three weeks to see how his injury heals before considering having Martin undergo surgery.
Russ Springer, RP, CIN - (Hip) Placed on the 15-Day DL.
J.D. Martin, SP, WAS - (Back) Will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a bulging disc in his lower back. He should be ready for spring training.
Ian Kinsler, 2B, TEX - (Groin) He dismissed reports that his injury is more serious than reported, and he plans on returning on Aug. 12.
Matt Treanor, C, TEX - (Knee) Felt good after his Wednesday workout and is eligible to return next weekend. However, he'll probably be held out a few extra days.
Scott Kazmir, SP, LAA - (Shoulder) Returned to the mound on Saturday to face the Tigers.
Carlos Guillen, 2B, DET - (Calf) Eligible to return on Monday.
Andrew Bailey, RP, OAK - (Back) His doctors told him that his injury would take him four-to-six weeks to recover from. Bailey will try to get back quicker, but, if the doctors' prognosis is correct, we may not see him until mid-August or early September.
Andy Pettitte, SP, NYY - (Groin) Will throw another bullpen session on Monday and is still targeting a mid-August return.
Transactions - Players that have been demoted, called up, traded, released, you name it. We'll cover it here.
Placed on the DL (15-Day unless otherwise noted)
Russ Springer, RP, Reds (retroactive to Aug. 5)
Activated from the DL
Esmil Rogers, SP, Rockies
Ryan Doumit, C/OF, Pirates
Mike Adams, RP, Padres
Scott Kazmir, SP, Angels
Ruben Tejada, 2B, Mets
Carlos Fisher, RP, Reds
Fernando Martinez, OF, Mets
Brad Mills, SP, Blue Jays
Mike Minor, SP, Braves
Rich Thompson, RP, Angels
Alex Cora, 2B, Mets
Kenshin Kawakami, SP/RP, Braves
Jesus Feliciano, OF, Mets
Erik Kratz, C, Pirates
Ryan Webb, RP, Padres
Closer Watch - A closer look at intriguing ninth-inning situations (check out Dave Regan's Closer Grid with the link to the left)
Arizona - Despite manager Kirk Gibson's insistence on not naming an official closer for the Diamondbacks, Aaron Heilman continues to get the ball in closing situations. He's only owned in 12 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 10.1 percent of ESPN leagues. If you need saves, go grab him. Chad Qualls and Juan Gutierrez were the only other pitchers competing with Heilman for save opportunities out of the Arizona bullpen when Gibson said he would not name an exclusive closer. Since that time, Qualls has been traded to the Rays and Gutierrez has landed on the disabled list.
Atlanta - Billy Wagner blew his sixth save of the season on Friday after coming into the game with a one-run lead. Wagner started off the inning by hitting Aubrey Huff and putting the tying run on base. Alex Gonzalez and Chipper Jones then committed errors that allowed the Giants to tie the game. It was a team-wide implosion, but Wagner now has four blown saves since the beginning of July. We don't see manager Bobby Cox overreacting and giving anyone else the ball, but, with the mistakes mounting, this is a situation that is worth noticing.
Baltimore - Alfredo Simon pitched two innings in a tied game on Friday to earn the win over the White Sox. He's being given the ball in closing situations, but his role will be considered tenuous until the Orioles' new manager, Buck Showalter, declares a definitive closer for the team. Mike Gonzalez has pitched well since returning from the DL and is keeping his name ringing in Showalter's ears. This is a situation worth watching closely, but Simon currently has the leg up on saves.
Cleveland - Chris Perez blew his fourth save of the season on Friday but was able to walk away with the win thanks to a Matt LaPorta walk-off home run. Perez has a reputation of being inconsistent, but he hadn't blown a save opportunity since May 17. His job is currently very safe.
Houston - Matt Lindstrom looked like a nervous little leaguer against the Brewers on Friday. He walked two batters, gave up three hits, and allowed the Brewers to score for runs in the bottom of the ninth. Lindstrom was only able to record one out, but his grip on the closing role should remain strong going forward. Friday's blown save was his first since June 20.
Washington - Drew Storen was finally given the opportunity to save a game for the Nationals on Friday, and he capitalized on the opportunity. Sean Burnett picked up the Nationals' last save opportunity on Aug. 2, but Storen was unavailable to pitch that night after pitching 2.1 innings over the previous two days. Storen is the Nationals pitcher to own for saves.
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
Ronny Paulino v. Jeff Suppan - 5-for-11 (.455), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1:1 BB:K (.500 OBP)
Clint Barmes v. Paul Maholm - 11-for-19 (.579), 2 HR, 8 RBI, 1:1 BB:K (.600 OBP)
Dexter Fowler v. Paul Maholm - 7-for-13 (.538), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 1:1 BB:K (.571 OBP)
Denard Span v. David Huff - 6-for-15 (.400), 0 HR, 4 RBI, 3:2 BB:K (.500 OBP)
Delmon Young v. David Huff - 5-for-12 (.417), 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2:3 BB:K (.500 OBP)
Carlos Beltran v. Roy Halladay - 11-for-27 (.407), 1 HR, 7 RBI, 3:5 BB:K (.452 OBP)
Placido Polanco v. R.A. Dickey - 5-for-14 (.357), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1:0 BB:K (.400 OBP)
Lyle Overbay v. Andy Sonnanstine - 4-for-7 (.571), 0 HR, 4 RBI, 3:0 BB:K (.636 OBP)
Aaron Rowand v. Derek Lowe - 11-for-23 (.478), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 3:1 BB:K (.556 OBP)
Nick Markakis v. Mark Buehrle - 8-for-16 (.500), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2:2 BB:K (.556 OBP)
Corey Patterson v. Mark Buehrle - 6-for-14 (.429), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 0:1 BB:K (.429 OBP)
Michael Bourn v. Yovani Gallardo - 6-for-17 (.353), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2:7 BB:K (.421 OBP)
Franklin Gutierrez v. Kyle Davies - 8-for-16 (.500), 0 HR, 4 RBI, 3:4 BB:K (.579 OBP)
James Loney v. Jason Marquis - 7-for-12 (.583), 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1:1 BB:K (.615 OBP)
Marcus Thames v. Josh Beckett - 3-for-9 (.333), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1:3 BB:K (.400 OBP)
Jeremy Guthrie vs. Chicago White Sox - .177/.248/.344 through 105 batters faced
Jason Marquis vs. Los Angeles Dodgers - .226/.284/.317 through 217 batters faced
Ted Lilly vs. Washington Nationals - .202/.288/.349 through 146 batters faced
Chad Tracy v. Jeff Suppan - 5-for-21 (.238), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:3 BB:K (.273 OBP)
Mike Lamb v. Jeff Suppan - 3-for-19 (.158), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1:0 BB:K (.200 OBP)
Brad Hawpe v. Paul Maholm - 1-for-12 (.083), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:9 BB:K (.083 OBP)
Michael Cuddyer v. David Huff - 2-for-11 (.182), 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1:0 BB:K (.250 OBP)
John McDonald v. Andy Sonnanstine - 2-for-10 (.200), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:1 BB:K (.200 OBP)
Freddy Sanchez v. Derek Lowe - 2-for-15 (.133), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:3 BB:K (.133 OBP)
Ty Wigginton v. Mark Buehrle - 2-for-11 (.182), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:3 BB:K (.250 OBP)
Cesar Izturis v. Mark Buehrle - 2-for-10 (.200), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:1 BB:K (.200 OBP)
Alex Rios v. Jeremy Guthrie - 6-for-26 (.231), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1:2 BB:K (.259 OBP)
Paul Konerko v. Jeremy Guthrie - 3-for-17 (.176), 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2:1 BB:K (.263 OBP)
Alexei Ramirez v. Jeremy Guthrie - 0-for-9 (.000), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2:1 BB:K (.182 OBP)
Geoff Blum v. Yovani Gallardo - 3-for-14 (.214), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 0:2 BB:K (.200 OBP)
Jose Lopez v. Kyle Davies - 2-for-15 (.133), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2:1 BB:K (.235 OBP)
Jack Wilson v. Kyle Davies - 1-for-14 (.071), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:2 BB:K (.071 OBP)
Chone Figgins v. Kyle Davies - 0-for-9 (.000), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 3:3 BB:K (.250 OBP)
Brad Ausmus v. Jason Marquis - 6-for-34 (.176), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2:4 BB:K (.243 OBP)
Andre Ethier v. Jason Marquis - 1-for-17 (.059), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:1 BB:K (.111 OBP)
Matt Kemp v. Jason Marquis - 0-for-12 (.000), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:3 BB:K (.077 OBP)
Lance Berkman v. Josh Beckett - 3-for-18 (.167), 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1:7 BB:K (.211 OBP)
Curtis Granderson v. Josh Beckett - 3-for-16 (.188), 1 HR, 1 RBI, 0:8 BB:K (.188 OBP)
Mike Lowell v. A.J. Burnett - 4-for-20 (.200), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 3:4 BB:K (.304 OBP)
Bill Hall v. A.J. Burnett - 2-for-11 (.182), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1:5 BB:K (.308 OBP)
Paul Maholm vs. Colorado Rockies - .336/.380/.563 through 140 batters faced
David Huff vs. Minnesota Twins - .330/.415/.602 through 119 batters faced
Mike Minor, SP, ATL - Minor was called up by the Braves on Saturday to take the recently injured Kris Medlen's spot in the rotation. The 22-year-old southpaw is expected to be with the team for about four starts and then return to the minors. With that said, he's a short-term fantasy option, so only grab him if you have the roster flexibility. Kenshin Kawakami was sent to the minors to get his arm ready to take the rotation spot back from Minor after four starts. The Braves have a plan in place that makes this situation limited in the ways in which fantasy teams can capitalize on Minor's talents; however, lots of things can happen in four starts. Minor could find a way to stick around if the team isn't too protective of the number of innings he throws this season. Through five starts at Triple-A Gwinnett this season, Minor has a 4-1 record with a 1.99 ERA and a 35:10 K:BB ratio over 31.2 innings. In combined stats between Double-A and Triple-A this season, Minor has 144 strikeouts in 118.2 innings. If you need strikeouts and starting pitching, pick the young hurler up for the next couple weeks and hope he lives up to the hype.
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