Nick Blackburn - Kevin Slowey's trip to the DL gives Blackburn a chance at redemption, beginning right away on Monday at Texas. Though he had a 2.49 ERA at Triple-A Rochester, Blackburn struck out only 13 in 21.2 innings. That inability to miss bats has hurt him at the major league level, especially this year, when his strikeout rate dropped to a putrid 3.03 K/9IP. Even with the Rangers' lineup slimmed down due to injuries, Monday's start doesn't look too inviting. Still, there's a payoff - a second start, at Seattle, later in the week. Mixed: $0; AL: $2.
Ivan Nova - Nova will get a spot start on Monday against Toronto on the road, in order to give Philip Hughes a couple of extra days of rest and not push his innings max before they need him in the playoffs. As spot starters go, Nova isn't too bad. At Triple-A Scranton he had a 2.86 ERA and 115:48 K:BB in 145 innings, with only 10 homers allowed. That last stat might be the most important one, given the opponent. Nova could get 2-to-3 starts in September, especially if the Yankees lock away a playoff spot early enough. Mixed: No; AL: $1.
Andrew Bailey - One of the more frustrating good relievers in the AL to own this year, Bailey proved ready when returning from the DL on Sunday with an efficient 1-2-3 inning in a non-save situation (of course). Michael Wuertz was slowing down in the last couple of weeks, so Bailey will take back over the role right away. Mixed and AL: Whatever it takes if someone dropped him.
Jim Johnson - Johnson is about a week away from returning from a DL stint while rehabbing his elbow. Earlier in the season he was the replacement closer when Mike Gonzalez got hurt, but flopped on his own. Some of that can be pinned on former manager Dave Trembley, whose usage patterns can generously be described as perplexing. In particular, an outing on April 25 when Johnson was left in for a third stressful inning against the Red Sox seemed particularly damaging. Anyhow, don't look for Johnson to step into save situations right away, even with the O's basically holding an open competition for the closer's job right now. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Chris Sale - Matt Thornton's sore forearm could create more opportunities for Sale to pitch in high-leveraged situations. Moreover, the White Sox bullpen has been spread exceedingly thin due to the results of the weekend series against the Royals. After Friday's rainout after a truncated start, Tony Pena had to start and actually lasted a heroic seven innings. Bobby Jenks pitched three innings on Sunday. And all three games the last two days between the Royals and White Sox lasted extra innings. Sale has held his own at the big league level so far, posting a 1.42 ERA in 6.1 innings with a 8:4 K:BB. He's still a better keeper than a contemporaneous investment. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Anthony Slama - Slama is back with his second shot at the majors with the Twins. Given the spate of injuries that they've had in the bullpen, Slama should get plenty of opportunities to pitch, and chances are that he'll fare better this time around, given his minor league numbers. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Jordan Walden - Walden once was a highly-regarded starting pitching prospect, but after a series of forearm injuries the Angels converted him to relief work this year. He's been ok, not great in that role. He first posted a 3.35 ERA and 1.535 WHIP in 43 Double-A innings before making his last six outings for Triple-A Salt Lake. Mixed and AL: No.
Dustin Brown - Jarrod Saltalamacchia demonstrated that the Red Sox injury curse applies to new arrivals, too, going on the DL with a lower leg infection. Brown comes back for another stint as the backup catcher, but it might not last long, as Kevin Cash is already on his rehab assignment and is eligible to return on Thursday. Mixed and AL: No.
Eduardo Nunez - Nunez will split time with Ramiro Pena at third base while Alex Rodriguez is on the 15-day DL with his calf strain. He's not much of a power threat, but he did steal 23 bases at Triple-A Scranton. My guess is that Pena will play more than Nunez, and A-Rod will be back at or near the minimum 15 days. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Ramiro Pena - Pena will get most of the starts at third base while A-Rod is out, though he'll have a caddy in Eduardo Nunez. Pena's defense will give the starts, though, not his bat, as his .454 OPS attests. That sink on your batting average makes the token stolen bases not worth it. Mixed and AL: No.
Jed Lowrie - Dustin Pedroia's trip back to the DL might end his season, pending what the Red Sox do in the next couple of weeks. Lowrie will get more playing time at second base as a result, though he won't play every day. Remember, Lowrie missed significant time this season after coming down with a bout of mono, and then in this past week missed playing time due to heat exhaustion suffered on the Red Sox road trip to Texas. Yamaico Navarro will play whenever Lowrie is unable to go. Mixed: $2; AL: $6.
Yamaico Navarro - Navarro originally started as a shortstop in the Red Sox system but moved to third to make room for fellow prospect Jose Iglesias. Unfortunately, his bat still plays more like a middle infielder than a corner infielder. He was hitting .271/.355/.416 at Double-A Portland before a 16-game stint at Triple-A Pawtucket. He had 16 steals at Portland and two more at Pawtucket, so there's a chance that Navarro could chip in a couple of steals in September if Dustin Pedroia remains out. Navarro will occasionally spell Jed Lowrie at second base while Pedroia is out. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Matt Tolbert - Tolbert once played a big part in the Twins' third-base picture, but the play of Danny Valencia has pretty much eliminated the possibility of Tolbert starting there absent a couple of injuries. He's back to a utility role in the infield, and behind Alexi Casilla at that. Mixed and AL: No.
Travis Buck - Buck is back from the DL after a lengthy absence, with Chris Carter back in Sacramento and Conor Jackson back on the DL with what looks to be a season-ending injury for his sports hernia. Even the most sabermetrically-inclined have started to give up on Buck, who when he hasn't disappointed at the plate has done so by being on the DL. This might be his swan song with the A's, splitting time with Gabe Gross until they decide Carter is ready again. Mixed: No; AL: $1.
Darnell McDonald - With Mike Cameron shut down for the season and Jacoby Ellsbury nearly so, McDonald will get more playing time in the outfield in September, though the emergence of Ryan Kalish has cut down on those opportunities some. McDonald's lefty-righty split isn't too extreme (.824 OPS vs. LH, .743 OPS vs. RH), but most of his opportunities will come against lefties. Expect more of the same from McDonald - some power, some speed, but not an overabundance of either. Mixed: $0; AL; $5.
Jai Miller - Miller has strung together a couple of good but not great seasons at Triple-A in the Marlins' and Royals' systems the last two years, but hasn't really gotten a real chance from his respective parent organizations. He's probably not going to get it here with the Royals, but at least he'll draw a major league paycheck for the short-term. Unfortunately for Miller, he was once considered a toolsy prospect, but he hasn't run nearly as often over the last two seasons. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Daniel Nava - Nava got the call again when Eric Patterson went on the DL, but he's not getting the same amount of playing time that he had in his first tour of duty with the team. That's in part due to the emergence of Ryan Kalish, and also because Nava has cooled off from his earlier hot hitting at Triple-A Pawtucket. He'll probably stick on the major league roster for the remainder of the season, but even with Mike Cameron and probably Jacoby Ellsbury out for the year, he doesn't project to play regularly. Mixed: No; AL: $0.
Manny Ramirez - We're throwing this out as a mere speculative bid for those leagues that allow you to bid on opposite league players, just in case Manny gets thrown on waivers by the Dodgers this week as some have speculated that he might. Chances are either the White Sox or Rays would be willing to take on the remainder of his contract as a stretch run play. There's plenty of risk that he won't be able to stay healthy, but hey, if you can acquire him cheaply, why not take a shot? AL: $2.