Here's a look at some of the most noteworthy transactions in major league baseball over the past week:
THURSDAY, AUG. 19
Vicente Padilla to the 15-day DL
Padilla has landed on the disabled list for the second time this season, this time due to a bulging disc in his neck. He missed almost two months earlier this year due to a nerve problem in his right forearm, and is now expected to be out at least a couple of weeks, maybe more, due to his latest injury. Padilla had tried to pitch through the injury during his last two starts, but after giving up 12 earned runs in 9.1 innings during those starts, it became obvious that he needed some time off to heal. Reliever Carlos Monasterios will likely fill his spot in the rotation until his return. Monasterios has performed well for the Dodgers this season, going 3-3 with an ERA of 3.72 through Wednesday. He has done much better out of the pen than in his eight starts however, and with a strikeout rate of just 4.52 per 9 innings, heís probably not worth owning in most fantasy leagues.
Josh Willingham to the 15-day DL
The Nationalsí left fielder is officially done for the season after undergoing knee surgery on Wednesday. Willingham was on pace to set a new career high in on-base percentage with a .389 mark, and had hit 16 home runs and driven in 56 runs in 114 games. To fill the vacancy in their outfield, the Nats activated Nyjer Morgan from the 15-day DL. The speedster was hitting .261 with 29 steals, no home runs and just 20 RBI in 103 games as the regular center fielder before straining his hip flexor in early August. Obviously, he is only of value to fantasy teams in dire need of stolen bases. Heís also recently been suspended for seven days for throwing a baseball at a fan last weekend. He has appealed the suspension and will be allowed to play until the appeal process has been completed.
FRIDAY, AUG. 20
Dustin Pedroia to the 15-day DL
The Red Sox just canít seem to catch a break when it comes to injuries this season. Only two games after Pedroia made his return to the lineup after missing almost two months with a fractured foot, he found himself right back on the DL with foot soreness. He joins teammate Jacoby Ellsbury as the second Boston regular to suffer a fracture and be cleared by the teamís medical staff to return to duty, only to reaggravate the injury days later. With the team being decimated by injuries this season, itís not surprising that Boston may have been over-eager to get their star players back, but the end result still leaves them without the top two hitters in their lineup. Jed Lowrie is hitting .304 through Thursday and figures to get most of the playing time at second base in Pedroiaís absence. Infielder Yamaico Navarro was recalled from Pawtucket to back him up and to fill the vacant roster spot.
SATURDAY, AUG. 21
Manny Ramirez activated from the 15-day DL
Itís hard to get excited about Manny being activated from the DL these days, with him bouncing back and forth so often due to injuries. The 38-year-old left fielder can still hit, as evidenced by his .317 average, but his biggest problem has been his inability to stay healthy. His power numbers have also dropped off over the last couple seasons, as heís hit just 27 home runs in 165 games since the start of the 2009 season. The latest news on Manny is that he was placed on waivers by the Dodgers, who are discussing a possible trade with the Chicago White Sox. Teams have until Friday to place a waiver claim on Ramirez and until Tuesday to work out a trade. The Dodgers have recently-acquired veteran Scott Podsednik to cover left field in the event that Manny leaves town, and it does appear that the injury-prone Manny would be better suited to DH duties at this point in his career.
Alex Rodriguez to the 15-day DL
A-Rodís batting average and power numbers were well below his career norms at the time that he landed on the DL due to a sprained left calf on Saturday. The star third baseman was hitting just .265 with 21 home runs, yet he still managed to drive in 97 runs in just 112 games played. With the Yankees having played 122 games at the time, it put him on pace to finish the season with 129 RBI. The injury is not serious, so he should be back in just over two weeks. In the mean time, the Yankees will hand the third base duties over to 23-year-old rookie Eduardo Nunez and 25-year-old Ramiro Pena. Neither player is worth a look in most fantasy league formats.
Ryan Howard activated from the 15-day DL
The Phillies were without their star slugger for almost three weeks after he sprained his left ankle, yet they still managed to go 12-4 in his absence. With Philadelphia right in the midst of the NL Wild Card race and still within reach of the lead in the NL East, his return to the lineup gives them a good chance of making the postseason. All Howard has done in his previous four seasons with the team was average 50 home runs and 143 RBI a season, so he is certainly among the fantasy baseball elite. In spite of his missed time due to the injury, he should still easily top the 100 RBI mark for his fifth year in a row. Recently acquired veteran Mike Sweeney received most of the playing time at first base while Howard was out and will likely be relegated to pinch-hitting duties from here on.
SUNDAY, AUG. 22
Andrew Bailey activated from the 15-day DL
Bailey was one of the biggest surprises of last season, as he came out of nowhere to earn the Aís closing job and save 26 games with an ERA of 1.84. His success continued this year before he landed on the DL and missed a month with a right intercostal strain. At the time, he had 20 saves and a stellar ERA of 1.52. Although his strikeouts have dropped considerably since last year, heís obviously the real deal and will likely be a dominant closer for years to come. Michael Wuertz handled the closing duties in Baileyís absence, and has converted all seven of his save opportunities this season despite an ERA of 4.91. Heíll return to a middle relief role.
MONDAY, AUG. 23
Geovany Soto to the 15-day DL
The Cubsí catcher was putting up some pretty decent numbers when he was shut down for a couple of weeks due to a sprained ligament in his right shoulder. Soto was hitting .288 with 15 home runs, 45 RBI and an impressive on-base percentage of .401 when he landed on the DL on August 10. His return comes as a relief to Cubs fans who had to endure a couple of weeks of watching Koyie Hill attempt to hit Major League pitching. Hill went 11 for 52 (.212) with no home runs and five RBI in Sotoís absence and will return to his backup role. Welington Castillo served as Hillís backup while Soto was out, and was optioned back down to Iowa to make room for Soto.
TUESDAY, AUG. 24
Stephen Strasburg to the 15-day DL
The Nationalsí rookie phenom is likely done for the season after suffering a strained flexor tendon. There is also a possibility that he may have torn the tendon, which could result in him requiring Tommy John surgery and missing a year, or possibly longer. The 22-year-old right-hander has been dominant this season when healthy, posting a 5-3 record to go along with a 2.91 ERA and a whopping 92 strikeouts in 68 innings. He missed a few weeks earlier this year due to shoulder inflammation, and there are serious concerns about how his latest injury will affect his future. Jordan Zimmermann will likely be recalled from Syracuse to fill the vacant rotation spot. The 24-year-old Zimmermann was 3-5 last year with an ERA of 4.63 in 16 starts and has a ton of upside.
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 25
Jeff Niemann activated from the 15-day DL
For the second consecutive day, the Rays got a member of their starting rotation back from injury. One day after Wade Davis returned after missing a couple of weeks due to soreness in his pitching shoulder, Jeff Niemann made his return from the same condition. Of the two, Niemann has been the better pitcher and the better fantasy option this year, going 10-3 with a 3.12 ERA and 102 strikeouts before going down with the injury. However, he got lit up in his first start back, giving up 10 runs and lasting less than four innings against the Angels. Despite his poor performance on Wednesday, he should still be a safe pick in most fantasy leagues. Jeremy Hellickson and Andy Sonnanstine filled the vacant rotation spots while Davis and Niemann were out. Hellickson was optioned back down to Charlotte on August 21, and Sonnanstine has returned to a relief role.