With rosters expanding, there has been a flurry of activity in the Major Leagues. In addition to calling up some promising rookies, teams also activated some of their injured stars. Here's a look at some of the top transactions of the past week.
FRIDAY, SEPT. 3
Orlando Cabrera activated from the 15-day DL
Cabrera made his return from a month-long stint on the disabled list on Friday night. The 35-year-old shortstop strained a muscle in his left side and had been out since August 3. Cabrera has made his living more on his defensive abilities than his bat, as he has averaged just eight home runs a season over his last five campaigns. He has however also managed to hit over .280 in each of the last four years, while scoring over 90 runs in three of those seasons. His average and runs scored both tailed off this season, as he was hitting just .260 with 51 runs in 102 games at the time of his DL assignment. He will resume his duties as the Reds’ primary shortstop, sending Paul Janish back to a reserve role. Janish is hitting .265 with four home runs and 20 RBI through Thursday.
Aaron Cook activated from the 15-day DL
The Rockies’ sinkerball specialist has been having a very forgettable season by his standards. Coming into this year, Cook had reeled off six consecutive seasons with an ERA below 4.30, all while pitching in a Rockies uniform. That is no small feat, considering that Coors Field has been one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in baseball since its inception. Cook’s numbers this year were much less impressive, as he held a 5-8 mark and a 5.34 ERA when he went down August 5 with a right toe injury. After missing a month with the injury, he returned to find himself battling against Esmil Rogers to keep his rotation spot. That was before Wednesday night, when Cook broke his leg when he was hit by a Joey Votto line drive. Manager Jim Tracy has stated that he believes there may be a chance that Cook may return this season, but Rogers should inherit the starting job in the mean time. He is 2-2 with an ERA of 5.37 through Thursday, and has done much better out of the bullpen than in the rotation. Obviously, he should be avoided in almost all fantasy league formats.
Brian Bannister activated from the 15-day DL
Luke Hochevar activated from the 60-day DL
The Royals got two starting pitchers back when both Bannister and Hochevar were activated from the DL on Friday. Bannister was 7-11 with an ERA of 5.95 before he missed a month with tendinitis in his right rotator cuff. Hochevar missed almost three months due to a sprained right elbow, and was 5-4 with a 4.96 ERA at the time of the injury. Kansas City will be easing both pitchers back, as they used both pitchers for several innings on September 7. Neither pitcher fared well in their first game back, as they gave up a combined ten earned runs in 5.2 innings against the Twins. Even before their injuries, neither pitcher could be considered a fantasy asset and that has obviously not changed. Bryan Bullington is the odd man out of the Royals rotation. He is 1-4 with a 6.11 ERA in ten appearances (five starts) and will likely be used sparingly in relief.
Vicente Padilla activated from the 15-day DL
Padilla is hoping for a strong finish to the season after two trips to the DL have limited him to just 15 starts. He first went down on April 24 due to soreness in his right forearm which cost him two months. He then wound up back on the DL on August 20 with a bulging disc in his neck. The right-hander returns to a 6-4 record and a 3.96 ERA, with 79 strikeouts in 91 innings. He should have some value if he can avoid further injury. However, considering that he hasn’t started 30 games in a season since 2006, his ability to stay healthy is highly questionable.
Rafael Furcal activated from the 15-day DL
Furcal has put together some pretty decent numbers this year when he hasn’t been sitting on the DL. In 76 games, he’s managed to hit .316 while scoring 57 runs and stealing 18 bases. Two stints on the disabled list – one from a left hamstring strain and the other from a strained lower back -- have prevented him from putting together one of the best seasons of his career. His .380 on-base percentage and .492 slugging percentage would both be career highs for the 32-year-old shortstop. Nevertheless, he’s back in action now, and fantasy owners should get him back in their lineups (if they haven’t done so already). Jamey Carroll has done a decent job filling in for Furcal this season, hitting .287 through Thursday, but without a home run in 119 games. He should still get some at-bats as a backup middle infielder and pinch-hitter.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 4
Ricky Nolasco to the 60-day DL
Nolasco’s season is done, as he will undergo surgery to repair the torn meniscus in his right knee. He had attempted to pitch through the injury, but did not want to risk making the condition worse. He was also not getting the desired results, as he was lit up for six earned runs through two innings in his last start on August 28. Nolasco finishes the season with a 14-9 record, 4.51 ERA and 147 strikeouts and should be ready for spring training next year. Andrew Miller will take his spot in the rotation for the final month of the season. Miller has an ERA of 4.50 in three appearances with the Marlins this year and is unlikely to be worth owning in most fantasy leagues due to his unimpressive track record.
SUNDAY, SEPT. 5
Alex Rodriguez activated from the 15-day DL
The Yankees got one of their top players back from injury as A-Rod returned to the lineup on Sunday. He had been out since August 21 with a strained left calf and wasted no time making an impact. He drove in a run on Sunday, and another two on Monday, making him the first player to drive in at least 100 runs in 14 different seasons. Rodriguez barely reached the 100 RBI mark last year, as he drove in seven runs on the final day of the season to finish with exactly 100. Despite his high RBI total this season, A-Rod has not been putting up his usual numbers. At the time of his return from the DL, he was hitting just .265 with only 21 home runs. He is on track to finish with the lowest on-base percentage (.333) and the lowest slugging percentage (.485) of his career. Eduardo Nunez and Ramiro Pena handled the third base duties in A-Rod’s absence, and will return to backup roles.
TUESDAY, SEPT. 7
Carlos Silva activated from the 15-day DL
Silva was putting up some of the best numbers of his career when he landed on the DL on August 2 due to a heart-related condition. He was 10-5 with a 3.92 ERA at the time of his DL assignment, but what was most impressive were his 76 strikeouts in 108 innings (a rate of 6.33 K/9 IP). Coming into the season, Silva had a career strikeout rate of just 3.78 per nine innings, so his increase in strikeouts was completely unprecedented. Much of the change can be attributed to the fact that he’s been relying a lot less heavily on his mediocre fastball and more heavily on his secondary pitches – a low 80’s changeup and slider. That approach seems to be working for him, and his success could continue if he sticks with it. Silva takes the rotation spot from Tom Gorzelanny, who suffered a hairline fracture in his left pinkie finger when he was struck by a line drive on September 1. It is uncertain at this point how much time Gorzelanny will miss. He’s 7-8 with a 3.90 ERA.