Projected Starters – A look at Saturday's matchups (all times Eastern):
White Sox (John Danks – L) at Indians (Justin Masterson – R), 1:05
Tigers (Max Scherzer – R) at Yankees (Phil Hughes – R), 1:05
Twins (Nick Blackburn – R) at Blue Jays (Brett Cecil – L), 1:07
Mets (R.A. Dickey – R) at Marlins (Javier Vazquez – R), 1:10
Brewers (Randy Wolf – L) at Reds (Bronson Arroyo – R), 1:10
Astros (J.A. Happ – R) at Phillies (Roy Oswalt – R), 1:35
Braves (Tim Hudson – R) at Nationals (Jordan Zimmermann – R), 1:35
Orioles (Zach Britton – L) at Rays (Wade Davis – R), 1:40
Red Sox (Clay Buchholz – R) at Rangers (Matt Harrison – L), 2:05
Angels (Scott Kazmir – L) at Royals (Bruce Chen – L), 2:10
Padres (Dustin Moseley – R) at Padres (Jaime Garcia – L), 2:15
Pirates (Ross Ohlendorf – R) at Cubs (Matt Garza – R), 2:20
Diamondbacks (Joe Saunders – L) at Rockies (Jhoulys Chacin – R), 3:10
Mariners (Doug Fister – R) at Athletics (Gio Gonzalez – L), 4:05
Giants (Barry Zito – L) at Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda – R), 8:05
Day Game After a Night Game: HOU, PHI, MIL, CIN, NYM, FLA, AZ, COL, BAL, TAM, BOS, TEX, SEA, OAK
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)
Rajai Davis, OF, TOR – (Ankle) Scratched from Saturday's lineup with a right ankle sprain he suffered in Friday's opener.
Juan Uribe, 2B, LAD – (Elbow) Missed Friday's game after being hit by a Tim Lincecum pitch. He doesn't believe the injury is serious and that he'll return early.
Carlos Zambrano, SP, CHC – (Hand) Left Saturday's game in the seventh with cramps in his pitching hand. He should be fine for his next start.
Barry Zito, SP, SF – (Neck) Neck is improving daily and manager Bruce Bochy believes he'll be ready to pitch Sunday.
Michael Stanton, OF, FLA – (Hamstring) Left Friday's game after tweaking his hammy. It's not believed to be serious, but they held him out of the starting lineup Saturday.
J.A. Happ, SP, HOU – (Oblique) Didn't have any problems in his bullpen Friday but they won't decide it he'll pitch Sunday until after Saturday's game.
Jair Jurrjens, SP, ATL – (Ribs) An official update will be given Sunday, but the expectation is that he'll be put on the DL and return April 9.
Players on the DL
Brian Matusz, SP, BAL – (Back) Has an intercostal strain that will keep him out of action for 3-to-6 weeks. Zach Britton was called up to start in his place.
Joel Pineiro, SP, LAA – (Shoulder) Had a setback during his latest bullpen session. He'll throw from flat ground this week and try to throw a bullpen next weekend.
Joseph Smith, RP, CLE – (Abdomen) Could begin a rehab assignment as early as Monday and is expected to return in mid-April.
Grady Sizemore, OF, CLE – (Knee) Could begin a rehab assignment as early as Monday and is expected to return in mid-April.
Jason Donald, SS, CLE – (Finger) Still a week away from being ready for game action and will need a minor league assignment.
Andrew Bailey, RP, OAK – (Forearm) No return date has been set yet. He's expected to miss at least another two weeks.
Matt Holiday, OF, STL – (Stomach) Won't be officially placed on the DL until Monday or Tuesday as the Cardinals are hoping he can return in less than 15 days.
Brian Wilson, RP, SF – (Oblique) Could be activated as early as Wednesday depending how his simulated game goes Sunday.
Mat Latos, SP, SD – (Shoulder) Will throw 60-80 pitches in a minor league game Monday. He remains on pace to return in mid-April and has said he feels better now than he did all spring.
Johnny Cueto, SP, CIN – (Shoulder) Feeling great but the Reds still haven't set a timetable for his return.
Homer Bailey, SP, CIN – (Shoulder) Isn't feeling any pain but the Reds still haven't set a timetable for his return.
Transactions - Players that have been demoted, called up, traded, released, you name it. We'll cover it here.
Placed on DL (15-day unless otherwise noted)
Brian Matusz, SP, BAL
Activated from DL
Closer Watch - A closer look at intriguing ninth-inning situations (check out our Closer Grid with the link to the left).
Atlanta – After a great deal of bluster from the Braves about going into the season with committee at closer, the team quickly decided to name Craig Kimbrel their primary closer Saturday.
Houston – Brandon Lyon gave up six hits and three runs to blow his first save opportunity and collect the loss Friday. There's no need to overreact this early in the season, and no one should be particularly surprised given the fact that Lyon is himself.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Jonathan Broxton recorded his second save in as many days Friday, and he's working hard to quiet his doubters early this season.
San Francisco – Brian Wilson could be activated as soon as Wednesday. The Giants haven't had a save situation in their first two games, so we're still operating on the assumption that Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt, and Javier Lopez could grab any saves between now and Wednesday.
R.A. Dickey vs. Marlins – Dickey's career as a sinkerball pitcher didn't really start until last year, so chewing fat about anything before then is in some ways pointless. He faced the Marlins three times last season, and they teed off on him to the tune of 13 runs over 18.1 innings. Gaby Sanchez hit a flaming hot .500 off of Dickey with a home run, six RBI, and two doubles.
Javier Vazquez vs. Mets – Vazquez struggles in the AL last season (5.32 ERA in 157.1 innings) have many people speculating that he'll regain his form in the NL with the Marlins. He's limited the Mets' current lineup to a .197 BA over 71 at-bats, giving him a relatively promising matchup in his first start. NL-only league players will want play Carlos Beltran (two home runs in 10 at-bats) and bench Willie Harris (.100 BA in 10 at-bats).
Randy Wolf vs. Reds – Wolf has historically been touched up by the Reds' current lineup, allowing a cumulative .293 BA over 174 at-bats. Jay Bruce (1.375 OPS), Jonny Gomes (1.542 OPS), and Paul Janish (.839 OPS) have all enjoyed good success off the lefty, while Scott Rolen (.556 OPS) and Edgar Renteria (.653 OPS) have traditionally struggled.
Bronson Arroyo vs. Brewers – The Brewers' current roster has hit a cumulative .253 BA against Arroyo. Craig Counsel (.844 OPS) and Mark Kotsay (1.404 OPS) have enjoyed success against him, while Rickie Weeks (.494 OPS) has struggled against Arroyo in his career.
J.A. Happ vs. Phillies – Happ made one start against his former team after being traded last summer and held them to a .217 BA in that appearance. He knows their tendencies well, but the Phillies also know Happ's resume of pitches. If he's healthy enough to go Sunday, Happs a decent start in deep and NL-only leagues.
Roy Oswalt vs. Astros – Oswalt will make his first start against his former team Sunday. It'll be interesting to see if the emotions of the game make Oswalt throw better or worse. Historically, Bill Hall (.875 OPS) has hit well against Oswalt, while Carlos Lee (.450 OPS) has struggled.
Tim Hudson vs. Nationals – Of all the teams to light up Hudson, I wouldn't have guessed the Nationals' current roster has hit a cumulative .317 BA against him over 199 at-bats. Ivan Rodriguez (1.194 OPS), Laynce Nix (.929 OPS), and Mike Morse (.855 OPS) have hit Hudson well, while Ryan Zimmerman (.485 OPS), Ian Desmond (.551 OPS), and Adam LaRoche (.444 OPS) have struggled against him. One standout performer against Hudson has been Matt Stairs. In six at-bats, Stairs has five hits, including two doubles.
Jordan Zimmerman vs. Braves – Zimmerman has only faced the Braves' current roster a cumulative 23 at-bats, but he limited them to a .174 BA and only allowed one extra-base hit.
Russ Ohlendorf vs. Cubs – Over 44 at-bats, Ohlendorf has limited the Cubs' current roster to a .182 BA. Alfonso Soriano (1.159 OPS) has had some success against him, while Kosuke Fukudome (.311 OPS) has largely struggled.
Matt Garza vs. Pirates – This will be one of the more interesting pitching performances to watch Sunday, because Garza will be making his debut in the NL. Many prognosticators believe Garza could improve his K-rate with the move to the NL.
Joe Saunders vs. Rockies – Saunders has held the Rockies' current roster to a cumulative .200 BA over 110 at-bats. Jose Lopez (.661 OPS), Jason Giambi (.533 OPS), and Carlos Gonzalez (.417 OPS) have all struggled mightily against Saunders, while Troy Tulowitzki (1.171 OPS) has hit well.
John Danks vs. Indians – Danks has allowed the Indians' current roster to hit a .266 BA against him over 94 at-bats. Shin-Soo Choo (1.00 OPS), Adam Everett (.846 OPS), and Lou Marson (.971 OPS) have hit well against him, while Travis Hafner (.642 OPS), Asdrubal Cabrera (.500 OPS), and Austin Kearns (.542 OPS) have struggled against him.
Justin Masterson vs. White Sox – Masterson has allowed the White Sox to hit a .258 BA against him in 124 at-bats. Juan Pierre (.545 OPS) and Gordon Beckham (1.111 OPS) have hit well against him, while Alex Rios (.675 OPS), Paul Konerko (.639 OPS), and Carlos Quentin (.154 OPS) have struggled.
Wade Davis vs. Orioles – Davis has allowed the Orioles to hit a .239 BA against him in 92 at-bats. Cesar Izturis (1.101 OPS) has hit well against him, while Nick Markakis (.426 OPS), Luke Scott (.527 OPS), and Brian Roberts (.552 OPS) have struggled.
Doug Fister vs. Athletics – Fister has allowed the Athletics to hit a .292 BA against him over 96 at-bats. Daric Barton (.937 OPS) has hit well against him, while Cliff Pennington (.276 OPS) has been terrible.
Zach Britton, SP, BAL – Britton had a great spring, posting a 1.35 ERA over 20 innings. The Orioles sent him down to start the season in an effort to keep his arbitration clock from starting. However, Brian Matusz' (back) trip to the DL has lead to Britton's quick call up back to the majors. If he performs well over the next three-to-six weeks while Matusz is out, Britton could carve out a permanent spot in the rotation. He struck out 56 over 66.1 innings in Triple-A last season, and those kind of strikeout numbers can be of use in most leagues. Give him a ride Sunday if you're looking for a spot starter or need starting pitching on your roster.
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