Projected Starters – A look at Sunday's matchups (all times Eastern):
Royals (Luke Hochevar – R) at Tigers (Rick Porcello – R), 1:05
Nationals (Jason Marquis – R) at Mets (Chris Young – R), 1:10
Phillies (Cole Hamels – L) at Braves (Derek Lowe – R), 1:35
Rockies (Jhoulys Chacin – R) at Pirates (James McDonald – R), 1:35
Rangers (Derek Holland – L) at Orioles (Chris Jakubauskas - R), 1:35
Marlins (Anibal Sanchez – R) at Astros (J.A. Happ – L), 2:05
Cubs (Casey Coleman – R) at Brewers (Yovani Gallardo – R), 2:10
Rays (Jeff Niemann – R) at White Sox (Gavin Floyd – R), 2:10
Athletics (Brandon McCarthy – R) at Twins (Scott Baker – R), 2:10
Blue Jays (Jo-Jo Reyes – L) at Angels (Jered Weaver – R), 3:35
Dodgers (John Ely – R) at Padres (Aaron Harang – R), 4:05
Cardinals (Kyle Lohse – R) at Giants (Barry Zito – L), 4:05
Reds (Mike Leake – R) at Diamondbacks (Joe Saunders – L), 4:10
Indians (Josh Tomlin – R) at Mariners (Erik Bedard – L), 4:10
Yankees (CC Sabathia – L) at Red Sox (Josh Beckett – R), 8:05
Day Game After a Night Game: COL, PIT, FLA, HOU, WAS, NYM, CHC, MIL, CIN, ARI, LAD, SD, STL, SF, TEX, BAL, OAK, MIN, TOR, LAA, CLE, SEA
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)
Yunel Escobar, SS, TOR – (Concussion) Had no problems after working out Friday. Could return as soon as Sunday.
Erick Aybar, SS, LAA – (Oblique) Took ground balls Friday. He isn’t expected to be put on the DL, but the team will likely hold him out until late in the coming week.
Adam Dunn, 1B, CHW – (Abdomen) Unlikely to return until sometime in the coming week.
Kelly Shoppach, C, TB – (Knee) Left Friday’s game with knee soreness but is okay and available to play Saturday.
Jeremy Guthrie, SP, BAL – (Pneumonia) Will have his scheduled Sunday start pushed back to Tuesday.
J.J. Hardy, SS, BAL – (Ribs) Will play in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader but not the first.
Todd Helton, 1B, COL – (Back) Scratched with a stiff lower back Friday; not in Saturday’s lineup
Ross Ohlendorf, SP, PIT – (Shoulder) Left Friday’s start in the third inning with shoulder discomfort; likely headed for DL
Matt Holliday, OF, STL – (Stomach) Hopes to be back in the coming days, but manager Tony La Russa doesn’t share Holiday’s optimism.
Hanley Ramirez, SS, FLA – (Leg) Is not in the lineup for Saturday’s game. He’s just day-to-day at this time and not expected to go on the DL.
Players on the DL
Adam Moore, C, SEA – (Knee) Has a torn meniscus and was put on the 60-day DL.
Tsuyoshi Nishioka, 2B, MIN – (Leg) Doesn’t need surgery and is expected to be out 4-to-6 weeks.
Franklin Gutierrez, OD, SEA – (Illness) Began a rehab assignment Friday, but his return date is still not set.
Brandon Morrow, SP, TOR – (Elbow) Struggled in his first rehab outing, and the quickness of his return will probably depend on how he does in his next appearance.
Frank Francisco, RP, TOR – (Chest) Began a rehab assignment Thursday and will probably make a few more appearances before getting activated.
Joel Pineiro, SP, LAA – (Shoulder) Threw long toss Friday and hopes to start mound work early in the coming week.
Kendrys Morales, 1B, LAA – (Ankle) Won’t be allowed on the field until he’s 100 percent on the treadmill.
Jason Donald, 3B, CLE – (Finger) Isn’t ready for game action, and will likely be out for the entirety of the coming week.
Grady Sizemore, OF, CLE – (Knee) Began a rehab assignment Thursday, but is not playing in back-to-backs yet.
Corey Patterson, OF, TOR – (Head) Could rejoin the Blue Jays as soon as Monday.
Jake Peavy, SP, CHW – (Shoulder) Expected to make 3-to-4 more starts in the minors before returning as the team is bringing him back slowly after his setback in spring training.
Scott Kazmir, SP, LAA – (Back) Missing his Saturday start with a stiff back.
Kevin Slowey, RP, MIN – (Shoulder) Scheduled to be placed on the 15-day DL with a strained shoulder.
Johnny Cueto, SP, CIN – (Shoulder) Will throw 35-40 pitches Monday with an aim towards starting an official throwing program if all goes well.
Homer Bailey, SP, CIN – (Shoulder) Will throw 45-50 pitches Tuesday with an aim towards starting an official throwing program if all goes well.
Mat Latos, SP, SD – (Shoulder) Will return Monday against the Reds.
Jonathan Lucroy, C, MIL – (Finger) Started playing in rehab games Thursday and could return as soon as Tuesday.
Manny Parra, RP, MIL – (Back) Set to begin a rehab assignment Saturday.
LaTroy Hawkins, RP, MIL – (Shoulder) Started playing in rehab games Friday and could return on the next road trip in the coming week.
Zack Greinke, SP, MIL – (Ribs) Threw another bullpen session Saturday, could return before end of April
Corey Hart, OF, MIL – (Oblique) Participated in aggressive fielding drills, but he still feels discomfort when batting or throwing at full strength. His return date is still not known.
Geoff Blum, SS, ARI – (Knee) Took grounders Friday, will run Saturday, but there’s little playing time available with Stephen Drew back and Willie Bloomquist playing well.
Fred Lewis, OF, CIN – (Oblique) Is making good progress on his rehab but will not come off the DL when first eligible Monday.
Transactions - Players who have been demoted, called up, traded, released, you name it. We'll cover it here.
Matt Palmer, SP, LAA
Alex Burnett, RP, MIN
Luke Hughes, 3B/2B, MIN
Casey Kotchman, 1B, TB
Mike Minor, SP, ATL
Placed on DL (15-day unless otherwise noted)
Scott Kazmir, SP, LAA (retroactive to April 4)
Kevin Slowey, RP, MIN (retroactive to April 5)
Adam Moore, C, SEA (60-day DL)
Omar Beltre, SP, TEX (transferred to 60-day DL
Activated from DL
Carlos Silva, SP, NYY – Signed to a minor league contract
Manny Ramirez, DH, TB
Closer Watch - A closer look at intriguing ninth-inning situations (also check out our Closer Grid)
Boston – Jonathan Papelbon finally had his first save opportunity Friday and put away the Yankees in the ninth without allowing a baserunner. He struck out two of the three batters he faced to seal the win.
Chicago Cubs – Carlos Marmol converted a second straight save opportunity Friday. He blew his second save opportunity of the season, but he’s since been fine. Don’t overreact to the three walks he’s allowed in his last three appearances. Marmol gave up 52 walks in 77.2 innings last year and finished with a 2.55 ERA. The walks are just a side effect of him throwing wicked awesome pitches that also result in strikeouts, of which he had an absurd 138 last season. He’s groovy. Don’t waste any time worrying about this golden goose.
Chicago White Sox – John Danks, Friday’s starting pitcher, came out in defense of Matt Thornton following the closers’ second straight blown save to open the season. We’d caution Thornton’s owners to be calm and patient with him at this point. Of the five runs he gave up Friday, zero of them were earned. Back-to-back errors by Alexei Ramirez and Juan Pierre are what lost the game. Thornton would have had to be perfect to escape from the mad house Pierre and Ramirez put him in with their defense. Relax and keep Thornton in your lineup. He’s been legit for three straight seasons and will be fine this season.
Minnesota – Joe Nathan picked up his third save Friday against the Athletics, and the supposed committee situation he’s sharing with Matt Capps has proved to be more of a one-man job so far this season. He hasn’t had to pitch on back-to-back days yet, so there’s still the chance Capps is in the running for the random save here and there, but Nathan appears to have the upper hand on the responsibility. Manager Ron Gardenhire isn’t known for playing games with his lineups and player roles, so we took him at his word when he announced there’d be a committee situation there at the beginning of the season. However, it’s looking more likely that the Nathan everyone knew and loved is once again back in the saddle. Giddy up.
Toronto – Octavio Dotel returned from the 15-day DL Friday and came on to pitch in the seventh with the game tied. He ended up with the win after Jayson Nix homered in the top of the 8th. Jon Rauch grabbed his second save of the season. Dotel could usurp Rauch in the temporary closer role, but it’s more likely Rauch will keep the job until he proves ineffective or Frank Francisco returns.
Daniel Murphy vs. Jason Marquis – 3-for-9 (.333), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1:0 BB:K. All three hits were doubles.
Chipper Jones vs. Cole Hamels - 9-for-24 (.375), 2HR, 6 RBI, 6:3 BB:K
Kosuke Fukudome vs. Yovani Gallardo - 5-for-13 (.385), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2:3 BB:K
Geovany Soto vs. Yovani Gallardo - 4-for-12 (.333), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2:5 BB:K
Rafael Furcal vs. Aaron Harang - 10-for-18 (.556), 0 HR, 5 RBI, 2:2 BB:K
Matt Kemp vs. Aaron Harang - 3-for-9 (.333), 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1:2 BB:K
Mark DeRosa vs. Kyle Lohse - 8-for-19 (.421), 2 HR, 2 RBI, 3:4 BB:K
Pat Burrell vs. Kyle Lohse - 4-for-14 (.286), 2 HR, 5 RBI, 1:4 BB:K. He either strikes out or hits it out.
Yadier Molina vs. Barry Zito - 5-for-13 (.385), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 3:1 BB:K
Lance Berkman vs. Barry Zito - 4-for-10 (.400), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1:1 BB:K
Ramon Hernandez vs. Joe Saunders - 7-for-17 (.412), 1 HR, 6 RBI, 0:0 BB:K
A.J. Pierzynski vs. Jeff Niemann - 5-for-11 (.455), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:1 BB:K
Johnny Damon vs. Gavin Floyd - 10-for-15 (.667), 1 HR, 4 RBI, 4:0 BB:K
Adam Lind vs. Jered Weaver - 6-for-15 (.400), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0:3 BB:K
Aaron Hill vs. Jered Weaver - 4-for-12 (.333), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0:3 BB:K
Mike Cameron vs. CC Sabathia - 8-for-16 (.500), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2:2 BB:K
Kevin Youkilis vs. CC Sabathia - 12-for-28 (.429), 2 HR, 5 RBI, 5:4 BB:K
Robinson Cano vs. Josh Beckett – 19-for-56 (.339), 3 HR, 12 RBI, 5:7 BB:K
Nick Swisher vs. Josh Beckett - 10-for-32 (.313), 3 HR, 7 RBI, 5:9 BB:K
Chris Young vs. Nationals – Though he’s only faced 59 batters, Young has limited the Nationals’ current roster to a .136 BA and .476 OPS. He’s also only given up four walks. For some reason, he’s had their number in the past.
Derek Lowe vs. Phillies – Lowe must have a complete line of Phillies voodoo dolls, because he has dominated their current roster over his career. In 214 at-bats, he’s limited them to a .182 BA and .454 OPS. Raul Ibanez is the only player to have homered off Lowe, and Carlos Ruiz is the only player who has hit better than .231 against him.
Angel Pagan vs. Jason Marquis - 2-for-10 (.200), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:3 BB:K
Adam LaRoche vs. Chris Young - 3-for-18 (.167), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1:7 BB:K
Dan Uggla vs. Cole Hamels - 6-for-37 (.162), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 4:11 BB:K
Ryan Howard vs. Derek Lowe - 9-for-42 (.214), 0 HR, 6 RBI, 2:0 BB:K
Raul Ibanez vs. Derek Lowe - 5-for-37 (.135), 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2:3 BB:K
Jimmy Rollins vs. Derek Lowe - 9-for-39 (.231), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:2 BB:K
Shane Victorino vs. Derek Lowe - 2-for-29 (.069), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:3 BB:K
Wilson Valdez vs. Derek Lowe - 2-for-13 (.154), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0:5 BB:K
Omar Infante vs. J.A. Happ - 1-for-11 (.091), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2:2 BB:K
Emilio Bonifacio vs. J.A. Happ - 2-for-9 (.222), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:3 BB:K
Alfonso Soriano vs. Yovani Gallardo - 2-for-14 (.143), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:6 BB:K
Juan Uribe vs. Aaron Harang - 1-for-9 (.111), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:1 BB:K
Casey Blake vs. Aaron Harang - 4-for-21 (.190), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 3:4 BB:K
Aubrey Huff vs. Kyle Lohse - 5-for-24 (.208), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:4 BB:K
Freddy Sanchez vs. Kyle Lohse - 4-for-20 (.200), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0:2 BB:K
Ryan Theriot vs. Barry Zito - 3-for-14 (.214), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:1 BB:K
Gerald Laird vs. Barry Zito - 3-for-14 (.214), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:4 BB:K
Jhonny Peralta vs. Luke Hochevar - 2-for-15 (.133), 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1:5 BB:K
Mitch Maier vs. Rick Porcello - 3-for-16 (.188), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2:1 BB:K
Chris Getz vs. Rick Porcello - 1-for-10 (.100), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:0 BB:K
Vladimir Guerrero vs. Derek Holland - 2-for-11 (.182), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:2 BB:K
Adrian Beltre vs. Jeremy Guthrie - 2-for-22 (.091), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2:4 BB:K
Paul Konerko vs. Jeff Niemann - 2-for-12 (.167), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0:1 BB:K
Alexei Ramirez vs. Jeff Niemann - 2-for-10 (.200), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:3 BB:K
Casey Kotchman vs. Gavin Floyd - 2-for-12 (.167), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:2 BB:K
Justin Morneau vs. Brandon McCarthy - 2-for-10 (.200), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:1 BB:K
Coco Crisp vs. Scott Baker - 2-for-13 (.154), 1 HR, 1 RBI, 0:1 BB:K
Orlando Cabrera vs. Erik Bedard - 4-for-20 (.200), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2:2 BB:K
Dustin Pedroia vs. CC Sabathia - 3-for-28 (.107), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2:8 BB:K
J.D. Drew vs. CC Sabathia - 4-for-19 (.211), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1:8 BB:K
Jacoby Ellsbury vs. CC Sabathia - 1-for-13 (.077), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:6 BB:K
Aaron Harang vs. Dodgers – Harang has allowed the Dodgers’ current roster to hit .290 off of him through 124 at-bats. He showed up in his first start this season and came through with six strikeouts in six innings while allowing only one earned run. There’s an argument for Harang to have a comeback season, but we’re not ready to hang all of our hopes on the Padres’ spacious park to solve all of his issues on the mound. Personally, I don’t think he’ll be a good pitcher again until he shaves that chin-Princeton off the bottom of his face.
Kyle Lohse vs. Giants – Lohse has allowed the Giants’ current roster to hit .278 off of him over 162 at-bats. The fact that he’s going up against the implodable Barry Zito is probably the best thing Lohse has going for him in Sunday’s start.
Barry Zito vs. Cardinals – The Cardinals’ current roster has a .287 BA over 122 at-bats against Zito. The Zito vs. Lohse matchup could be more a matchup of futility than a showdown.
Joe Saunders vs. Reds – Saunders has allowed the Reds to hit .324 against him through 74 at-bats.
Luke Hochevar vs. Tigers – Hochevar has allowed the Tigers to hit .320 against him through 97 at-bats.
Josh Beckett vs. Yankees – Beckett has allowed the Yankees’ roster to his .284 off of him over 391 at-bats, and he’s facing Sabathia. The stars are not aligned for Beckett to start a comeback Sunday.
Brennan Boesch, OF, DET – Boesch has played in six of the Tigers’ first seven games. They’ve played him at LF, RF and DH. In those six games, he’s gone 8-for-22 (.364) with three extra-base hits (one homer, two doubles). The Tigers haven’t batted him lower than the six hole in any game. When discussing his lineups for Friday and Saturday, manager Jim Leyland commented that he kept Boesch in the lineup Friday because he knew Boesch wouldn’t play Saturday and didn’t want his bat out of the lineup for two straight games. Leyland is making a point to keep him playing while he’s hot. Players in deep leagues and AL-only formats should grab Boesch for his power numbers and occasional stolen base.
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