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Thursday Lineup Card: Closer Woes Continue in Chicago

Derek VanRiper

Derek VanRiper

Derek is the Senior Baseball Editor for RotoWire.com, where he's been a two-time finalist for the FSWA's Baseball Writer of the Year award, and winner of the Best Football Article on the Web (2009) and Best Baseball Article on the Web (2010) awards. Derek also co-hosts RotoWire Fantasy Sports Today on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (XM 87, Sirius 210) from 11a-2p ET on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Projected Starters - A look at Thursday's matchups (all times Eastern)

Rockies (Jorge de la Rosa - L) at Mets (R.A. Dickey - R), 12:10 (Game 1)
Rockies (Greg Reynolds - R) at Mets (Chris Capuano - L), 3:40 (Game 2)
Twins (Carl Pavano - R) at Rays (Wade Davis - R), 6:40
Orioles (Jake Arrieta - R) at Yankees (Phil Hughes - R), 7:05
Brewers (Randy Wolf - L) at Pirates (Paul Maholm - L), 7:05
Phillies (Cliff Lee - L) at Nationals (Jordan Zimmermann - R), 7:05
Marlins (Ricky Nolasco - R) at Braves (Brandon Beachy - R), 7:10
Padres (Dustin Moseley - R) at Astros (Bud Norris - R), 8:05
Mariners (Doug Fister - L) at Royals (Bruce Chen - L), 8:10
Tigers (Phil Coke - L) at Athletics (Gio Gonzalez - L), 10:05
Cardinals (Jaime Garcia - L) at Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda - R), 10:10

Day game after night game: COL, NYM (x2)

Injuries

Day-to-Day

Chone Figgins, 2B, SEA - (Thumb) Manager Eric Wedge optimistic he'll return to action Thursday.
Chris Young, SP, NYM - (Biceps) Next scheduled start pushed back to Sunday because of tendinitis.
Jay Bruce, OF, CIN - (Groin) Tweaked groin Tuesday and did not start Wednesday night.
Mike Morse, OF, WAS - (Flu) Held out of the starting lineup Wednesday; likely available to pinch-hit.
Chris Johnson, 3B, HOU - (Arm) Held out with soreness after getting hit by a pitch Tuesday.
Kosuke Fukudome, OF, CHC - (Hamstring) Did lunges, but still wasn't ready to return Wednesday.
Coco Crisp, OF, OAK - (Back) Limited to pinch-hit appearance Wednesday against Chicago.
Casey Blake, 3B, LA - (Thigh) Hoped to return to the lineup Wednesday.
Andres Torres, OF, SF - (Achilles) Expected to avoid the DL.
Evan Meek, RP, PIT - (Shoulder) Status up in the air after two days off following Tuesday's rainout.
Brian Tallet, RP, STL - (Hand) Fractured a bone while diving to tag out Stephen Drew on Tuesday.

Players on the DL

Grady Sizemore, OF, CLE - (Knee) Played in back-to-back games with Double-A Akron this week.
Kendrys Morales, 1B, LAA - (Ankle) Ran on the field prior to Tuesday's game.
David Aardsma, RP, SEA - (Hip) Will throw two simulated innings Friday.
Brandon Morrow, SP, TOR - (Elbow) Threw 60 pitches in rehab start Tuesday; likely needs one more rehab appearance.
Franklin Gutierrez, OF, SEA - (Stomach) Set to begin rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma this weekend.
Homer Bailey, SP, CIN - (Shoulder) Hoping to return around the end of April.
Pedro Feliciano, RP, NYY -(Shoulder) Sent for an MRI.
Manny Parra, RP, MIL - (Back) Knocked around during his rehab outing at Triple-A on Tuesday.
Adam Moore, C, SEA - (Knee) Has an “extensive” tear of his meniscus and could miss the season.

Transactions - Players who have been demoted, called up, traded, released, you name it. We'll cover it here.

Called Up
Chris Davis, 1B, TEX
Ivan DeJesus Jr., SS, LAD
Esmerling Vasquez, RP, ARI
Hector Noesi, RP, NYY

Sent Down
Kam Mickolio, RP, ARI
Robbie Weinhardt, RP, DET
Jeremy Reed, OF, MIL (outrighted to Triple-A)
Lastings Milledge, OF, CHW (outrighted to Triple-A)
Chris Pettit, OF, LAA

Placed on DL
Josh Hamilton, OF, TEX
Luis Ayala, RP, NYY (retro to 4/10)

Activated from DL
Reggie Willits, OF, LAA

Closer Watch - A closer look at intriguing ninth-inning situations (also check out our Closer Grid)

Chicago White Sox - The White Sox are doing everything in their power to maintain a place in this section all season. Chris Sale entered the game with a save opportunity Wednesday and proceeded to give up three runs before departing. Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain weren't much better, and the ninth-inning situation has evolved beyond ugly before the middle of April on the south side of Chicago.

Kansas City - Jeremy Jeffress earned a save Wednesday, but he would have likely handed the ninth inning to Joakim Soria had the Royals not piled on a three-run ninth inning to give the Royals a 10-5 lead. Jeffress entered the game in an eighth-inning save situation and went on to finish it when the Kansas City offense exploded to put the game out of reach.

Tampa Bay - Kyle Farnsworth shut the door against Boston on Tuesday night for his second save of the season. The Rays haven't had many opportunities thus far, but the fiery veteran appears to be the lead option in manager Joe Maddon's closer-by-committee arrangement to open the year.

Key Matchups

Hot

Scott Hairston v. Jorge de la Rosa -- 5-for-15 (.333), 2 HR, 7 RBI, 4:4 BB:K
B.J. Upton v. Carl Pavano -- 7-for-14 (.500), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0:4 BB:K
Luke Scott v. Phil Hughes -- 7-for-13 (.538), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2:3 BB:K
Ronny Cedeno v. Randy Wolf -- 9-for-18 (.500), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2:0 BB:K
Ryan Braun v. Paul Maholm -- 10-for-30 (.333), 1 HR, 8 RBI, 4:4 BB:K
Ivan Rodriguez v. Cliff Lee -- 12-for-32 (.375), 0 HR, 5 RBI, 5:9 BB:K
Brian McCann v. Ricky Nolasco -- 13-for-36 (.361), 5 HR, 15 RBI, 1:7 BB:K
Chipper Jones v. Ricky Nolasco -- 13-for-28 (.464), 4 HR, 9 RBI, 3:2 BB:K
Ichiro Suzuki v. Bruce Chen -- 9-for-22 (.409), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2:1 BB:K
Matt Holliday v. Hiroki Kuroda -- 8-for-20 (.400), 1 HR, 6 RBI, 1:2 BB:K

Phil Hughes v. Orioles hitters -- .270/.308/.390 (.698 OPS) in 107 plate appearances
Cliff Lee v. Nationals hitters -- .250/.301/.395 (.696 OPS) in 83 plate appearances
Hiroki Kuroda v. Cardinals hitters -- .184/.235/.276 (.511 OPS) in 82 plate appearances

Cold

Todd Helton v. Chris Capuano -- 5-for-23 (.217), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 1:6 BB:K
Brian Roberts v. Phil Hughes -- 2-for-13 (.154), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:2 BB:K
Vladimir Guerrero v. Phil Hughes -- 3-for-13 (.231), 0 HR, 4 RBI, 0:2 BB:K
Matt Wieters v. Phil Hughes -- 2-for-10 (.200), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:4 BB:K
Andrew McCutchen v. Randy Wolf -- 4-for-18 (.222), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 1:2 BB:K
Prince Fielder v. Paul Maholm -- 3-for-42 (.071), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 2:13 BB:K
Jerry Hairston Jr. v. Cliff Lee -- 2-for-12 (.167), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0:2 BB:K

Jorge de la Rosa v. Mets hitters -- .283/.424/.491 over 66 plate appearances
Carl Pavano v. Rays hitters -- .354/.388/.532 over 85 plate appearances
Randy Wolf v. Pirates hitters -- .331/.395/.511 over 158 plate appearances
Ricky Nolasco v. Braves hitters -- .331/.380/.646 over 144 plate appearances
Gio Gonzalez v. Tigers -- .394/.500/.939 in **40 plate appearances

Recommended Pickup

Matt LaPorta, 1B, CLE - After a poor spring, LaPorta was off to a rocky start before swatting a pair of homers during the Tribe's recent eight-game winning streak. Perhaps a disappointing 2010 can be chalked up to rehabbing back from hip surgery. In any event, LaPorta was the key piece in the deal that sent CC Sabathia to Milwaukee in 2008 and part of the Brewers' willingness to move him was that he seemed to be a player without the ability to handle the defensive rigors of the big leagues. He's the regular first baseman for the Tribe this season, but a Travis Hafner injury would create some flexibility and long term, LaPorta can hit his way into the Indians' plans. Over the last seven days, he's hitting .250 (5-for-20) with a pair of homers and five RBI with four walks. The seventh overall pick in the 2007 draft, LaPorta has the pedigree that makes him an intriguing early-season pickup and he's quietly hit 21 homers in 589 career at-bats around the aforementioned surgery and spotty playing time.

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