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Thursday Lineup Card: Advantage, Pitchers

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.

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

Rays (James Shields - R) at Indians (Justin Masterson - R), 12:05
Cardinals (Jaime Garcia - L) at Cubs (Casey Coleman - R), 2:20
Mets (Jonathon Niese - L) at Rockies (Ubaldo Jimenez - R), 3:10 PM**TBD
D-Backs (Dan Hudson - R) at Giants (Matt Cain - R), 3:45
Mariners (Jason Vargas - L) at Orioles (Zach Britton - R), 7:05
Dodgers (Jon Garland - R) at Pirates (Charlie Morton - R), 7:05
Royals (Sean O'Sullivan - R) at Yankees (Ivan Nova - R), 7:05
Nationals (Jordan Zimmermann - R) at Braves (Derek Lowe - R), 7:10

Day After Night: TAM/CLE, STL/CHC, ARI/SF

Injuries

Day-to-Day

Ryan Braun, OF, MIL - (Ankle) Left Wednesday's game with a bruise after crashing into the wall.
Ike Davis, 1B, NYM - (Calf) Sent back to New York for tests after colliding with David Wright on Tuesday.
Jason Heyward, OF, ATL - (Shoulder) Numbness is gone, expects to miss more than a couple of days.
Grady Sizemore, OF, CLE - Jammed his knee sliding Tuesday (not the surgically repaired one), held out of Wednesday's lineup.
Adam Lind, 1B, TOR - (Back) Reported improvement and was scheduled to hit from a tee Wednesday. Friday return possible.
Nick Markakis, OF, BAL - Scratched from Wednesday's lineup with the flu.
Francisco Liriano, SP, MIN - Left his start Tuesday with an illness.
Jed Lowrie, SS, BOS - Held out of Wednesday's lineup due to illness.
Alexi Ogando, SP, TEX - (Finger) Made his between-starts bullpen session without incident.
Gavin Floyd, SP, CHW - (Foot) Will be part of a six-man rotation through at least June 1.
Joe Blanton, SP, PHI - (Elbow) Bullpen session went well Wednesday; on track for Saturday's start.
Dexter Fowler, OF, COL - Left Tuesday's game after fouling a pitch off of his knee.
Mike Morse, OF, WAS - (Knee) Held out of the lineup again Wednesday.
Rafael Soriano, RP, NYY - (Elbow) MRI revealed inflammation; could play catch Thursday.
Trevor Plouffe, SS, MIN - (Hamstring) DL decision to come Friday.
Brandon Kintzler, RP, MIL - (Triceps) MRI came back clean.

Players on the DL

Chase Utley, 2B, PHI - (Knee) Went 1-for-4 in his first rehab game at High-A Clearwater.
Roy Oswalt, SP, PHI - (Knee) Scheduled to start Tuesday if rehab start Thursday goes well.
Logan Morrison, OF, FLA - (Foot) Went 2-for-4 with a homer in rehab game Wednesday; could return Friday.
Andrew Bailey, RP, OAK - (Forearm) Will pitch in an extended spring training game Saturday.
Vernon Wells, OF, LAA - (Groin) Strain not as bad as previously feared; no timetable for his return.
Scott Rolen, 3B, CIN - (Shoulder) Could return Friday against St. Louis; took BP on Tuesday.
Carlos Ruiz, C, PHI - (Back) Caught five innings at extending spring training Tuesday; eying Friday return.
Brian Matusz, SP, BAL - (Back) Pitched three innings during an extended spring training start Wednesday.
Justin Duchscherer, SP, BAL - (Hip) Scheduled for two-inning simulated game Friday.
Scott Kazmir, SP, LAA - (Back) Threw 100 pitches Monday at extending spring training; still needs rehab assignment.
Jason Repko, OF, MIN - (Quad) May go to Twins' spring training facility to continue rehab this weekend.
Skip Schumaker, 2B, STL - (Elbow) Will resume swinging a bat next week.
Carlos Guillen, 2B, DET - (Knee) Still no timetable for his return to the lineup.
Dallas Braden, SP, OAK - (Shoulder) Will surgery to repair torn capsule, season in doubt.
Jayson Nix, 2B, TOR - (Leg) Could return Sunday or Monday.
J.P. Howell, RP, TAM - (Shoulder) Will make rehab appearance for second straight day Thursday.
Evan Meek, RP, PIT - (Shoulder) Will a week or so away from returning to the Pirates' bullpen.
Zach Braddock, RP, MIL - (Sleep Disorder) Making a rehab start Thursday.
Peter Moylan, RP, ATL - (Back) Out 8-12 weeks following surgery to repair a bulging disk.
Joel Zumaya, RP, DET - (Shoulder) Exploratory surgery didn't reveal any new damage; still might be done for the season.

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

Called Up
Welington Castillo, C, CHC
Vin Mazzaro, SP, KC
Kevin Jepsen, RP, LAA
Trystan Magnuson, RP, OAK
Steve Cishek, RP, FLA

Sent Down
Jeff Gray, RP, CHW
Jerry Blevens, RP, OAK
Frank Herrmann, RP, CLE

Placed on DL
Geovany Soto, C, CHC
Hong-Chih Kuo, RP, LAD
Bruce Chen, SP, KC
Francisco Rodriguez Murillo, LAA
Michael Crotta, RP, PIT

Activated from DL
Jake Peavy, SP, CHW
Carlos Carrasco, SP, CLE
Jose Ascanio, RP, PIT

Closer Watch

Minnesota - Matt Capps gave up three runs on three hits over 1.2 innings Wednesday and threw 33 pitches in the outing. Considering that it was the first time he's been scored against since April 18, the calls for Joe Nathan won't be flooding in just yet. That said, Nathan tossed 1.1 scoreless innings of relief and could be gradually making his way back into the setup picture. Once that happens, he could earn the opportunity to close again if he's able to miss bats and maintain his consistency.

Seattle - Brandon League scuffled again Tuesday, taking the loss and blowing a save chance against the Orioles. Still, with news that David Aardsma has a Grade 2 UCL sprain in his elbow, League is in position to keep the Mariners' closer job for the foreseeable future. Given the lack of effective alternatives currently in the big league bullpen, he should have plenty of leash as long as Aardsma is on the shelf.

Key Matchups

Hot

B.J. Upton* v. Justin Masterson -- 5-for-13 (.385), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2:3 BB:K (1.181 OPS)
Stephen Drew* v. Matt Cain -- 10-for-29 (.345), 3 HR, 7 RBI, 2:4 BB:K (1.146 OPS)
Lyle Overbay v. Jon Garland -- 7-for-19 (.368), 2 HR, 2 RBI, 1:5 BB:K (1.189 OPS)
Ian Desmond v. Derek Lowe -- 5-for-17 (.294), 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2:7 BB:K (1.192 OPS)
Todd Helton v. Jonathon Niese - 6-for-13 (.462), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:1 BB:K (1.154 OPS)
Ryan Spilborghs v. Jonathon Niese - 4-for-12 (.333), 2 HR, 5 RBI, 0:0 BB:K (1.167 OPS)
Troy Tulowitzki v. Jonathon Niese - 5-for-10 (.500), 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2:1 BB:K (1.483 OPS)
Willie Harris v. Ubaldo Jimenez - 5-for-11 (.455), 0 HR, 3 RBI, 2:0 BB:K (1.357 OPS)

James Shields v. Indians -- You wouldn't consider sitting him anyway given his recent tear, but Shields has dominated Cleveland hitters in his career with a .207/.267/.283 line and 28:7 K:BB in 101 career plate appearances against them. He'll be pricey in daily salary cap leagues, but Shields should be worth every penny given the tilt in his favor.

Matt Cain v. D-Backs -- Stephen Drew has his number, but otherwise the D-Backs aren't particularly good against their NL West foe, slashing a combined .230/.314/.382 against him in 186 career plate appearances.

Dan Hudson v. Giants -- It's a small sample size (55 PA), but Giants hitters have a combined
.167/.273/.271 line against Hudson in their limited opportunities against him. Bet the under?

Jason Vargas v. Orioles -- If you're streaming pitchers from the waiver wire and can stomach the idea of using Vargas outside of Safeco Field, this could be a rare opportunity to do so. Baltimore hitters are just .200/.238/.325 against him in 84 career plate appearances.

Derek Lowe v. Nationals -- In the biggest sample size of today's matchups, Lowe has a dominant .180/.219/.318 line against Nats hitters over 236 plate appearances. Jordan Zimmermann has fared well in his limited appearances against the Braves, so it could be a very low scoring affair between the NL East squads.

Cold

Grady Sizemore v. James Shields -- 1-for-15 (.067), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:5 BB:K (.258 OPS)
Travis Hafner v. James Shields -- 2-for-11 (.182), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0:5 BB:K (.523)
Jack Hannahan v. James Shields -- 0-for-10 (.000), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2:4 BB:K (.167 OPS)
Chris Young v. Matt Cain -- 4-for-24 (.167), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:6 BB:K (.408 OPS)
Kelly Johnson v. Matt Cain -- 3-for-21 (.143), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1:4 BB:K (.325 OPS)
Gerardo Parra v. Matt Cain -- 2-for-14 (.143), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2:3 BB:K (.464 OPS)
Adam Jones v. Jason Vargas -- 2-for-12 (.167), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:3 BB:K (.333 OPS)
Nick Markakis v. Jason Vargas -- 1-for-10 (.100), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2:4 BB:K (.350 OPS)
Garrett Jones v. Jon Garland -- 2-for-11 (.182), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:2 BB:K (.439 OPS)
Jerry Hairston v. Derek Lowe -- 7-for-33 (.212), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 2:7 BB:K (.500 OPS)
Ivan Rodriguez v. Derek Lowe -- 7-for-30 (.233), 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1:8 BB:K (.591 OPS)
Adam LaRoche v. Derek Lowe -- 1-for-17 (.059), 1 HR, 5 RBI, 0:3 BB:K (.291 OPS)
Roger Bernadina v. Derek Lowe -- 2-for-12 (.167), 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0:4 BB:K (.417 OPS)
David Wright v. Ubaldo Jimenez - 2-for-10 (.200), 0 HR, 0 RBI, 2:3 BB:K (.533 OPS)

Recommended Pickup

Julio Borbon, OF, TEX - Borbon was a highly coveted player at the draft table last season, only to struggle throughout the year and steal just 15 bases in 137 games after swiping 19 bags in 46 games down the stretch in 2009. Recently, he's made his way into the leadoff spot for manager Ron Washington and while he still isn't showing patience at the plate (three walks in 86 at-bats), Borbon is making contact at an excellent 93 percent clip. For those in deeper formats where stolen bases are at a premium, you could do certainly do worse. Borbon is 11-for-30 (.367) with six runs scored and four steals over his last nine games.

Other recent recommendations: Eric Hosmer, Vance Worley, Mike Fontenot, Erick Aybar

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Draft Street Lineup

C - Matt Wieters, BAL ($3,488)
1B - Lyle Overbay, PIT ($4,622)
2B - Robinson Cano, NYY ($6,379)
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SS - Ian Desmond, WAS ($4,994)
OF - B.J. Upton, TAM ($6,961)
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UT - Ichiro Suzuki, SEA ($6,335)
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