Here's a look at the transactions this week that had the most important fantasy impact.
Howard Kendrick, 2B – placed on the 15-day DL (hamstring)
Russell Branyan, 1B – signed as a free agent
Impact: Kendrick has been terrific at the plate this season, hitting .322 with seven home runs. He strained his right hamstring, forcing him to miss several games, and it was hoped that he would avoid going on the DL. The injury is not serious, so he shouldn't miss much more than the 15-day minimum. Maicer Izturis and Alexi Amarista should share the second-base duties, but with Izturis already playing almost every day before Kendrick's injury, his fantasy value should not be affected. Branyan was released by the D-Backs last Saturday and gives the Halos a left-handed bat off the bench. He could also see some time at DH and first base.
Josh Hamilton, OF – activated from the 15-day DL
Nelson Cruz, OF – activated from the 15-day DL
Chris Davis, IF – optioned to Triple-A Round Rock
Taylor Teagarden, C – optioned to Triple-A Round Rock
Impact: The Rangers lineup got a huge boost as both Hamilton and Cruz returned to action this week. Hamilton was out since April 13 when he fractured his right humerus bone while sliding into home plate. Cruz was out about two and a half weeks with a strained muscle in his shoulder. Both players have been top offensive performers when healthy, but have each had their share of injuries over the last few years. Hamilton will be used as a DH for the time being, with Michael Young playing first base and Mitch Moreland staying in right field. Craig Gentry and Endy Chavez both figure to lose playing time due to these two additions.
Phil Coke, LHP – placed on the 15-day DL (ankle)
Adam Wilk, LHP – called up from Triple-A Toledo
Impact: Coke seems to have handled the transition from reliever to starter very well thus far, posting an ERA of 3.81 and a WHIP of 1.23 through 11 appearances (nine starts). He will miss a couple of weeks with a bruised right ankle, and despite speculations to the contrary, will return to the rotation when he's healthy. Wilk joins the Tigers bullpen, and Andrew Oliver is expected to be called up to take Coke's turn in the rotation Saturday.
Jason Heyward, RF – placed on the 15-day DL (shoulder)
Wilkin Ramirez, OF – called up from Triple-A Gwinnett
Impact: Heyward put together a solid rookie campaign last season, showing a nice combination of power and speed, while hitting a respectable .277. Although his average was down, he still managed to hit seven long balls in 45 games before being placed on the DL with stiffness in his right shoulder. Eric Hinske and Joe Mather should get most of the playing time in right field while Heyward is out of commission. Both have been very impressive with the bat so far this season, but have put up unremarkable numbers throughout their careers.
Marlon Byrd, OF – placed on the 15-day DL (face)
Justin Berg, RHP – recalled from Triple-A Iowa
Impact: Byrd is lucky to have sustained only some bruising in his eye after being hit in the face by an Alfredo Aceves fastball Saturday. He should miss significant time while he recovers from one of the scariest incidents of this season. Reed Johnson replaced Byrd after he was removed from the game and figures to get the majority of the playing time in center field while Byrd is out. Johnson has been a solid but unremarkable offensive performer over the years and probably only has value in deep leagues. Berg gives the Cubs bullpen an extra arm.
Matt Garza, RHP – placed on the 15-day DL (elbow)
Lou Montanez, OF – called up from Triple-A Iowa
Impact: Despite a 2-4 record, Garza has easily been the Cubs' best starting pitcher this season. The Cubs will have to make do without him for at least a couple of weeks as he recovers from a bone contusion in his right elbow. Randy Wells is expected to be activated from the DL to take Garza's turn in the rotation Saturday. Wells put together a decent 2010 campaign after a very good 2009 and should have some fantasy value if he stays healthy. Montanez should get a fair amount of playing time in the outfield with Marlon Byrd on the DL and Kosuke Fukudome sitting against lefties. He has put up mediocre numbers in more than 90 major league games, so his fantasy value should be limited.
Rafael Furcal, SS – activated from the 15-day DL
Juan Uribe, 3B – placed on the 15-day DL (hip)
Impact: The Dodgers lost one infielder to injury just as they got another one back. Furcal missed six weeks due to a broken thumb and has looked very rusty at the plate since his return Sunday. He can usually be counted on for a solid batting average and a decent number of stolen bases and runs scored, but it may take him some time to get back into the swing of things (pun intended). Uribe will miss a couple of weeks due to a hip-flexor strain and should return as soon as the minimum 15 days are up. Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles have been solid with the bat (though with no home runs between them). They will handle the duties at second and third base until Uribe and injured third baseman Casey Blake return (which should be this weekend).
Buster Posey, C – placed on the 15-day DL (leg)
Chris Stewart, C – called up from Triple-A Fresno
Impact: Posey's season is likely done after he fractured a bone in his left leg during a collision while blocking home plate. The 24-year-old catcher was the Giants cleanup hitter and a key part of their offence. Eli Whiteside now becomes their primary catcher, with Stewart serving as backup. Whiteside appears to be average or slightly below average offensively for a catcher, but he could be worth a look in deep leagues unless the Giants pick up another replacement.
Adam LaRoche, 1B – placed on the 15-day DL (shoulder)
Rick Ankiel, OF – activated from the 15-day DL
Impact: LaRoche had been about as consistent as anyone in baseball, hitting exactly 25 home runs in each of the last three years and driving in between 80 and 100 runs a year each of the last five seasons. His bat was unusually quiet over the first month and a half of this year, however, and LaRoche was recently diagnosed with a torn labrum in his left shoulder that could require season-ending surgery. Ankiel missed a few weeks due to soreness in his right wrist and now has to battle for playing time in the outfield with the likes of Roger Bernadina, Laynce Nix and Brian Bixler. Mike Morse should get most of the playing time at first base in LaRoche's absence after being used mostly as a left fielder this season.
Chase Utley, 2B – activated from the 15-day DL
Pete Orr, 2B – optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley
Impact: Utley has been one of baseball's top offensive second basemen when he's been healthy. Unfortunately, the once-durable Utley has now seen back-to-back seasons marred by injury. His return should give the Phillies offense a huge boost, as his replacements Wilson Valdez and Pete Orr were terrible offensively. As long as his name continues to appear on the lineup card, and not on the DL, expect Utley to put up his usual top-tier numbers.
Joe Blanton, RHP – placed on the 15-day DL (elbow)
Vance Worley, RHP – recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley
Impact: Blanton has been unimpressive as "the other guy" in the Phillies rotation this season. His injury allows the Phillies to get another look at Worley, who did very well in his earlier stint with the team this year and also in five appearances last year. Worley's minor league numbers have been unremarkable, so it would seem unlikely for him to continue that success for an extended period, however. Still, he could do well enough to make him worth picking up in deep leagues.
Jorge De La Rosa, LHP – placed on the 15-day DL (elbow)
Bruce Billings, RHP – recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs
Impact: It's not often that a pitcher is able to improve his ERA five years in a row, but De La Rosa has done just that. In 2006 he was terrible, posting an ERA of 6.49, but that mark has gotten better every year since then, decreasing to 3.51 this year. He will finish his 2011 season with that 3.51 ERA, as he will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, possibly next week. Aaron Cook is set to come off the DL as early as May 30 to fill the vacant spot in the rotation, but he should not be worth owning in most fantasy leagues due to his mediocre ratios and terrible strikeout numbers. Billings will work in relief for Colorado.