Here's a look at the transactions this week that had the most important fantasy impact.
Brandon McCarthy, RHP – activated from the 15-day DL
Josh Outman, LHP – optioned to Triple-A Sacramento
Impact: McCarthy did not appear in a major league game last season, as he spent part of the year in the minors and the rest of it suffering from a right shoulder injury. He began the 2011 season in the A's rotation, and pitched well in nine starts before being shut down for a month and a half due to more shoulder woes. A lack of offensive support has limited him to just one win, which when combined with his below-average strikeout rate makes him a risky fantasy pick. Outman is another pitcher who missed all of 2010, but he pitched well in eight starts with the A's this year.
Juan Rivera, OF – designated for assignment
Travis Snider, OF – recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas
Impact: Rivera became expendable after Eric Thames earned himself a regular role in the Jays' outfield with his hot bat. Toronto cut Rivera loose on his 33rd birthday, as they needed to make room in the outfield for Travis Snider. For the third straight season, Snider started this year as a regular in the Jays' outfield before being sent to the minors mid-season. His overall numbers over the last couple of years have been decent, and he has the potential to be a nice addition to a fantasy team. The Jays have received several inquiries regarding Rivera, so it would appear that he will be picked up by another team. If he gets regular playing time (which would seem unlikely due to his shoddy defence), he's a solid bat worthy of a look in deep leagues.
Albert Pujols, 1B – activated from the 15-day DL
Brian Tallet, LHP – placed on the 15-day DL (intercostal)
Impact: Pujols was out just two weeks with a broken wrist, returning about a month earlier than was originally expected. He returns to a .279 average, 17 home runs and 45 RBI. Tallet was unimpressive in 18 relief appearances and fell victim to one of the year's most bizarre injuries. He's out with a right intercostal strain caused by a violent sneeze.
Fausto Carmona, RHP – placed on the 15-day DL (quad)
Chris Perez, RHP – activated from the bereavement list
Impact: After two lousy seasons in 2008 and 2009, Carmona looked like he was finally back on track last year, as he finished with a decent ERA of 3.77 over 33 starts. Unfortunately, the wheels fell off again this year for Carmona, as he posted a 4-10 record and 5.78 ERA through 18 starts before landing on the DL with a strained right quadriceps muscle. Due to the All-Star break, he's expected to miss only one start, but it would appear unlikely that he'll be a reliable fantasy asset when he returns. Perez missed the series in Cincinnati as he attended his grandmother's funeral. He's been highly effective as the team's closer and quickly picked up two saves in the series against the Yankees upon his return.
Matt LaPorta, 1B – activated from the 15-day DL
Josh Judy, RHP – optioned to Triple-A Columbus
Impact: LaPorta's numbers haven't been overly impressive this season, especially for a first baseman. Nevertheless, he posted good numbers while coming up through the minors, so he may just need some more seasoning at the major league level. Carlos Santana saw a lot of time at first base while LaPorta was out and will return to catching, cutting into the playing time of light-hitting catcher Lou Marson. Judy made three relief appearances with the Tribe, giving up a run in four innings.
Mike Napoli, C-1B – activated from the 15-day DL
Taylor Teagarden, C – optioned to Triple-A Round Rock
Impact: Since 2008, Napoli has been one of baseball's top power-hitting catchers, as he slugged at least 20 homers in each of the past three seasons. To start this season, he hit 10 bombs in just 46 games as the Rangers' backup catcher and first baseman. Although it seems unlikely that he'll receive regular playing time, his eligibility at catcher and his power numbers make him worth owning in most leagues. Tegarden appeared in just nine games with the Rangers.
Jon Lester, LHP – placed on the 15-day DL (lat)
Scott Atchison, RHP – recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket
Impact: The Red Sox rotation has suffered yet another casualty, as their staff ace has landed on the DL. Lester was removed from his start on Tuesday due to soreness after no-hitting the Blue Jays through four innings. The injury has since been revealed to be a strained latissimus muscle, and there is no word yet on how long Lester is expected to be out. Alfredo Aceves is expected to hold down Lester's spot in the rotation, but with his low strikeout rate, he's a risky fantasy option.
Derek Jeter, SS – activated from the 15-day DL
Chris Dickerson, OF – optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Impact: Jeter can now continue his pursuit of 3,000 hits, as he was just six hits shy of the mark before his trip to the DL a couple of weeks ago. He appears to be a player on the decline, as his .270 batting average last season was the lowest of his career. That mark has dropped even farther this season, causing his fantasy value to drop along with it. With Eduardo Nunez experiencing hamstring issues, the Yankees decided to keep infielder Ramiro Pena on their roster, while sending Chris Dickerson back to Triple-A. Dickerson appeared in 31 games with the Yankees and was used primarily as a late-inning defensive replacement, picking up only 20 at-bats.
Ivan Nova, RHP – optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Lance Pendleton, RHP – recalled from, and then optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
Phil Hughes, RHP – activated from the 60-day DL
Impact: Hughes was terrible to begin the season, as he gave up 16 earned runs in just 10.1 innings over three starts. His ineffectiveness was largely due to a decrease in velocity, and he ended up being shut down for a few months due to shoulder inflammation. In his first start upon his return from the DL on Wednesday, he put together a solid performance against the Indians. His velocity appears to have returned, so he should be able to help out a fantasy team, barring any further setbacks. Nova was 8-4, but was one of the Yankees' worst starters overall, making him the odd man out of the rotation. Pendleton gave the Yankees an extra bullpen arm for the couple of days between Nova's demotion and Hughes' activation.
Casey Blake, 3B – placed on the 15-day DL (neck)
Rafael Furcal, SS – activated from the 15-day DL
Impact: Dodgers infielders have had their share of injuries this season, as regulars Blake, Furcal and Juan Uribe have spent time on the disabled list. Their injuries have allowed Jamey Carroll and Aaron Miles to receive a lot more playing time than the Dodgers had originally anticipated entering the season. The pair have hit well, despite hitting only one home run between them. They'll continue to get a chance to play while Blake is out with a neck injury. Furcal has been terrible offensively this season, but could help out a fantasy team in runs and stolen bases if he gets back on track.
Jose Reyes, SS – placed on the 15-day DL (hamstring)
Nick Evans, 1B-OF – recalled from Triple-A Buffalo
Impact: Reyes has been on fire all season, hitting .354 with 65 runs scored and 30 stolen bases. He will now have to take some time off to heal his strained left hamstring, and the doctor who examined him recommended at least three weeks of recovery time. Light-hitting Ruben Tejada will be the regular at shortstop and should probably be avoided in most league formats. Evans was 0-for-12 in an earilier stint with the team and should provde some bench depth.
Clayton Richard, LHP – placed on the 15-day DL (shoulder)
Luke Gregerson, RHP – activated from the 15-day DL
Impact: Richard has benefitted from playing in San Diego's spacious ballpark the last couple of years, maintaining an ERA below four since coming over from the White Sox. A low strikeout rate and a high WHIP have kept him from being a dependable fantasy option, but he usually gives his team a chance to win whenever he takes the mound. Richard will miss some time with a strained left shoulder, and Aaron Harang could be activated in time to take his turn in the rotation Saturday. Gregerson is a quality setup man who puts up nice ratios while racking up a ton of strikeouts.