There are a variety of reasons a player could be playing poorly and seemingly even more possibilities for how to fix it. Adjusting their batting stance, warming up differently, or even changing their pre-game meal are all examples of things players do to break out of a slump. Sometimes though, it takes a full change of scenery and a different uniform for a player to get it together. This week we'll highlight a couple examples of this and hit some other line up notes from around the league.
As we discussed and hoped for last week, Mark Ellis was traded to Colorado in exchange for reliever Bruce Billings and a player to be named later. Of course this solidifies Jemile Weeks as the Athletics' starting second baseman, but the unexpected benefit has been the sudden awakening of Ellis' bat with the move to the Rockies. Over his first three games with his new team he's batting .533 with two home runs, twice as many as he hit in the first 62 games of the season with Oakland. Batting second and with no strong competition for playing time at second base he could be a lucrative pickup in fantasy leagues.
Scott Sizemore has been getting consistent playing time at third with his new team in Oakland since being called up from the minors at the beginning of June. He is playing well too, batting .343 with two home runs and six doubles and was recently raised from 9th all the way up to 2nd in the lineup, a move that will surely do wonders for his scoring potential. He doesn't have great career numbers to back up his current play, but maybe the change of scenery has finally helped the young infielder click the light on.
The Dodgers infield is getting a shakeup due to the health status of some of its members. Rafael Furcal is back from the disabled list and will take back the shortstop job from Dee Gordon. He'll bat second behind Tony Gwynn until he knocks off enough rust to take the leadoff spot back. This of course means the end of consistent playing time for Brown at least at the time being, but with Casey Blake going to the DL you figured he would stick around on the major league lineup. Unfortunately that's not the case, as Brown was sent back down to the minors. Hopefully we'll see him again soon. As far as the Casey Blake situation, Juan Uribe will be the team's primary third baseman with Aaron Miles playing second and getting the occasionally start in his place. Uribe batted fifth on Monday with Miles batting sixth.
Ryan Zimmerman is battling some abdominal tenderness, which is concerning because he just had surgery on the area two months ago. Danny Espinosa took over his spot in the lineup in the three-hole due to his hot play as of late, batting .314 with five home runs, 12 RBI and three stolen bases. If Zimmerman's abdomen problems linger and become a bigger issue this could be lucrative for Espinosa owners.
After revamping his swing and going 6-for-13 with two doubles and a triple last week for Triple-A Las Vegas, Travis Snider has been called back up to the majors. He played right field and batted 7th in his first start back, which will likely remain the same until he can prove he really has turned it around and found his swing. Remember, this is a guy who many thought could hit 25 or more home runs this season, so if you're in need of some power Snider is someone well worth picking up in case he comes through this season.