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MLB Barometer: Hanson's Rotator Cuff

Andrew Martinez

Andrew Martinez

Andrew Martinez writes about baseball and football, in addition to hosting the award winning RotoWire Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio. He is a native Texan and roots for the Astros, Texans, Rockets, and Rice Owls.

I'm filling in for Kevin this week, who is on vacation. He should be back next week.

Upgrades:

Chris Marrero, 1B, WAS - With the Nationals well out of the race in NL East, Marrero was brought up this week to get a look over the final month of the season. At Triple-A Syracuse this season, he hit .300/.375/.449 over 546 plate appearances with 14 homers and 3 stolen bases. He's not considered an elite prospect and is just filling the role that Adam LaRoche will next season, when he's back healthy. In that scenario, Mike Morse will play LF, so that's where he will shift to for now, while Marrero is up. He likely will have little value in mixed leagues, but he's worth a shot as a corner-infielder in NL leagues.

Logan Morrison, OF, FLA - After spending 10 days in the minors, Morrison came back up this week and reclaimed his spot in the Marlins lineup. The more that I think about, I'm not sure I know why it was that he was demoted in the first place. Moreover, I'm not sure even Morrison himself knows why he was demoted. I do know that many were quick to come to his defense and claim that the team was crazy to send him to the minors. What some of those people might not realize is that he hit .206 over the months of June and July. At any rate, he has good power (18 homers and a .467 slugging percentage) and is young enough (23 years old) to figure things out. Don't let Jack McKeon's old school mentality and aversion to Twitter dissuade you from keeping him active in your lineup.

Jordan Schafer, OF, HOU - The trade that sent Michael Bourn to Atlanta also sent Schafer to Houston. He's been on the mend since coming over as he's dealt with a finger injury on the DL. This week he was activated and should see plenty of playing time in center field for the struggling club. That likely pushes Jason Bourgeois to a bench or utility role. So far Schafer has shown decent speed with 15 stolen bases while with the Braves over 196 at-bats and two stolen bases with the Astros over just 21 at-bats. If you're looking for some cheap speed over the final month, Schafer is someone to consider.

Eric Surkamp, SP, SF - With Jonathan Sanchez headed to the DL, the Giants turned to Surkamp to fill the void in their rotation. Over 142.1 innings at Double-A Richmond, he had a 2.02 ERA with 165 strikeouts, 44 walks, and just 5 home runs given up. In his debut on Saturday night, he allowed just 1 earned run over 6 innings to the lowly Astros with 4 strikeouts and 3 walks. There's talk that he could hang around in the rotation based on how he performs, so so-far, so-good. I'd take a look at him, if you need pitching help in an NL league.

Dayan Viciedo, 1B/3B/OF, CWS - It seems like we've been waiting all season for Viciedo to come up and help out the White Sox offensive. Finally this week, a shoulder injury to Carlos Quentin served as the impetus to bring the prospect up. At Triple-A Charlotte he hit .297/.365/.490 over 504 at-bats with 20 homers. Defensively he'll likely shift around from 1B to 3B and some OF as Ozzie Guillen tries to get him at bats. I'm not sure if he still qualifies as a rookie, considering he spent more than 45 days on the team's active roster last season, before the September call-ups started. Either way, you'll want to add him in most AL leagues and deep mixed leagues, as he should hit for power.

Check Status:

Cole Hamels, SP, PHI - Weather permitting, Hamels is set to come off the DL in the coming days, after dealing with inflammation in his shoulder. Prior to landing on the shelf, he had complained of a dead arm issue that caused him to have trouble getting loose before starts. The team tried to give him time to rest by skipping one of his starts, but at that point he needed more time than that allowed for, so he was put on the DL. Normally, I let a pitcher make his first start back on my DL or bench, before I activate him and I'd probably do the same here as he's slated to face a Reds team that has been swinging the bat well lately.

Hanley Ramirez, SS, FLA - Ramirez dealt with a left shoulder injury for the better part of this month and is set to come off the DL sometime this week. He injured it, while trying to make an over-the-shoulder grab while drifting into the outfield. Since then, he's been on the mend, trying to get his shoulder healthy enough so that he can make it back for the final month of the season. He went on a rehab assignment over the weekend and could rejoin the team this week based on how he feels and what the weather is doing. Check to see how his rehab assignments are going before activating him, especially if you're in a weekly league.

Jose Reyes, SS, NYM - Hamstring injuries seem to be something that Reyes has dealt with this entire season as he tries to make his way back from an injury filled 2010 season. This time around, he's taken nearly three weeks to overcome a left hamstring strain. The plan is for him to come off the DL as early as Monday, but with the weather being what it is on the East Coast, there's no telling how that may have affected his timetable. His inability to stay healthy over a full season will surely affect his free agency this winter. For now, check to see when it is that he gets activated and what the reports are on his ability to run at full speed, before putting him back in your lineup.

Sergio Romo, RP, SF - Romo should come off the DL this Sunday, after dealing with inflammation in his right elbow. With Brian Wilson still out, Romo could see some save opportunities, so he bears watching. Currently, the team is going with Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, and Ramon Ramirez in their late inning/high leverage situations. Once Romo shows manager Bruce Bochy that he can handle being back out there though, Romo could become the team's main closer. Check to see how the team uses him and the rest of the bullpen, once he's back.

Huston Street, RP, COL - Street came back this week from the DL to find that Rafael Betancourt had taken the closer's job and made it his own. Manager Jim Tracy confirmed this, saying that Betancourt was doing a good job in the role and that he didn't want to switch things up just because Street was back. The funny thing is, in Street's first game back, Betancourt blew the save on a James Loney home run. I think that puts us much closer to Street going back into his old role sooner, but Betancourt probably has some leash left. Monitor this situation, before cutting Betancourt and thinking Street is back in the saddle again.

Kevin Youkilis, 3B, BOS - Youkilis is currently on the DL with a sore back that has nagged at him all season long. Hopefully the rest allows it to quiet down and for him to get back to swinging the bat like he's accustomed to. The plan is for him to go on a rehab assignment early this week with the goal of activating him by the weekend. He was struggling this month, before going on the DL with a .209/.306/.442 batting line. Check his status this week, before getting him back in your lineup.

Injuries:

Michael Brantley, OF, CLE - Brantley finally hit the DL this week, after dealing with a sore wrist for the majority of this month. How exactly he hurt his wrist is unknown, but he's been with tendinitis, among other things in that wrist of his. It's a very real possibility that he doesn't come back this season, as he'll be eligible to come back with only a few weeks left in the season. It's a shame too because before this injury, he had really helped owners out with 63 runs and 13 stolen bases with a modest .266/.318/.384 batting line. I'd probably cut him in re-draft leagues, if I couldn't find a spot for him on my DL because even if he does come back before the season ends, how will his wrist injuries affect his swing at the plate?

Francisco Liriano, SP, MIN - A strained left shoulder finally got the better of Liriano this week as he hit the DL. A MRI revealed no serious damage, but he could still miss the last month of season as he works his way back to 100%. It's been an up-and-down season for Liriano as he's dealt with a drop in velocity with his fastball (91.8 mph), a spike in his walk rate (4.98 BB/9), and the no-hitter back in May. I wouldn't say cutting him is the best plan of action, but if you can't stash him on your DL and you're in a re-draft league, there's really no reason to hold on to him for what could be just 1 or 2 starts.

Carlos Quentin, OF, CWS - After dealing with a sprained shoulder, Quentin was finally put on the DL this week. An MRI didn't reveal any serious damage, so he could be back as soon as the September 5. Prior to the injury, he had been hitting .255/.341/.501 over 481 plate appearances with 24 homers and 77 RBI. In the meantime, expect Dayan Viciedo and Alejandro De Aza to take over for him.

Colby Rasmus, OF, TOR - Rasmus jammed his right wrist this past week and landed on the DL. At first he just missed a couple of games, thinking the injury might get better, but it never did. He's expected to miss the normal 15 days, but there's no need to rush him back as the team is well out of the playoff race. He had been in a funk for pretty much the entire season, before coming over to the Blue Jays at the deadline. Since then, he's done no better as he has hit .216/.239/.398 batting line with 3 homers over 88 at-bats. It's clear he has power, but how much of that returns with this injury is something to monitor.

Downgrades:

Tommy Hanson, SP, ATL - The good news is that he won't need surgery on his shoulder. The bad news is that he has a small rotator cuff tear in that shoulder. Exactly how much rest the team gives him down the stretch is yet to be seen, but they'll surely want him back and ready to go before the playoffs start. I wouldn't cut him in any of my leagues, but I wouldn't be expecting him back any time soon either.

Jordan Lyles, SP, HOU - Lyles was optioned back to Triple-A Oklahoma City this week so that the team can monitor his innings as he pitches out of the bullpen. While this isn't a huge downgrade to his stock as he wasn't pitching that well while he was up (5.02 ERA and 1.38 WHIP), it clearly knocks him off radars in NL leagues, where he was most likely be used. After pitching 158.2 innings last season, he's at 150 right now, so there might not many more bullets left in that gun. It's conceivable that he comes back up when rosters expand and vultures perhaps one or two saves away from Mark Melancon, but it's not worth betting on at this point.

Ryan Lavarnway, C/DH, BOS - With Papi back up, Lavarnway was sent back down to the minors this week. While he was up, he went 7-23 with 2 doubles, 3 RBI, 3 runs, 4 walks, and 6 strikeouts. This is more of a temporary downgrade than anything as he should be back up when rosters expand. At least he was able to show the team that he can hit, when pressed into action. When he does come back up, it'll likely be only as depth for Papi, so don't count on him seeing many starts.

You can follow me on Twitter @andtinez

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