As we near the end of April, the return of a suspended slugger and myriad injuries make up the top moves of this week:
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B - placed on the 15-day DL (left hamstring)
Anthony Rendon, 3B - recalled from Double-A Harrisburg
Impact: The Nats will look at top prospect Anthony Rendon after Ryan Zimmerman landed on the DL with a strained left hamstring on Saturday. Rendon is just 22 and has a total of just 57 minor league games under his belt. Nevertheless, he has shown an ability to hit for some power and to draw a ton of walks (which could be helpful in fantasy leagues that track OBP). He should get regular at-bats until Zimmerman returns, at which point he should be returned to the minors. Zimmerman was hitting just .226 with one home run in 53 at-bats before the injury and isn't expected to miss much more than the minimum 15 days.
Chad Billingsley, RHP - placed on the 15-day DL (right elbow)
Stephen Fife, RHP - recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque
Impact: Billingsley's elbow held up for just two starts before he had to be shut down. The right-hander suffered a partially torn UCL last year, which ended his season about a month early. He opted to avoid surgery last year, but had to go under the knife Wednesday, thus ending his season and likely costing him part of 2014 as well. Fife was called upon to take over Billingsley's spot in the rotation and did not fare well in his first start. The 26-year-old has shown a tendency to give up too many hits throughout his minor league career and is best avoided in most league formats.
Brett Myers, RHP - placed on the 15-day DL (right forearm)
Fernando Nieve, RHP - recalled from Triple-A Columbus (then designated for assignment)
Impact: After a move to the bullpen in 2012, Myers returned to the rotation this year and made a lousy first impression with his new team. The righty was shelled for 14 earned runs in 10.1 innings over his first two appearances with the Indians. He fared a little better over his next two starts, which only brought his ERA down to 8.02. After his last start, he revealed that he had been dealing with tendinitis in his right elbow and has since been diagnosed with a mild UCL sprain. He'll be shut down completely for a couple weeks before he can resume throwing and will probably miss about a month total. Nieve spent one day with the team before being designated for assignment Monday and sent outright to Triple-A Columbus. Corey Kluber was supposed to come out of the bullpen to start Wednesday against the White Sox in Myers' place, but the rainout Tuesday allowed Cleveland to push his start back to next week. Kluber entered the 2013 season with a 5.35 career ERA through 15 appearances (12 starts) and should be avoided in most fantasy leagues.
Ryan Hanigan, C - placed on the 15-day DL (left oblique)
Corky Miller, C - contract purchased from Triple-A Louisville
Impact: The Reds' No. 1 catcher will miss at least a couple weeks with a strained left oblique. The 32-year-old Hanigan appeared in a career-high 112 games last year and hit .274. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, he was lousy in all of the counting stats, hitting just two homers, scoring 25 times and driving in 24 runs, and he has yet to steal a base in his career. Devin Mesoraco will get the majority of the starts behind the dish until Hanigan returns. Mesoraco is just 24 and should hit for a little more power than Hanigan, likely at the expense of batting average. Miller is an aging journeyman backstop who shouldn't have much, if any, fantasy value.
Jhoulys Chacin, RHP - placed on the 15-day DL (back / lat)
Rob Scahill, RHP - recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs
Impact: Chacin was limited to just 14 starts last year due to a shoulder injury, and finished the year 3-5 with a 4.43 ERA. He looked much better through his first four starts this year, as he went 3-0 with a 1.46 ERA. He'll miss at least a couple weeks as he tries to recover from a mild back strain and a strained lat muscle. Tyler Chatwood was recalled Wednesday to take Chacin's spot in the rotation. Chatwood came into the season sporting a 5-6 career record with a lousy 4.96 ERA and a downright ugly 1.66 WHIP. He can safely be avoided in almost all fantasy league formats. Scahill provided the Rockies with an extra bullpen arm for a few days before being sent back down to make room for Chatwood on the roster.
Justin Maxwell, OF - placed on the 15-day DL (left hand)
Robbie Grossman, OF - recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City
Impact: The Astros center fielder fractured his left hand when he was hit by a pitch in Tuesday's game against the Mariners. Maxwell played in a career-high 124 games last year and hit .229 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI. As of yet, there is no timetable for his return. Grossman could get decent playing time in center field, though his minor league numbers suggest he's unlikely to offer much in terms of fantasy value.
Freddie Freeman, 1B - activated from the 15-day DL
Jason Heyward, OF - placed on the 15-day DL (appendectomy)
Impact: Freeman was off to a hot start before landing on the DL with a strained right oblique earlier this month. In his first seven games this year, he batted .381 with a home run and seven RBI. He's just 23, so he's still got plenty of time to get better. Considering he's coming off a year in which he clubbed 23 home runs, scored 91 runs and drove in 94, he could be an exciting player to watch for years to come. Heyward, also 23, will miss at least a couple of weeks after undergoing an emergency appendectomy. He hit 27 homers, scored 93 runs and drove in 82 last year, while also adding 21 stolen bases. He struggled through his first 17 games this year, however, as he managed to hit just .121 with two home runs and five RBI. Reed Johnson and Jordan Schafer should share the right field duties until Heyward returns, though neither is likely to add much value to a fantasy team. Chris Johnson should return to a platoon at third base with Juan Francisco after handling the first-base duties in Freeman's absence.
Franklin Gutierrez, OF - placed on the 15-day DL (right hamstring)
Carlos Peguero, OF - recalled from Triple-A Tacoma
Impact: Gutierrez was off to a pretty decent start with the bat (by his standards) before he landed on the DL with a strained right hamstring. The center fielder came into the 2013 season with a career OPS of less than .700, but was hitting .259 with four home runs and 10 RBI and an .823 OPS through his first 16 games this year. Endy Chavez should get most of the starts in center while Gutierrez is out, but isn't worth a look in most fantasy leagues. Peguero will serve in a backup capacity and likely won't get enough at-bats to have fantasy relevance.
Carlos Quentin, OF - activated from the suspended list
Impact: Quentin finished serving his eight-game suspension for charging the mound on April 11 against Zack Greinke. The injury-prone outfielder and cleanup hitter batted .261 with 16 homers and 46 RBI in 86 games with San Diego last year, but got off to a slow start this year before the suspension. He returns to a .174 average, no home runs and three RBI through 10 games, but could be a decent source of power for the Padres and his fantasy owners. His return should mean a reduction in playing time for the Jesus Guzman and Kyle Blanks, who had been helping fill the left field void while Quentin was unavailable.
Todd Helton, 1B - placed on the 15-day DL (left forearm)
Ryan Wheeler, IF - recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs
Impact: Helton has been about as inconsistent a hitter as anyone in baseball in recent years, batting above .300 in each of the last three odd-numbered years (2007, 2009 and 2011) and below .265 in the even-numbered years (2008, 2010 and 2012). He hit a measly .238 with seven home runs and 37 RBI in his injury-shortened 2012 campaign. Helton had been dealing with inflammation in his forearm for several days before the Rockies finally opted to place him on the DL on Thursday. Jordan Pacheco and Michael Cuddyer will be in the mix at first base, and Ryan Wheeler gives Colorado another option there. Wheeler didn't fare too well with the bat last year in his first taste of big league exposure. The 24-year-old hit just .239 with one home run and 10 RBI in 109 at-bats with Arizona and probably won't do enough or play enough to warrant his addition to a fantasy roster.