The home stretch is upon is us! Head-to-head leagues are juggling for playoff positioning, roto leagues are battled for 0.5 points in WHIP every single day and the rebuild is on for others. Oh, those are just my leagues. As we close in on the final eight weeks of the season an injury at this point — or a stud pitcher or slugger coming back — can tip the scales in many a fantasy leagues.
Anthony Rendon, Nationals: Fellow Rendon owners, rejoice! The Nationals activated the second/third baseman from the 15-day disabled list yesterday after he missed time due to a left quad strain. A left knee issue forced Rendon to miss time earlier, and as a result he has a mere 80 plate appearances to his name this season. He started at second base and returned to his normal No. 2 spot in the lineup. As a result of missing so much time, we’ve seen Rendon’s counting stats take a nose dive, though his rate stats — small sample warning, etc. — have looked good. A .280 batting average with five to eight home runs seems attainable.
Billy Burns, Athletics: There isn’t a nice way to say this, but Burns was removed from Friday’s game after injuring a particularly sensitive area. A foul ball off of his bat was the culprit in what is being called a testicular contusion, and let’s be honest, no one is going to play through that. He sat out Saturday’s game as well, though he shouldn’t need a stint on the DL. Of course, if any injury would want to make me miss 15 days of work, well, this may be it.
Corey Dickerson, Rockies: In the wake of the his breakout 2014 campaign, the only thing that has slowed Dickerson down this year have been injuries. Two separate stints on the disabled list, most recently due to plantar fasciitis have limited the slugger to 137 plate appearances and 39 games. The Rockies activated Dickerson on Friday, where he promptly went 2-for-3 with a walk from the sixth spot in the lineup. Get him back in your weekly lineups and consider him a worthy DFS target once again.
Freddie Freeman, Braves: Sticking with the good news first, the first baseman has returned to action! The Braves activated the Half-Life protagonist after the bone bruise on his right wrist healed up. He joined the team in St. Louis yesterday, though was not in the starting lineup.
Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox: Wellp, gain a MI eligible player in Rendon, lose a MI eligible player in Pedroia. An aggravated right hamstring has forced the second baseman to the 15-day disabled list. It’s the same injury that placed Pedroia on the shelf from late to June til the All-Star break, so this is just recent history repeating itself. I’d expect to see the Sawx send Pedroia on a rehab assignment before being activated, something they did not do the first time.
Jaime Garcia, Cardinals: The southpaw is likely to be activated in time to start Tuesday’s game at home versus the Reds. A groin injury has kept Garcia out of the rotation for more than month, and as serious as the groin region can be — just ask Billy Burns — it isn’t as bad an elbow or shoulder issue.
Wily Peralta, Brewers: Apparently Tuesday is the day for injured NL Central starters to come back, as the Brewers will have Peralta take the mound in San Francisco. It seems as though Mike Fiers will have his start pushed back a day as the Brew Crew go to a six-pack rotation for a bit.
Michael Cuddyer, Mets: After a running battle that lasted multiple weeks, the Mets finally placed the outfielder on the DL with a bone bruise on his left knee. To take Cuddyer’s roster spot, the club called up outfield prospect Michael Conforto. The Confortionist went 0-for-3 with an RBI in his debut, but he is just 22-years-old. I’d consider grabbing Conforto in any 12-team mixed league or deeper. Also of note, in order to make room for Conforto on the 40-man roster, the Mets placed David Wright on the 60-day DL. For those of you who were still holding on to the third baseman, as a Disney character drilled into our brains, let it go.
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: Baby steps for Cabrera! The first baseman has been cleared for baseball related activities and is traveling with the team. No word on when a rehab assignment will come his way, however he still projects to be back around the middle of August. Given that speed isn’t a critical part of Cabrera’s game, his calf injury shouldn’t slow him down too much more. As the brilliant Jonah Keri once said, Cabrera running is like a Molina brother strapped to two other Molina brothers. Sure, that was said in 2013 when Cabby was battling a variety of injuries, but the line is still applicable even when he’s healthy.
Dee Gordon, Marlins: Speaking of injured speedsters, Gordon is expected to take batting practice in the near future. His dislocated left thumb forced him to the disabled list earlier this month, and I’m optimistic we’ll see him before the end of the month.
Travis d’Arnaud, Mets: The catcher has been hit with a delay in his rehab assignment, though it’s hard to blame him for it. A number of rainouts have slowed down his progression, however he did manage to catch five innings at Double-A Binghamton. Count on the Mets still maintain he’ll be ready to join the team at some point this week.
Adam Lind, Brewers: When Lind exited Saturdays game, the #HugWatch was on. He wasn’t traded, at least not yet, and was instead lifted due to lower back tightness. With this potential injury, it puts the Brewers in a pretty tough spot if they are in fact trying to move him. It’s still too early to tell if Lind will require a trip to the DL, but I would at least expect him to sit out today’s afternoon game.
Drew Smyly, Rays: The happy face is slated to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham today. A torn left labrum earlier this year made me think Smyly would be out for the season, but apparently the rest + rehabbing route has worked out. No word on exactly how long the left-hander will be rehabbing for, but I’d expect a minimum of three outings. If you were to stash him now, I couldn’t blame you.