Russell Branyan has been traded back to the Seattle Mariners as they try to get a jump start to their offense. This move has a two pronged effect on fantasy baseball. First it gets Branyan back to a more competitive team and a lineup that offers him more protection and one that he hit 30+ home runs for last season. Second, this gets prospect-turned-bust Matt LaPorta into the starting lineup on an everyday basis at first base. LaPorta has struggled his entire career so far in the major leagues, and I can't say that I expect him to all of a sudden start to mash, but the kid has a ton of talent and you have to think that one of these days he is going to start to hit.
The injuries for the Boston Red Sox continue as Victor Martinez left the game with a fractured thumb. It wasn't bad enough that he took one foul ball to the thumb, but later in the game Martinez took another foul ball in his thumb and the x-rays came back showing a fracture. Just another injury for the Red Sox, and another one to a important position. This will put Jason Varitek back behind the plate who was surprisingly good when he was playing more often.
Bobby Jenks has been placed on the bereavement list and must miss a minimum of three days and a maximum of seven. While his stats haven't been impressive by any stretch, Jenks has been much better than I thought and has held the job longer than I thought. I don't think so, but this could be the small window that someone in the bullpen might need to get their foot in the door to steal saves from Jenks if he was to struggle. Watch to see how saves games this week for them to get an idea of who it might be.
Brett Gardner hit on wrist by a pitch from Clayton Kershaw and left the game. Gardner will have an x-ray and it is too soon to know if he will miss any time, but it didn't look good at the time. However, if it comes back with no bone breaks, he shouldn't miss more than a day or two.
Carlos Beltran is looking like he is close to returning, although it won't be this week. Beltran was hoping to return while the Mets were playing the Marlins in his home of Puerto Rico, but that is not going to happen. I really don't expect him to come back any time soon even though the reports are saying he is close. Beltran's knee has been a problem for a few years now and I don't trust him as far as I can throw him right now.
Pitch and Ditch
Manny Parra vs. Bud Norris (HOU). Parra has been solid since being put back into the Milwaukee rotation and hasn't given up more than three earned runs in any of his four starts in 2010. Parra will face the offensively challenged Astros and Bud Norris who isn't exactly what you would call a strong starting pitcher. I don't really think that Parra is a great pitcher by any stretch, but I like this matchup if you are streaming and looking for a win.
R. A. Dickey vs. Ricky Nolasco (FLA). Dickey continues to roll as he threw eight shutout innings his last time out, but there is absolutely no way that this can continue. Dickey is a journeyman knuckleballer who has bounced around the minors and majors with a sub .500 record and a career ERA over 5.00. However, somehow Dickey is still 6-0 but I am telling you that this has got to come to an end sometime in the very near future.
Chad Billingsley vs. Barry Zito (SF). This will be Billingsley's first start back from a strained groin and he gets a nice outing against a semi-light hitting team in San Francisco. Billingsley has been up and down as a starter this year, but I think he will be a very good starter for the rest of 2010 and should be someone in your lineups going forward as long as he is healthy.
Chase Headley got off to a hot start but has cooled considerably in the month of June to the .200 batting average in the month. If those aren't bad enough odds for you, Headley will face the Colorado Rockies and Ubaldo Jimenez on Monday, giving him one of the least favorable matchups of the day. However, Headley is hitting .333 lifetime against Jimenez and does have a home run off of him. I can't suggest starting many hitters against my man Baldy, but if you for some reason have Headley on your roster, this might not be a bad day to put him in.
Aaron Hill hit his 11th homer of the year on Saturday, and he looks to do more damage this week as they Jays will face the hapless Tribe. Hill is really looking forward to Monday's matchup as he faces Jake Westbrook who he is 4-6 against in his career. I know he has been tough to own this year, but I really think after the All-Star Break you will see a better Hill, or least one with a better batting average, than you did in the first three months of the season.
Tyler Colvin is getting pretty regular playing time now for the Chicago Cubs and he is making the most of it. He hit his 10th homer of the year in just his 67th game, and is definitely making a case to be in the lineup every day. Colvin is a borderline pickup at this point because he isn't quite playing every single day, but you have to start giving him at least some consideration as he is impressing more and more as the season progresses.
Brandon Wood hit a grand slam on Sunday after struggling again with his latest stint with the Angels and his future continues to be one of great fantasy debate. We have talked about this so much, but Wood's potential is so huge, but his actual production to date in the majors has been next to nothing. On Monday he will face Scott Feldman who he is 3-6 against, so if you happen to own Wood, Monday might not be a bad day to put him in.
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