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NL Player Daily Notes - April 19, 2012

Joe Ribando

We start off this Thursday's Quick Pitch with injury news from around the National League. Chris Young was placed on the disabled list with a slight ligament tear in his shoulder. Its the first time he has been on the disabled list in his 6-year career and it was probably the best precautionary move to avoid anything more serious. Lance Berkman was removed from the game on Wednesday with an injured calf. He has already missed a few games with this injury and it doesn't seem to be going away. I wouldn't be surprised to see a DL stint. Omar Infante was a late-scratch for the Marlins with a groin injury and he is definitely going to be out of the lineup on Thursday. It sounds like a couple of days of rest will avoid a longer DL trip, so he should be ready to go for the weekend. Moving on to on-field performances, Dan Uggla got his first HR of the season and is hopefully on his way to his 6th straight 30+ HR season. He's off to another cold start, but he doesn't look as lost as he did in last year's first half that yielded a 185/.257/.365. Another bad start for Mat Latos that really hurt fantasy totals in weekly leagues. He allowed 8 ER, 3 BB, and 9 H in 5.2 IP. Latos had a slow start in 2011 last year and has too much upside to make any rash decisions. Feel free to bench until he turns it around, but try to be patient with Latos and I'm confident it will pay off. Matt Cain was masterful again on Wednesday. He hurled his second straight 9.0 IP scoreless, but didn't factor into the win. At 27 and in a contract year, expect big things. Moving to closers, Santiago Casilla will be the guy in SF (at least for now) as Bruce Bochy indicated Casilla will get a majority of the save opportunities with Brian Wilson out for the year. Grab him if you need saves and remember that Sergio Romo would be the next in line for opportunities. In Washington, Henry Rodriguez should get more save opportunities with Brad Lidge suffering from vertigo spells. In L.A., Javy Guerra blew his first save of the year on Wednesday. While Kenley Jansen proponents will start calling for Guerra's head, Manager Don Mattingly has issued his vote of confidence in Guerra for the 9th inning job. Guerra is 5-for-6 in save opportunities with a 2.84 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and 6 K's in 6.1 IP. No reason to jump ship. At the plate, Dee Gordon is struggling to get on base with just a .207 average and .269 OBP. Even with that low OBP, he still leads the league with 8 steals, but unless he can improve, he may lose his job as leadoff man. Carlos Beltran is swinging a hot bat to start 2012 with 5 HR. He killed RHP last year and in total posted a XBH% over 11.0. Health is always a risk for Beltran, but if he can stay healthy he looks like he's back to putting up big numbers.

1. Chris Young (OF - Diamondbacks) - Chris Young was officially placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday after injuring his shoulder crashing into the wall. We'll wait to see what the MRI reveals, but for now AJ Pollock was the guy who got the call from Triple-A Reno to take his place on the roster. This injury comes at a really bad time as Chris Young was off to a great start to begin 2012. He was hitting .410/.500/.897 with 5 HR, 13 RBI, and 6 BB : 5 K's. Let's keep our fingers crossed that the injury isn't too serious and that he returns in the minimum amount of time.

2. Dan Uggla (2B - Braves) - I may have been just as concerned as you at Dan Uggla's slow start. After all, his first half last year was absolutely dreadful with a .185/.257/.365. It looked like Uggla was bound for another poor day when RA Dickey took the mound. After all, Uggla was just 1-for-24 against the Knuckleballer heading into yesterday's game. But Uggla took Dickey deep to break the bad spell and to record his first HR of the season. Now that he has the first one out of the way, I expect him to play catch-up over the next few weeks as he aims for 6 straight seasons of 30+ HRs.

3. Lance Berkman (1B - Cardinals) - Lance Berkman reinjured his calf on Wednesday and had to leave the game in the 5th inning. He has already missed a handful of games this year because of this injury and it now it looks like it might put him on the shelf some more. When he's in the lineup, he is hitting going 8-for-23 to start the season and picking up from his 2011. But at 36, injuries may be creeping in a bit more often so he'll remain an injury risk. Keep an eye on the situation over the next day or so to see if the Cards play it safe and place him on the DL.

4. Mat Latos (SP - Reds) - I was pretty high on Latos coming into 2012, but three straight poor starts has me a bit concerned. Another non-QS last night and his worst of the season, allowing 8 ER, 9 H, and 3 BB in 5.2 IP to bring his record to 0-2. But don't forget that Latos started 2011 off slowly as well and then turned it around in the 2nd half. Last year, he posted a 4.04 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP in the first half and followed it up with a 2.87 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in the 2nd. That also includes a slight K/9 increase from 8.3 to 8.9. Give Latos a few more starts to warm-up, but don't just cut him loose at this point and try to stay patient. He's a big K guy that should post a K/I of 1.0 over a full season.

5. Santiago Casilla (RP - Giants) - At first the Giants considered going with a closer-by-committee situation, but Santiago Casilla will be the main go-to guy in the 9th inning for the Giants with Brian Wilson's season over. Manager Bruce Bochy indicated he will get most of the opportunities and Casilla is worth the claim right away. While Sergio Romo would be the next in line if Casilla struggles, I don't think he will. He puts up excellent K/9 rate (8.0 for his career) and handled the job pretty well last September by earning 4 saves while Wilson was out of action. With closers coming and going quickly this year, grab saves while you can.

Follow us on Twitter all year: @Fantistics and @jribando

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