In The Field
DH Shohei Ohtani feels good enough to be playing but is waiting on one more check up with the doctors before he starts playing in live games. It remains to be seen how many starts each week he is going to get as he recovers from TJS. What we do know is that he is an above average hitter with power and speed when he plays. OF Mike Trout left Wednesday's game early with a groin injury. He did not play on Friday and is going to sit out the weekend series and get re-evaluated on Sunday. 3B Alex Bregman is day-to-day with a hamstring injury that is not considered to be serious at this point. Bregman is someone that has above average skills across the board but his fantasy value comes from playing 155+ games and accumulating stats. This isn't a dig on Bregman but it highlights the importance of him staying healthy to maintain his value. 1B Justin Smoak has been in and out of the lineup dealing with neck soreness. 1B Rowdy Tellez has been getting regular playing time and should continue even when Smoak returns. The fact is that the Blue Jays offense has been awful to start the year. This isn't likely to improve until both Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette are in the lineup together. Guerrero Jr. was promoted to Triple-A and should be up shortly provided the Blue he hits to start the year. The Blue Jays are looking for any reason to keep him down at this point. 2B Jason Kipnis is close to a return to the Indians lineup which badly needs major league talent. Kipnis had a hot spring prior to getting hurt and is going to play every day for the Indians. He isn't going to light the world on fire but he does hit for a little pop (10-15 HR) and steal bases (6-10). SS Francisco Lindor is running in the outfield and rounding bases which is a positive step in his recovery from calf/ankle injuries. We will get a better sense of his return date once he gets into live action. OF Jay Bruce left Wednesday's game with left Achilles tightness and was not in the lineup Thursday but did return on Friday. 1B Steve Pearce has made his way back to the Red Sox. He will assume the short side of the platoon but does carry value in daily transaction leagues in which you can take advantage of his platoon splits. He also hits in the middle of the loaded Red Sox lineup against LHP. OF Billy Hamilton left Thursday's game with a knee injury. His MRI revealed a sprained MCL and a bone bruise. He was not in the lineup on Friday. The Yankees lineup has been absolutely decimated with injuries. 3B Miguel Andujar is throwing and hitting but is still without a timetable for a return. OF Aaron Hicks is throwing and hitting soft-toss. There is a chance that he returns in early May which would be a huge boost for the Yankees and fantasy owners. C Gary Sanchez was placed on the 10-day IL on Friday with a calf strain. Sanchez was off to a hot start hitting .268 with 6 HR. OF Giancarlo Stanton has been hitting off a tee and soft toss as he recovers from a bicep injury. There is a chance he could return before May which like Hicks would be a huge boost to the Yankees and fantasy owners. OF Clint Frazier will continue to get regular playing time with Hick and Stanton on the IL. Frazier is hitting well with a .321 AVG and 3 HR. He has also cut down on the strikeouts (23%), which is a big positive if he can maintain that over the long haul. OF Eloy Jimenez hit his first two homers of his young career on Friday night. The White Sox top prospect is slashing .319/.360/.468 to start the year. 2B Joey Wendle (hamstring) is expected to be back next weekend which will have fantasy value because it means fewer at-bats for 3B Yandy Diaz and/or 2B Brandon Lowe. We know the Rays love to platoon but they have gone to the extreme this year. The only regulars are OF Kevin Kiermaier, OF Tommy Pham, and SS Willy Adames. This affects guys like OF Avisail Garcia (.349/.391/.465) and OF Austin Meadows (.367/.446/.796) who have both gotten off to hot starts but aren't going to see regular playing time. Meadows is the most valuable because he is on the strong side of the platoon and will see the most at-bats. SS Jordy Mercer was placed on the 10-day IL with a quad injury. 2B Rougned Odor was placed on the 10-day IL on Saturday with a right knee sprain. OF Nick Castellanos was out again Saturday due to a toe injury. The hope is that he will only miss a couple of games before returning.
On the Mound
Andrew Heaney (elbow) is expected to miss a month after the latest update on April 9 regarding his elbow injury. The Angels and fantasy owners could use a full strength Heaney right now with the state of pitching. Clay Buchholz is going to make his debut on Saturday. He is not a great option outside of AL-only leagues. He pitches to contact and there are a number of good offenses in the AL East alone not including hitter-friendly parks. Mike Clevinger (back) isn't going to pick up a baseball for 6-8 weeks. This means an extended absence for Clevinger just as he was showing signs of breaking out even further than his 2018 season. The Indians do not have an immediate replacement available. In years past they have had a starter ready like Shane Bieber or Clevinger himself but this year their top pitching prospect Tristan McKenzie is on the minor league DL. There is no one of note to pick up from the Indians system. Alex Cobb (lumbar strain) has been placed on the 10-day IL and has been shut down from throwing. Nate Karns (forearm strain) was placed on the 10-day IL on April 9. He simply cannot stay healthy. Danny Duffy (shoulder) is throwing but is still weeks away from returning to live games. Luis Severino (shoulder) is going to be shut down from throwing for six weeks. This gives Domingo German a longer leash in the rotation. His surface stats look good (1.64 ERA, 0.91 WHIP) but his walk rate sits at 16%. He has plus stuff with big strikeout upside but he will really need to improve the control.
In The Bullpen
Shawn Armstrong (oblique) threw a scoreless inning on Wednesday at Triple-A. He was activated before Friday's game. This is going to make the Mariners closer situation even more interesting. Anthony Swarzak has two saves since coming off the IL but Roenis Elias also picked up a save this week. Armstrong looked like he had closer stuff (26% K, 5% BB, 11% SwStr) in his limited action last year so he could contend for saves as well. Dellin Betances (shoulder) did not feel right while throwing on Thursday and went for an MRI on Friday, which is bad news. Ryan Brasier picked up the save for the Red Sox on Friday night. It looks like Matt Barnes is going to be used in high leverage situations with Brasier being the closer.
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