News:Cole Hamels takes line drive to pitching shoulder
Views: Rough month for the reigning World Series MVP. First the elbow issues, now a line-drive to the pitching shoulder. Dude's got to start praying to Hotei or something before he gets the plague. The Phils are calling it a contusion, and Hamels didn't seem particularly concerned, which means he probably avoided any kind of catastrophic injury. Some of Hamels' early-season wounds have been self-inflicted, as he admitted that his World Series tour interfered with his preseason preparation. Throw in the elbow issues that set him back further, and his arm is still in spring-training mode (as evidenced by his drop in velocity). Thursday was by far his best outing of '09, as he struck out five of the first six batters he faced.
Verdict: Assuming this injury turns out to be nothing, Hamels will be fine in a few weeks. Don't do a thing if you have him. And go send out a low ball offer if you don't.
News:Dave Bush tosses near no-no on Thursday
Views: Bush held the Phillies hitless, in Philly, for 7.1 before things unraveled a bit in the eighth. He ended up allowing two hits and a run over 7.2, moving to 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA. Bush showed flashes in 2006 before regressing each of the past two seasons. He lucked into a 1.14 WHIP last year, thanks to an absurdly low .239 opponent batting average on balls in play. Considering his 4-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio on Thursday, putting him at 13-to-8 over 21 innings on the season, every indication is that he's on his way to another subpar year. Bush also continues to be better in the day (4.02 in the day versus 4.80 at night in three-plus years with the Brewers).
Verdict: There's really no reason to rush out and pick him up; Bush has the same homer-prone, back-of-the-rotation arm he's had the past two seasons. Though it's not a terrible idea to use him as a spot starter in day games only.
News:B.J. Ryan hits DL
Views: If you've seen Ryan this season, you know he's been throwing like JesseOrosco (and by that, we mean what Orosco would be throwing like in 2009). It's being called a strained left trapezius (essentially the upper back and neck area). Scott Downs will take over closing duties for the foreseeable future. There's no timetable for Ryan right now, but if Downs continues to dominate, the Jays will have no reason to rush Ryan back.
Verdict: If you had Ryan but didn't have Downs, shame on you. If Downs is available in your league (and you have a crappy league if he still is), go get him. Ryan owners shouldn't drop him yet, but you'd best formulate a Plan B for saves.
News:Chien-Ming Wang spends time in Tampa
Views: There have been batting tees better at getting outs than Wang was in his first three starts. He gave up five runs and struck out 11 against Phillies minor leaguers. There's still no plan as to when he'll make his next start. Now, when you're the New York Yankees, and you've just opened up a $1.5 billion monstrosity that no one in their right mind will buy a ticket to, everything is reason for panic. But Wang isn't going all Rick Ankiel. He has six walks in six innings. His command isn't quite there, and his sinker isn't sinking. Those are the kind of things that work themselves out with a couple mechanical tweaks and a little bit of time.
Verdict: If you have Wang, relaaaaax, guy. Put him on your bench until this works itself out. If you don't have Wang, and you have room on your bench, go get him for pennies on the dollar. He should only be on the waiver wire in the shallowest of leagues.
News:Angels promote top prospect Brandon Wood to ride pine
Views: At this point, Mike Scioscia is just screwing with us. So Vlad Guerrero goes down, leaving a punchless lineup without its biggest bat. Top prospect Wood comes up from Salt Lake, presumably to provide some much-needed right-handed pop. So how does Scioscia juggle his lineup? He starts batting Maicer Izturis in the 3-hole, moves Gary Matthews into an everyday role, and has his cat, Mittens, DH'ing. One of those three scenarios is false, but they're all equally insane. The Angels have rare flexibility because of Chone Figgins' ability to play pretty much everywhere. But for whatever reason, Scioscia views Wood as strictly a reserve -- a supremely talented, 24-year-old, major league-ready reserve.
Verdict: Because he has shortstop eligibility in most leagues, Wood is worth grabbing if you have an empty bench spot "just in case." If he can't get into the lineup with the state of the Angels right now, there seems to be little chance that Wood will make a major impact in 2009.
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