Here is an inside look at potential pickups for the stretch run:
Tim Hudson, Atlanta BravesHudson, 34, will be activated to start Monday night against the Marlins, his season debut. He posted a 3.86 ERA in six rehab starts. He walked four and struck out 14 in 23 innings. He might be a risky play until he shows what he can do. Coming off Tommy John surgery is unpredictable. A pitcher could get off to a good start and then wear down fast. Or he could struggle until he regains arm strength the following season. Hudson has been one of the best pitchers in baseball the last 10 years with Oakland and Atlanta. NL-only leagues should pay particularly close attention.
Matt Maloney, Cincinnati RedsMaloney, 25, is expected to be recalled to start Saturday against the Dodgers. He is 9-9 with a 3.08 ERA at Triple-A Louisville and 0-2 with a 6.11 ERA for the Reds. Not a top prospect. Risky.
Vincente Padilla, Los Angeles DodgersPadilla, 31, was recalled to join the rotation and should be considered in NL-only leagues. He was 8-6 with a 4.92 ERA for the Rangers before they released him. He allowed two runs and six hits in five innings Thursday night. He won 14 and 15 games for Texas in 2008 and 2006 respectively.
John Smoltz, St. Louis CardinalsSmoltz, 42, looked pretty good in his first start and should be considered if you need a starter. Usually we don't read too much into this, but a side session Thursday revealed he was tipping pitches when he worked from the stretch in Boston (7.43 ERA in nine starts).
On Sunday, he mixed splitters with sliders, curves and a fastball. The original plan was for him to make one more start and then head to the bullpen. However, a left groin strain suffered by Kyle Lohse may have altered that.
Brandon Allen, Arizona DiamondbacksAllen, 23, was acquired from the White Sox in the Tony Pena deal. Since joining Triple-A Reno, he has batted .323 with eight doubles in 161 at-bats. He has big power potential but needs to improve his plate discipline. The Diamondbacks are expecting him to be their everyday first baseman in 2010. He should play a lot from here on out.
Eric Young Jr., Colorado RockiesYoung, a second baseman by trade, has been playing center field for the past three weeks for Triple-A Colorado Springs and will play center for the Rockies until Dexter Fowler returns. The 24-year-old was batting .299-7-43-58 so he is worth grabbing for his excellent speed.