April 16, 2010

It's a long season; let us guide you through all of the potential names on the wire who can help your team.

Dave Bush, Milwaukee Brewers -- Bush, 30, is healthy and off to a good start this year. He got off to a great start last year, but then his season was ruined by a triceps injury in July, costing him two months. Over his last 13 starts, he went 2-9 with an 8.66 ERA. He had a good spring and looks like he'll be effective again this year. Grade B

Jaime Garcia, St. Louis Cardinals -- Garcia, 23, pitched last August after making a quick recovery from Tommy John surgery the previous September. At that time his fastball got up to 91 mph, his slider was sharp and he was able to throw the curveball -- his best pitch -- effectively. When healthy, he is considered the Cards' top starting pitching prospect. Coming off Tommy John surgery is unpredictable though. 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. Grade B-

Kevin Gregg, Toronto Blue Jays -- Gregg, 31, will close with Jason Frasor struggling. Gregg posted 23 saves and a 4.72 ERA for the Cubs last year so he is not sure thing. This bullpen could be a revolving door for a while with Scott Downs also in the mix. Grade B

Jim Johnson, Baltimore Orioles -- Johnson, 26, will close until Mike Gonzalez gets healthy, which isn't expected to happen for at least three weeks. Johnson is not the prototypical closer in that he doesn't get a lot of strikeouts and is at the mercy of his infield defense. He also struggled (6.23 ERA) in the second half last year. Dave Trembley told reporters: "We'll probably match up as best as we can, but more than likely, you'll see Johnson get the majority of the save opportunities." Another pitcher to watch is Kam Mickolio, who throws in the low-to-mid-90s. He is sometimes referred to as the O's closer of the future but control problems have held him back. Matt Albers, Cla Meredith and lefty specialist Will Ohman could also be in the mix. Grade B-

Ted Lilly (back, shoulder), Chicago Cubs -- Just in case he's still available in your league. If all goes well, he will make a final rehab start for Class-A Peoria on Monday and then be activated. "My shoulder has been good," he told reporters after his Wednesday rehab start. "I didn't have any more problems with my back. From here, it's about trying to build up my pitching count as much as possible." Grade: B+

Fernando Rodney, Los Angeles Angels -- Rodney, 33, will close with Brian Fuentes on the DL. Fuentes is eligible to be activated on Tuesday but could sit out the whole week as a precaution. He was told by a chiropractor there is no structural damage in his back. Rodney was 37-for-38 in saves with Detroit last year but also posted a less than stellar 4.40 ERA with a 1.47 WHIP. Grade B

Ty Wigginton, Baltimore Orioles -- Even though Dave Trembley said that Chris Gomes would play second base in the absence of Brian Roberts, Wigginton has had a couple of big games this week and offers much more offensive upside. The 32-year old is worth a pickup for his 1B-3B eligibility. He plays everywhere but pitcher and catcher. He belted 11 homers in 412 at-bats last year but averaged 23 dingers in his three previous seasons. Grade B

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