Explain something to me. How can a player be suspended but his team be allowed to replace him on the roster and he can go on a rehab assignment?
The fact that a player can test positive for a performance enhancing drug but be allowed to practice and play in Minor League games does not make sense. The punishment is 50 games. Not 42, not 45, not even 49.
If it takes that player longer to get back in to shape because of a certain reputation for being lazy, then the organization has a different problem.
Speaking of the team, how is there any incentive for them not to bring on a player that tests or has tested positive in the past? If the player gets suspended, they can replace him on the roster for all 50 games, essentially making the suspension moot?
The team should be required to play with 24 on the active roster as opposed to the normal 25. That would make the franchise take more responsibility for the actions of their players.
When a pitcher gets tossed for five or six games, the team cannot replace them. Same with an outfielder who charges the mound. What makes steroids so different? The length of the suspension? The players and teams know what is at stake going in.
The rules are good, but they need to be changed to make the policy more effective.
On to the notes.
- Coco Crisp has had his season come to an end. The Kansas City outfielder will have surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder today. Crisp was mainly a factor in deeper leagues, and owners should not struggle to replace him. For the Royals, Mitch Maier will take over in center field.
- There is a lot of mumbling about the effectiveness of David Price. Price is likely headed back to Durham once Scott Kazmir is ready to go based on his performance. Jason Collette has pointed out that Price is virtually a two-pitch pitcher, and he struggles to throw one for strikes. Price needs more seasoning, as his control and pitch counts make it hard to keep him up.
- Roy Halladay is scheduled to come off the DL on Monday and should be ready to go. The Blue Jays righty pointed out that he is on track to pitch after throwing a solid bullpen session on Monday. He should be set to go for owners against Tampa next week.
- I loved this stat that came across this morning. Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting over .400 when batting out of the number seven or eight spots in the lineup. Ellsbury went 4-for-4 last night, including two triples and a stolen base. The Red Sox outfielder has certainly enjoyed hitting out of the bottom of the order, even if he says he would rather lead off.
- Zack Greinkere turned to form last night in a big way. Greinke worked eight innings, giving up just one run on the way for his first win in his last five starts. At the same time Joakim Soriapicked up his first save since the beginning of May. Greinke allowed three straight singles in the first to give the Astros their first and only run of the game before settling down.
- As good as Greinke was, Joel Pineiro was that much better. The Cardinals pitcher put together his second complete-game shutout in his last ten starts, allowing just two hits in the effort. Pineiro's best point is his pitch efficiency. Even in working the nine innings, he only threw 100 pitches. The Cardinals have kept his counts low, and that will help later in the season.
- Matt Wieters is starting to come around a bit more. In his last ten games, the catcher has gone 13-for-37. In his last six, he is 6-for-18. The numbers are starting to come as he is getting more comfortable both at the plate and behind it. There's certainly no cause for alarm in the early numbers. The returns will be there.
- C.C. Sabathia remains optimistic that he will be able to make his next start after leaving his last one early with tightness in his biceps. Sabathia does not see any hold ups at this point, but the Yankees are not going to commit to having him throw until later this week. At the same time, Johnny Damonwas held out of the lineup with tightness in his calf, as the Yankees were shut out again. None of this would happen if George Steinbrenner were alive.
- Sticking with New York, Chien-Ming Wang put together a decent outing, but it is hard to win when your offense does not score. He has given up three runs in his last two outings, working five innings each time. It wasn't stellar, but certainly stepped in the right direction. What's better: he has forced 19 ground balls to 15 fly balls in his last two starts. The indicators are coming, but it is going to be a slow developing process.
- Kenshin Kawakami needs to be given a second chance by fantasy owners. The Braves has not allowed more than three earned runs in a start since back at the end of April. While he does not have the wins to show for it, more of that is run support than anything else. The Yankees are not likely to be shut out again tonight, but he should give six innings and keep them to two earned runs. Lefties have really struggled against Kawakami, hitting just .239. At home, batters hit just .232 against him overall.
- It is hard to say you can be sold on a guy that burned many owners early in the season, but Ricky Nolascohas had three good outings since returning from AAA. Nolasco has allowed five runs in 18 innings over three starts, while also striking out 18 batters. He is still not the pitcher he was, but control and command were very good in bad weather against the Red Sox last time out.
- Carl Pavano had his last start pushed out after two consecutive poor outings. The Indians starter said he had some pain in the neck and shoulder area, so the break could have done him some good. There is no better way to get back on track than against the Pirates. Look for him to rebound in this one.
- The Indians have shown good power numbers against lefties. The team ranks in the upper-half of the league in terms of average, and inside the top-ten in total home runs. All that is despite having the fourth-fewest total at-bats against left-handed pitching. While Zach Duke has been good this season, Cleveland hits lefties well, and owners should proceed more cautiously. He is very good at home, so that does work in his favor.
- Nick Blackburn has not allowed more than three earned runs in a start since back on May 16. While it is always safer to use Twins starters at home, Blackburn has held batters to a .249 average on the road this season and posted a 3.46 ERA. Both are respectable numbers. Against the Brewers, he is worth the start.
- There should be some concern with Matt Garza, given his last three starts. The Rays pitcher has walked eight batters in his last 15.2 innings, while also giving up eight home runs over his last six starts. Garza's command has left him in spurts, and he has been forced to throw more "get me over" pitches that have been hit hard. This should be a rebound game for Garza at home, where batters have hit just .219 against him for the season.
- Beware using many of Philly's lefties. Left handed-hitters are hitting only .198 against Garza. Greg Dobbs and Matt Stairs are the easy ones to bench, but Ryan Howard is only good for .198 against lefties. Chase Utley, though, is a .289 hitter against southpaws.
- Dan Haren has pitched beyond well to start the season, but there are several Rangers that have had good luck against him. Keep Marlon Byrd, Michael Young, and Hank Blalock in the lineup against Haren. While Haren has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his last five starts, there are some good options here for Texas.
- Left-handed hitters are hitting just .090 against Randy Wolf. Read that sentence one more time. Again, just to be sure you got it. More impressive, all hitters check in at just .206 against him on the road. Look to avoid Chris Getz, Scott Podsednik, and Jim Thome in this one against Wolf for certain. A good start here should make wolf a sell candidate. There is just no way he keeps up this pace.
- Bronson Arroyo has been roughed up this month, and the Blue Jays are not going to make it any easier on him. With Vernon Wells and Scott Rolen both hitting above .300 with two home runs a piece, the Reds starter could be in for a rough trip north of the border. The team has hit .302 against him in 141 combined at-bats.
- Spot Starts: Scott Richmond, Blackburn, Rick Porcello
- John Smoltz will take the ball for the first time in a Red Sox uniform on Thursday against the Nationals. Smoltz has looked good in rehab outings, but this should be a find more for AL-only leagues until there is something proven. Keep him in your back pocket, and just remember that even a good result was only against the Nationals.
- This would be a good day for the Yankees to get Johnny Damon back. The outfielder is a .455 hitter against Derek Lowe in his career. Unfortunately, Hideki Matsui is limited to pinch-hitting duty because of his injuries and lack of mobility in the outfield. Matsui has hit over .500 against Lowe, so if healthy enough, he could see a start.
- Do not be shocked if David Ross gets a start behind the plate for Atlanta. He is 4-for-12 against Andy Pettitte. Keep Garrett Anderson and Chipper Jones in your lineups, as well. Both have hit the Yankees starter very well in the past. Pettitte has struggled in June, but has put up decent numbers on the road. Still, avoid him if you can.
- Clayton Richard will get the start for the White Sox against the Dodgers. That's not a good thing for the lefty, mainly because the Dodgers have just raked against left-handed pitching this season. Their .293 team average is one of the best in baseball. Look to stack the lineup with your Dodgers in this one.
- Despite a nagging back problem that pushed his last start back, Jarrod Washburnlooked solid in his outing against Arizona. His last five outings have all been relatively solid, and he needs to be owned in more than 29 percent of leagues. Washburn is a solid deep league performer, and this outing against San Diego is a good start for him.
- Spot Starts: Washburn, Smoltz, and Brett Cecil