The second base position just got a whole lot beefier, as today three of the position's top guns have been activated from the disabled list. Proud owners of Dustin Pedroia, Chase Utley, and Martin Prado have been forced to plug holes with stragglers like Adam Kennedy and Blake DeWitt. Now is your time to rejoice.
Dustin Pedroia returns to the Red Sox after breaking his left foot nearly two months ago on June 26. In his stead, Bill Hall received the majority of starts at 2B, with Eric Patterson and Jed Lowrie also seeing action. Hall hit 12 homers after Pedroia went down, providing decent numbers for fantasy owners. Hall will likely get significant starts in CF with Jacoby Ellsbury heading back to the DL after more pain in his slow healing fractured ribs. While Pedroia might not be 100 percent game ready, he is still a must start in all leagues. But be wary, he does tend to run in red-hot and ice-cold streaks. A slow start is a realistic expectation while he shakes off the rust. He was hitting .292 with 12 HR and 41 RBI prior to the injury, and had raised his average .38 points in June (from .254).
Right thumb surgery has sidelined Chase Utley since June 29. It had long been speculated that Utley was struggling with the thumb, forcing him to make adjustments to his swing. That could very well be the reason for his average production in the season's first three months. His .277, 11 HR, 37 RBI stat line looks solid for most second baseman, but for Utley those figures are a disappointment. If Utley is pain free, expect a big final push from him once he settles in. His stroke is the epitome of 'simple' and it shouldn't take him long to rediscover it. Placido Polanco will now shift back to third base full time, and Wilson Valdez will hit the bench. The 32-year-old Valdez did a more than admirable job being thrust into regular action, but was never a fantasy option.
A career utility man, Martin Prado's fractured finger might have come at an ideal time (well, no injury is ideal). His batting average had plummeted .22 points from .337 to .315 in the month of July suggesting he needed a breather. Maybe sitting on the sidelines for a short while and re-energizing his body will be a positive in the long run. Unlike his 2B compatriots, he's only been out since July 31 and could find his groove in a flash. All-star selection Omar Infante continued to rake in his absence putting up seven multi-hit games thus far in August. Infante possesses position eligibility all over the diamond, and should continue to see regular ABs at third base with Chipper Jones on the shelf for the year. Once again, Troy Glaus could be the big loser.
In other injury news, Charlie Manuel characterized first baseman Ryan Howard's chances of returning to the lineup before Friday as "slim". Howard has been out since August 2 with sprained ligaments in his ankle. He's eligible to come off the DL today, but that's obviously not happening. How exactly the Phillies plan to handle his rehabilitation remains unclear. Patience is the key my fantasy brethren, patience. Meanwhile, Mike Sweeney will continue to get the bulk of starts at 1B and is a realistic option in NL-only leagues until big number six returns.
Written by Adam Ganeles exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com. Look for Adam's weekly insight into MiLB & MLB ball.
Who will have the strongest return out of Pedroia, Utley or Prado?
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