Josh Hamilton, Mark Teixeira and 10 MLB Stars Needed Healthy For October
With just a few weeks left in the 2010 baseball season, teams will begin to rest players down the stretch, unless their division won't be decided until the last few days.
For those that have their division well in hand, days off will help their most productive players get ready for another month of baseball.
It won't be a easy stretch and not having those players could be detrimental to any World Series chances.
Here are 10 players that need to be healthy for their teams to make a legitimate October run.
No. 10: Edgar Renteria (San Francisco Giants)
The San Francisco Giants have overcome a six-game deficit, and have taken a half-game lead over the San Diego Padres.
One guy they will need for the playoff stretch is shortstop Edgar Renteria, who has been dealing with an elbow problem. Manager Bruce Bochy is hoping to have him back in the lineup tonight if he's ready to go.
No. 9: Chris Young (San Diego Padres)
The San Diego Padres acquired the front-line starter that they had been looking for since the July trade deadline came to an end.
The good thing was, they didn't have to give up a thing, because it was one of their own guys. Right-hander Chris Young returned to make his first start since April 6th, and gave the Padres the start they needed.
Young is going to be a guy the Padres need -- IF they can get into the playoffs.
No. 8: Jeff Niemann (Tampa Bay Rays)
There has to be something wrong with Tampa Bay right-hander Jeff Niemann. There's no way a healthy pitcher gets lit up like a Christmas tree like Niemann has.
Over Niemann's last five starts (19.1 IP), he's given up 31 earned runs.
The Rays need him come playoff time, and they need him to get right.
No. 7: Derrek Lee (Atlanta Braves)
Atlanta Braves' first baseman Derrek Lee has been dealing with back problems for most of the season. His numbers are way down from the 2009 season, but he's still trying to battle through his problems.
Since joining the Braves, Lee is hitting .267 with two home runs and 16 RBI. The Braves will need him to be on top of his game if they want to make a run in October -- If they get that far.
No. 6: Jimmy Rollins (Philadelphia Phillies)
The Philadelphia Phillies have been without shortstop Jimmy Rollins since he suffered a slight hamstring strain on September 8th.
The team is listing Rollins as day-to-day, but they're still winning without him They have a big series coming up against the Atlanta Braves that will decide the NL East.
No. 5: Laynce Nix (Cincinnati Reds)
Laynce Nix is coming off the 15-day disabled list with an ankle injury, and was reactivated on September 18th.
The Reds could definitely use his .291 batting average in October.
No. 4: Ian Stewart (Colorado Rockies)
The Colorado Rockies are making yet another playoff push this September as in years past. They were out of the race a few months ago, and are now within a game-and-a-half of the Giants, and could bite both the Giants and the Padres when it's all said and done.
One guy they'll need to do that is a guy they're about to get back, third baseman Ian Stewart, who's been on the sidelines since the end of August with a strained rib cage.
Stewart has hit .264 with 18 home runs and 60 RBI this season.
No. 3: Joe Mauer (Minnesota Twins)
The Minnesota Twins won't strong contenders if they don't have catcher Joe Mauer for the playoff run.
Mauer is dealing with a sore right knee, and has been listed as day-to-day.
No. 2: Mark Teixeira (New York Yankees)
The New York Yankees are still in a dog fight with the Tampa Bay Rays for the top spot in the AL East, with just a half-game separating the two teams.
One guy the Yankees absolutely need back down the stretch is first baseman Mark Teixeira, who's been dealing with not only a broken right pinkie toe as well as a bruised right thumb. Makes swinging a bat, running, or even catching a ball, that much harder.
No. 1: Josh Hamilton (Texas Rangers)
The No. 1 guy on this list could be the biggest factor to not only his team, but whoever they are facing: Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton.
Hamilton has been dealing with bruised ribs thanks to more than a few run-ins with the outfield walls. Team owner Nolan Ryan told the media last week that they have bounced the idea around of having the outfielder fitted with a flack jacket, but that won't help him when he's swinging a bat.
The Rangers aren't the same team offensively without Hamilton in the lineup, and they're not the same team defensively without his glove roaming center field.