Josh Hamilton, Mark Teixeira and 10 MLB Stars Needed Healthy for October

Todd KaufmannSenior Writer ISeptember 20, 2010

Josh Hamilton, Mark Teixeira and 10 MLB Stars Needed Healthy For October

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    NEW YORK - AUGUST 22:  Mark Teixeira #25 of the New York Yankees in action against the Seattle Mariners on August 22, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.The Yankees defeated the Mariners 10-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    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)

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    SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 01:  Edgar Renteria #16 of the San Francisco Giants bats against the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT&T Park on August 1, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    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)

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    ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 18: Starter Chris Young #32 of the San Diego Padres pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on September 18, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Padres beat the Cardinals 8-4.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    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)

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    ST PETERSBURG, FL - AUGUST 31:  Pitcher Jeff Niemann #34 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays during the game at Tropicana Field on August 31, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    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)

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    NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 19: Derek Lee #27 of the Atlanta Braves celebrates the win with teammate Martin Prado #14 against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 19, 2010 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Ni
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    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)

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 01:  Jimmy Rollins #11 of the Philadelphia Phillies catches a throw to second base against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on September 1, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Harry How/Getty Images

    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)

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    CINCINNATI - JULY 18:  Lance Nix #17 of the Cincinnati Reds is pictured during the game against the Colorado Rockies at Great American Ball Park on July 18, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    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)

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 09:  Ian Stewart #9 of the Colorado Rockies plays against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 9, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    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)

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    SEATTLE - AUGUST 27:  Joe Mauer #7 of the Minnesota Twins bats against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on August 27, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. The Twins won 6-3. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    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)

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    NEW YORK - AUGUST 18:  Mark Teixeira #25 of the New York Yankees hits a first inning two run home run against the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium on August 18, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    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)

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    OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 08:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers looks on against the Oakland Athletics during an MLB game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 8, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    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.