Matthew Pouliot

Strike Zone

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AL Team-by-Team Notes

Sunday, June 14, 2009




Detroit - The Tigers continue to treat the DL as a dumping ground, rather than a haven for legitimately injured players, when they placed Jeremy Bonderman back on it after just one start last week. Bonderman typically worked at 88-91 mph in his outing Monday and wasn't likely to be effective in that range. After all, he wasn't much more than a fourth starter while throwing 92-95 mph. Dontrelle Willis gets to stay in the rotation, though that may not last a whole lot longer. Zach Miner could be in line for another opportunity soon. … Clete Thomas was good enough to hit third or first practically every time he was in Detroit's lineup, but now he's back in Triple-A. He's just a fringe player and probably won't ever be much more that that. With Josh Anderson struggling, the Tigers might as well see how Marcus Thames responds to being an everyday left fielder. If they go that route, that Thames' power could make him a solid mixed-league outfielder.

Kansas City - It would have been best for everyone had the Royals just placed Coco Crisp on the disabled list with a sore shoulder weeks ago. That it didn't happen may be in part because the team has no one else to promote. The team's best hitters in Triple-A -- Kila Ka'aihue, Ryan Shealy and Scott Thorman -- are all first basemen. Former Astros prospect Jordan Parraz, who is hitting .360/.460/.522, might be the top candidate for a promotion if Crisp does end up on the DL. Considering that the alternative in center is Mitch Maier, it'd be worth giving him a chance to show what he could do. … Luke Hochevar's 80-pitch complete game Friday had as much to do with the Reds' ineptitude as any improvement from the right-hander. Still, Hochevar is worth using in AL-only leagues for at least the duration of the interleague schedule.

Los Angeles - Kendrick should be back to reclaim his job after the All-Star break, and he could always go and hit .320 the rest of the way. Still, it is disturbing just how little he's grown as a player through the years. The trip down to the minors might do him a lot of good. … It was one and done for Kelvim Escobar, whose arm failed to bounce back after his first major league start in a year and a half. He's been shoved into the bullpen, probably for the rest of the season, and Matt Palmer has reclaimed his rotation spot. I still think Palmer is a poor option in AL-only leagues, even though he's started his Angels career 6-0. … There still hasn't been any indication that Vladimir Guerrero will see outfield time in NL parks the next two weeks. Mixed leaguers should get ready to bench him.

Minnesota - Anthony Swarzak was slated to be sent down with Glen Perkins returning from a sore elbow this week, and blanking the Cubs for seven innings in a victory Saturday wasn't enough to change management's mind. It's quite possible that the Twins would be better off keeping Swarzak in the rotation and putting Perkins in the pen. The team won't go that route right now, but it could be a possibility next month. … The Twins were missing both Denard Span (inner-ear infection) and Michael Cuddyer (finger) on Saturday, but they're not going to be quick to place either outfielder on the disabled list. Span seems like the riskier play of the two this week. Carlos Gomez is so deep into the doghouse that the Twins started Cuddyer in center field in back-to-back games last week, but it looks like he could have a few days to play his way out of it. … Alexi Casilla wasn't very impressive while Nick Punto was on the DL with a strained groin, so he was sent right back down to Triple-A on Friday. Brendan Harris will remain a regular, and it looks like the Twins will play Punto at second base, since they dislike the way Harris turns the double play at that position.

New York - It appears to be make-or-break time for Chien-Ming Wang, who will face the Nationals on Tuesday. Another poor start will result in him being replaced by Phil Hughes. It should be tempting to use him against the fifth- and fourth-place teams in the NL East this week, but it really isn't. … It looked like Robinson Cano was on his way to a big season when he hit .366 with five homers during April, but his numbers took a dive in May and he's batting .191 this month, leaving him at .291/.325/.469 for the season. He is on pace for 26 homers, 94 RBI and 107 runs scored, so his fantasy owners can't complain. However, he's done nothing to force the Yankees to hit him higher in the order. … With Xavier Nady's return from an elbow injury getting closer, Nick Swisher has rebounded to .367/.513/.733 in 11 games this month. Swisher will have to remain a starter if he can stay hot. He's been streaky, but he has a .391 OBP and 12 homers this season.


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Matthew Pouliot is the Executive Editor of RotoWorld.com and has been doing the site's baseball projections for the last 10 years. Follow him on Twitter at matthewpouliot.
Email :Matthew Pouliot



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