Matthew Pouliot

Strike Zone

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AL Team-by-Team Notes

Sunday, June 14, 2009




Oakland - Andrew Bailey is clearly Oakland's preferred choice in the closer's role right now, but how long is he going to last? The 25-year-old is currently on pace to throw 103 innings. That pace will continue to decline if the A's reserve him for save situations, but time will tell if some damage has already been done. Brad Ziegler is worth holding on to in AL-only leagues. … Travis Buck (oblique) can and likely will return on Sunday. With Aaron Cunningham already down to make room for Nomar Garciaparra, the A's could demote Daric Barton or Chris Denorfia. The one who isn't demoted then likely will be later in the week, when Ryan Sweeney returns from a sprained left knee. … Since the A's have six more games in NL parks this week, Buck probably won't get much playing time initially. Jack Cust should remain in right field.

Seattle - Incredibly, Brandon Morrow, so insistent at the beginning of the season that he wanted to spend his career as a closer, wants to start again now and got his wish Saturday with Erik Bedard on the shelf. He's still expected to be stretched out in Triple-A for a while. The 64 pitches he was allowed to throw Saturday barely got him through three innings. … David Aardsma no longer has Morrow to worry about as he attempts to hold on to the closer's role, but Mark Lowe is showing better pure stuff and has the superior walk rate of the two. The two might switch places at some point during the second half of the season. … That Bedard's shoulder is acting up is a bad sign, but it doesn't come as a big surprise. No one should be counting on 200 innings from him. The plan is for him to return this week after missing just the one start, so keep him active. … With Rob Johnson on the bereavement list and Kenji Johjima (toe) still apparently a week away, the Mariners will continue to have Jamie Burke and Guillermo Quiroz split time behind the plate for a few more days. Both Burke and Quiroz will likely be bumped from the roster later this month. … Ryan Rowland-Smith (triceps) was expected back in the rotation this week, but it now appears that he'll make another rehab start. The Mariners like the way Garrett Olson is throwing and may consider moving Rowland-Smith back to the pen.

Tampa Bay - So much for Jason Isringhausen getting a chance to take over the closer's role in Tampa Bay. He's out indefinitely after reinjuring his elbow on Saturday. No Rays relievers picked up saves last week, and Randy Choate is still the leader in the clubhouse with three of the five saves since Troy Percival went down. AL-only leaguers might want to take a flier on Joe Nelson, who is outpitching Dan Wheeler and Grant Balfour right now. … Jason Bartlett (ankle) is due back Tuesday, at which time Reid Brignac figures to be sent down. … Especially since Gabe Gross has heated up recently, Pat Burrell figures to do quite a bit of sitting in NL parks this week. Gross homered Saturday and has eight RBI during his current seven-game hitting streak.

Texas - If Chris Davis can't do something special over the next few days, the Rangers should send him down before beginning a string of six straight games in NL parks on Friday. They could go to Hank Blalock at first base and then make Andruw Jones their primary DH when they return home on June 26. … Brandon McCarthy's latest shoulder stress fracture will keep Derek Holland in the rotation. The Rangers were planning on returning the rookie to the bullpen with Matt Harrison coming off the disabled list this week. … Frank Francisco's shoulder will get another test Sunday before the Rangers decide whether to put him on the disabled list. C.J. Wilson looks like a possibility for saves this week. … The Orlando Hernandez addition doesn't figure to have any fantasy ramifications, but it's entirely possible that El Duque will prove to be a useful weapon in a setup role down the stretch. He'd certainly have a better chance of holding up as a reliever than as a starter.

Toronto - Expectations are that Roy Halladay will miss a start after suffering a strained groin on Friday. The Jays do have Monday off, so they could back Halladay up to Saturday without needing another starter. It's more likely that Halladay will miss a full turn, though. Brett Cecil, who has a 3.80 ERA in four starts since being sent down, is a candidate to replace him. … Cecil might get the call anyway, as Casey Janssen gave up five runs in 3 2/3 innings on Saturday to fall to 2-3 with a 6.23 ERA. I think he deserves a couple of more chances, but the Jays may opt to shift him to the pen or send him down. … Adam Lind will play left field in NL parks this week. Expect to see less of Jose Bautista and Kevin Millar. … Jesse Litsch became the latest Toronto pitcher to undergo Tommy John surgery last week, two months after he went on the DL with what the Jays called forearm tightness. Ricky Romero's arm could literally fly off while delivering a pitch and the Jays would still call it forearm tightness.


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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