D.J. Short

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Parker Can't Lose

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Tony Campana OF, Cubs (Yahoo: 2 percent owned, ESPN: 0.6 percent)

Campana has only been with the Cubs for five games this season, but he has already made an impact by collecting five hits in 13 at-bats and stealing four bases. While Joe Mather and Reed Johnson will also play some center field now that Marlon Byrd is in Boston, Campana is the most appealing short-term bridge to top prospect Brett Jackson. The 26-year-old isn't going to hit for any power, but he swiped 24 bases in 26 attempts with Chicago last year and has 152 stolen bases in 326 career minor league games. He's an obvious pick up for anyone short on speed.

Andy Parrino 3B, Padres (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0 percent)

Parrino has made his last two starts at shortstop, but if some recent speculation is to be believed, he could eventually take Orlando Hudson's job at second base. The 26-year-old switch-hitter strikes out too much to hit for a high batting average, but he knows how to take a walk and has surprising pop in his bat. Parrino has already started three games at second base and four games at shortstop this season, so multi-position eligibility isn't far away. While I see him as more of a utility infielder-type in the long-term, he could be a really savvy addition if Hudson is eventually shown the door.

Steve Lombardozzi UTIL, Nationals (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0 percent)

Ryan Zimmerman is currently sidelined with AC joint soreness in his right shoulder, so it's time to consider the Nats' backup plans at third base. Mark DeRosa and Chad Tracy both have extensive experience at the position, but Lombardozzi is the most interesting option from a fantasy perspective. The 23-year-old earned a promotion to the big leagues last year after hitting .309/.360/.430 with eight homers, 52 RBI, 30 stolen bases and a .790 OPS between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse. I'd like him a lot more if he qualified at a middle infield position, as he doesn't have much power, but he should hit for a decent average and steal a few bases.

Marco Estrada SP/RP, Brewers (Yahoo: 2 percent owned, ESPN: 0.1 percent)

Another easy call. Chris Narveson is expected to undergo season-ending surgery on his left shoulder, so Estrada will get a chance at a rotation spot in the short-term. The 28-year-old right-hander was effective in a swingman role last year, posting a 4.08 ERA and 88/29 K/BB ratio over 92 2/3 innings, and he struck out a career-high nine while tossing five innings of one-run ball in his first start Saturday against the Rockies. Wily Peralta lingers as an alternative down the road, but Estrada is a must-own in NL-only leagues at the moment.


Pedro Strop RP, Orioles (Yahoo: 3 percent owned, ESPN: 0.5 percent)

O's closer Jim Johnson has been in the hospital this week with what was originally believed to be flu-like symptoms, but manager Buck Showalter indicated Wednesday that the exact nature of his condition remains a mystery. Strop has notched saves in each of the past two games and should be owned in all AL-only leagues until there's some clarity with the situation. The hard-throwing 26-year-old might even be worth a look for some mixed leaguers who have some flexibility on their roster over the next couple of days.

Luke Hughes 1B/2B/3B, Athletics (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0 percent)

The Twins designated Hughes for assignment last week, but he actually landed in a pretty good situation with Oakland. Josh Donaldson was optioned to the minors earlier this week after getting off to a terrible start, so A's manager Bob Melvin said Hughes will get "every opportunity" to challenge for the starting third base job. The 27-year-old Aussie strikes out too much to hit for a high batting average, but has some pop and is eligible at multiple positions. Eric Sogard also figures to get playing time at the hot corner, so Hughes is best utilized in daily leagues.

Hideki Matsui OF, Free agent (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0.1 percent)

Nothing official yet, but the Rays are expected to sign Matsui to a minor league contract. The 37-year-old would function as depth with Triple-A Durham initially, but he could potentially serve as a left-handed bat off the bench or split designated hitter duties with Luke Scott. He hit just .251 with 12 homers and a career-low .696 OPS last year with the A's, so his days of mixed league relevancy are behind him, but he's well worth grabbing in AL-only leagues.  

Drew Hutchison SP, Blue Jays (Yahoo: 0 percent owned, ESPN: 0 percent)

Hutchison was pretty shaky in his major league debut Saturday against the Royals, allowing five runs on eight hits and three walks over 5 1/3 innings, but he still walked away with the victory. While it was a bit of a surprise to see him get promoted from Double-A New Hampshire so soon, he's actually pretty polished for a 21-year-old. Featuring a low-90s fastball to go along with a plus-changeup and a developing slider, he averaged just 2.2 BB/9 in the minors and has a knack for commanding the strike zone. Life in the AL East can be pretty tough, so expect some growing pains, but he has a chance to stick in the rotation all year.

D.J. Short is a Rotoworld baseball editor and contributes to NBCSports.com's Hardball Talk blog. You can also find him on Twitter.
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