D.J. Short

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Buchholz Bounces Back

Friday, June 08, 2012

Some folks were clamoring for Clay Buchholz to be sent down to the minors just a few weeks ago, but it's safe to say that he has turned a corner. The 27-year-old right-hander was completely dominant Thursday night against the Orioles, allowing just four hits, one walk and two hit batsmen as part of a complete game 7-0 victory. It was the third shutout of Buchholz's career, all of which have been against the Orioles.

Buchholz was dropped in many mixed fantasy leagues after he began this season with an ugly 9.09 ERA over his first six starts while allowing 10 home runs and 19 walks over just 32 2/3 innings, but something has really clicked over the past month. He has allowed three runs or less in five out his last six starts and has an excellent 1.50 ERA and 19/4 K/BB ratio over his last three outings.

The key to his sudden turnaround? It's pretty simple. He's walking fewer batters and keeping the ball in the ballpark for the most part. That's a pretty good recipe for success for anyone, really.

Even when Buchholz is at his best, he can be a pretty divisive fantasy property. Neither his strikeout rate (6.71 career K/9) or walk rate (3.74 career BB/9) are considered elite and he has managed to outpitch his xFIP and FIP for his career. Of course, he has also induced ground balls 50 percent of the time for his career and has the luxury of one of the highest scoring offenses in baseball supporting him. Hence his six wins this season, despite a 5.77 ERA. I don't expect Buchholz to replicate his 2.33 ERA from 2010 in the near future, but he shouldn't be sitting on the waiver wire any longer.

Counting on Cashner

The injury-riddled Padres' rotation will soon get a lift. The team announced Thursday that hard-throwing right-hander Andrew Cashner will fill Eric Stults' place in the starting rotation Saturday against the Brewers before being optioned down to the minor leagues in order to build his workload. The 25-year-old hasn't thrown more than 39 pitches in any of his relief appearances this season, so he'll only work into the third inning on Saturday.

The jury's out on whether Cashner will make it as a starter in the big leagues. He certainly has the repertoire, including a mid-90s fastball, a high-80s slider and a changeup, but he has been plagued by control problems (4.9 BB/9) during his brief major league career and when the Cubs tried him as a starter early last year, a rotator cuff injury knocked him out for nearly the entire season. Still, it's a worthy experiment for the rebuilding Padres, who should be looking for all ways to maximize value.

We'll likely have to wait a few weeks for Cashner to pitch in the Padres' rotation full-time, but he makes for a smart stash in NL-only leagues and even some deeper mixed formats. Those in shallow leagues can afford to wait and see.

Holland Hits DL

Derek Holland's velocity has dropped in recent starts, something the young left-hander attributes to a stomach virus which has caused him to lose 10-15 pounds over the past couple of weeks. However, the Rangers aren't taking any chances.

Holland was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with left shoulder fatigue. He's scheduled to be examined by Dr. Keith Meister on Friday, during which he will undergo a battery of tests to get to the root of the problem and formulate a gameplan on how to move forward.

Holland took a huge step forward after the All-Star break last year and delivered on the big stage by tossing 8 1/3 shutout innings in Game 4 of the World Series against the Cardinals, but he's had a rough start to his 2012 campaign. The 25-year-old left-hander has a 5.10 ERA and 59/24 K/BB ratio over 67 innings. He averaged just 91.1 mph on his fastball during his most recent start on Tuesday and topped out at 93.7 mph. He averaged 94.2 mph on his heater last year.

Roy Oswalt is still a couple starts away from joining the Rangers, so Alexi Ogando will take Holland's place in the starting rotation Sunday against the Giants. The 28-year-old right-hander has operated in a set-up role this season, posting a 2.27 ERA and 33/7 K/BB ratio over 31 2/3 innings, so he's unlikely to go any further than about five innings or 70 pitches initially. However, after the success he enjoyed as a starter last year, he's worth a stash in most formats at this point.

NL Quick Hits: Aroldis Chapman finally gave up an earned run Thursday against the Pirates, ending his scoreless streak of 29 innings this year and 35 innings dating back to last September … Bryce Harper has been receiving treatment on his lower back, but fully expects to play Friday against the Red Sox … R.A. Dickey tossed 7 1/3 shutout innings against the Nationals on Thursday while Lance Lynn allowed two runs over six innings in a blowout win over the Astros. Both pitchers are tied for the major-league lead with nine wins … The Cardinals placed Jaime Garcia on the disabled list Thursday with a left shoulder sprain and he's expected to get a second opinion on the injury Friday … Melky Cabrera left Thursday's game with a sore hamstring, but is expected to play Friday … Michael Bourn hit his sixth home run of the season Thursday against the Marlins, establishing a new career-high … Santiago Casilla (knee) returned to action Thursday against the Padres and got four outs for his 15th save … Chipper Jones (calf) will begin a brief minor league rehab assignment Saturday with Class A Rome … Jason Heyward homered twice in Thursday's win over the Marlins … X-rays on Freddie Freeman's injured left finger revealed no fracture … Stephen Drew (ankle) went 1-for-4 while playing nine innings at shortstop Thursday in his first rehab game with Triple-A Reno … Aramis Ramirez (quad) was out of the starting lineup for the fifth straight game Thursday, but was intentionally walked in a pinch-hit appearance … Lucas Duda hit his 10th home run in Thursday's win over the Nationals, matching his total from all of last year … David Freese clubbed a pair of homers in Thursday's blowout win over the Astros … Jason Bay sat out his second straight game Thursday due to illness, but is expected to play in Friday's series opener against the Yankees … Kris Medlen fired five shutout frames Thursday in his second start with Triple-A Gwinnett … The Astros officially signed 2012 No. 1 overall pick Carlos Correa

AL Quick Hits: Jacoby Ellsbury (shoulder) is playing catch and has progressed to 40 throws … Edwin Encarnacion (hand) hit off a tee Thursday and is expected to return to the lineup Friday … Yu Darvish was tagged for six runs over 5 1/3 innings in Thursday's loss to the A's and now leads the majors with 44 walks in 72 2/3 innings … Carl Crawford (elbow, wrist) plans to begin a throwing program Friday … Austin Jackson (abdomen) began a rehab assignment Thursday and is likely to return from the disabled list on Saturday or Sunday … Brett Gardner (elbow) is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment Friday with Low-A Charleston … Roy Oswalt was knocked around for five runs over four innings Thursday in his second minor league tuneup. All five runs scored in the third inning, the big blow of which was a grand slam by Royals' prospect Wil MyersYoenis Cespedes left Thursday's game with a left hamstring strain, but the A's are optimistic he will not require a stint on the disabled list … The bad Brian Matusz showed up Thursday against the Red Sox, as he gave up five runs (four earned) on four hits and five walks over just two innings … Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine indicated Thursday that Josh Beckett's right hamstring cramp is not a legitimate concern … Brandon McCarthy tossed seven innings of one-run ball in a win over the Rangers on Thursday afternoon … Chris Iannetta (wrist) is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment Friday with High-A Inland Empire … John Danks (shoulder) is set to make a rehab start next Tuesday with Triple-A Charlotte … Daniel Bard is scheduled to throw one inning Friday in his first appearance with Triple-A Pawtucket … Rajai Davis was scratched from Thursday's lineup with a jammed middle finger on his left hand …

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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