Drew Silva

Baseball Daily Dose

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Suddenly Craving Crawford

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Maybe it’s because the Red Sox have played such underwhelming baseball this year. Or perhaps it’s because of that disappointing 2011 campaign.

Either way, it sure seems like Carl Crawford’s triumphant return to the major leagues is flying well under the radar.

The $142 million man went 3-for-4 with three stolen bases and two runs scored on Tuesday night in a 7-5 loss to the White Sox and is now 4-for-7 (.571) with four runs scored since being activated from the 60-day disabled list on Monday afternoon.

Crawford seems doubtful to ever meet the expectations that come with such a massive free agent contract, but he’s still a highly talented player and appears ready to regain his status as a reliable fantasy contributor.

In 2010 -- his final season with the Rays -- Crawford finished with a .307/.356/.495 batting line, 19 home runs, 47 stolen bases and 90 RBI. He may have lost a step on his way to Boston, but anything close to that kind of numbers pace would vault him into the realm of elite second-half fantasy outfielders. Pick him up if he was dropped. Trade for him if another owner is giving him away. We’re high on Crawford’s potential down the stretch.

K-Rod Named New Closer In Milwaukee

For the first time in over 11 months, Francisco Rodriguez is a great name to own in non-holds fantasy leagues.

The Brewers finally took action after watching John Axford blow his sixth save of the season on Monday night against the Cardinals, installing K-Rod into the ninth-inning role while demoting “The Ax Man” to a setup gig.

Rodriguez is throwing harder this year -- with an average fastball of 91.6 mph -- than he has since the 2009 season and is also having a good amount of success with his off-speed deliveries. He made things interesting on Tuesday night against St. Louis, yielding a leadoff double to David Freese and a single to Yadier Molina, but he operated well in damage control and escaped mostly unscathed as Milwaukee grabbed a 3-2 victory.

K-Rod has a 3.59 ERA and 40/18 K/BB ratio in 42-plus innings this year. He needs to be owned in all formats.

Astros Lose Shortstop Lowrie For Month At Least

The Astros are 34-57 and occupy the very bottom of the barrel in the weak National League Central division, but they might need to make an addition to their major league roster -- rather than a subtraction -- here in the next few days.

Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie was diagnosed Tuesday evening with nerve irritation in his lower right leg. He’ll be in a protective walking boot through Saturday and is expected to miss at least four weeks.

That leaves Marwin Gonzalez and Brian Bixler to handle shortstop duties in Houston, and neither player is a legitimate major leaguer. The ‘Stros can’t replace the 14 homers, 36 RBI and .799 OPS that Lowrie was rocking in his 80 games played, but they’ll have to do something to remain respectable down the stretch.

National League Quick Hits: Reds ace Johnny Cueto lowered his ERA to 2.28 in Tuesday night’s defeat of the Diamondbacks … Ryan Braun is day-to-day with a strained muscle in his right thigh … Buster Posey tallied a season-high five RBI in the Giants’ victory over the Braves on Tuesday night in Atlanta … The Mets have ruled out calling up top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler at any point this summer … Trevor Bauer allowed four runs on five walks and one hit in Tuesday’s loss to the Reds … Andrew McCutchen went 2-for-4 on Tuesday night against the Rockies, raising his batting line to .374/.426/.657 … Nationals starter Ross Detwiler hurled seven scoreless innings Tuesday against the Mets … Barry Zito tossed seven shutout innings Tuesday night in the Giants’ defeat of the Braves … Matt Holliday is day-to-day after exiting Tuesday’s game against the Brewers with a left thigh contusion … The Diamondbacks are hopeful that Jason Kubel (hamstring) will be ready to return to action Wednesday after missing three straight games … Giants catcher Hector Sanchez departed Tuesday’s game with a left knee sprain and is considered day-to-day … Chad Billingsley was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation … Padres pitcher Joe Wieland needs Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery … The Braves are hoping to sign Martin Prado to a long-term contract extension … Jonathan Lucroy (hand) is aiming to return from the disabled list on July 26 … Astros catcher Jason Castro has meniscus damage in his right knee and will be out longer than anticipated … Carlos Quentin (knee) is aiming to return Wednesday … The Dodgers are showing serious trade interest in Cubs starter Ryan DempsterRoy Halladay allowed two earned runs in five innings against the Dodgers Tuesday in his first start back from the disabled list.

American League Quick Hits: The Royals designated left-hander Jonathan Sanchez (7.76 ERA, 2.04 WHIP) for assignment on Tuesday afternoon … An MRI taken Tuesday morning on Jose Bautista’s ailing left wrist showed no structural damage … David Ortiz is expected to miss at least a week due to soreness in his right Achilles tendon … Yankees ace CC Sabathia went six-plus scoreless innings Tuesday against the Blue Jays in his first game back from the 15-day disabled list … Mike Trout had a four-hit night Tuesday against the Tigers, lifting his season slash line to .355/.408/.582 … Kevin Youkilis blasted a three-run homer against his former team on Tuesday as the White Sox topped the Red Sox at Fenway Park … The Twins placed closer Matt Capps back on the disabled list due to ongoing discomfort in his right shoulder … Roy Oswalt tossed six-plus innings of one-run ball Tuesday in the Rangers’ victory over the A’s … Brett Anderson (elbow) has been cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment Saturday with High-A Stockton … The White Sox placed Gavin Floyd on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow tendinitis … Jon Lester is now sporting a 4.80 ERA through 19 starts this season … Charlie Furbush is day-to-day with triceps tightness … Blue Jays prospect Anthony Gose collected the first hit of his major league career on Tuesday night against the Yankees … Tigers youngster Jacob Turner was shelled for seven runs in just two innings Tuesday in a loss to the Angels … Brandon McCarthy (shoulder) is aiming to rejoin the Oakland starting rotation by the end of July … The Red Sox have moved Franklin Morales back to the bullpen … Jared Burton notched his third save of the season Tuesday in the Twins’ defeat of the Orioles.

Drew Silva is a baseball editor for Rotoworld and also contributes on NBC Sports' Hardball Talk. He can be found on Twitter.
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