Cullen: MLB notes on Sale, Trumbo, Dunn, Murphy, more

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Scott Cullen
4/25/2014 4:45:00 PM
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Scott Cullen has injury updates on Sale, Trumbo, Lind, Hamilton and more, best fantasy adds and closer notes.

INJURIES

- White Sox ace LHP Chris Sale is on the DL with a strained flexor muscle. Though indications are favourable (ie. not requiring surgery), it's also reasonable to expect that the White Sox will be cautious with any recovery timeline. He's one of the best pitchers in the game and it's not worth long-term trouble to have him come back a couple starts sooner. Anyway, the White Sox also have Felipe Paulino on the DL, so they have added Andre Rienzo and Charlie Leesman to the starting rotation.

Rienzo had a 4.82 ERA and 1.48 WHIP in 10 starts last season and a 3.93 ERA in 24 career starts at Triple-A. He's whiffed 132 in 133 2/3 IP at Triple-A, but his strikeout rate in the bigs (6.0 K/9) isn't as promising. Leesman, a 27-year-old lefty, has struggled, with a 9.00 ERA in 18 major-league innings after he had a 2.92 ERA in 45 starts at Triple-A. A terribly low strikeout rate (3.2 K/9) in the minors and not much velocity figure to be issues in the bigs.

- 35-year-old Rockies RF Michael Cuddyer has a strained hamstring and gets a turn on the DL as a result, putting a break in a strong start (.317 AVG, .906 OPS) to the season. Cuddyer's absence leaves more regular playing time for Charlie Blackmon, whose .410 batting average ought to be good enough for that, but he plays all three outfield spots for the Rockies. Brandon Barnes, hitting .317 with three steals in 49 plate appearances, gets some time in right field as well.

- Diamondback LF Mark Trumbo was off to a great start (7 HR, 19 RBI), at least in terms of power, since his .210 batting average is no prize, but he's out with a stress fracture in his foot -- likely for an extended period -- leaving Cody Ross as the regular left fielder in Arizona. Ross is off to a tough (1-for-22) start, so Roger Kieschnick, a 27-year-old who has an .888 OPS in 174 games at Triple-A, might have an opportunity to play some too.

- Blue Jays DH Adam Lind hits the DL with a strained lower back (hitting .324 with a .924 OPS in 32 plate appearances), which gives Juan Francisco a regular shot in the lineup. Francisco, 26, hasn't been able to stick as a major-league regular yet, but has 32 home runs in 790 career plate appearances. He has power.

- The Angels in the outfield include a couple of new faces because both LF Josh Hamilton and RF Kole Calhoun are out. Hamilton suffered a thumb injury and is still at least a month away from returning. Calhoun's ankle injury should have him out for 3-5 more weeks, so he and Hamilton are in the same ballpark for return time.

In their absence, though, the Angels have turned to J. B. Shuck and Collin Cowgill as the primary corner outfielders. Shuck offers bit of speed and no power and has a .296 average in 832 Triple-A at-bats. In 571 career major-league at-bats, 26-year-old Shuck has hit .280 with four home runs and 10 stolen bases. Cowgill, 27, is a .241 career hitter in the major leagues, but has been a productive Triple-A hitter (.313 AVG, .873 OPS in 903 plate appearances). Neither has done enough to warrant fantasy consideration yet.

- It's not a huge deal that the ace of the Houston Astros' pitching staff is out but, credit where it's due, RHP Scott Feldman has been great in his first four starts (2-1, 1.69 ERA, 0.94 WHIP), though Feldman has been the beneficiary of good fortune, with only nine strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings and a BABIP of .195. All that taken into account, he's still the de facto ace of a young Astros staff and is out with biceps tendinitis.

In Feldman's absence, 26-year-old Collin McHugh -- who had nine career starts with the Rockies and Mets previously -- gets a look and his first start for the Astros, at Seattle, resulted in three hits and no walks allowed, along with 12 strikeouts. McHugh has a 3.64 ERA, with 166 strikeouts in 187 2/3 IP, in 35 career games at Triple-A, so he has some upside, but keep in mind that he wasn't considered good enough to make Houston's rotation out of spring training.

- Cardinals RHP Joe Kelly is out with a strained hamstring, giving Tyler Lyons a chance in the Cardinals' rotation. In 59 career major-league innings, Lyons has a 4.58 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, with 50 strikeouts. The 26-year-old has a 3.73 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 35 Triple-A appearances (34 starts), so he's a viable addition in deeper leagues, pitching for a strong team and all.

- Royals CF Lorenzo Cain, sidelined with a groin strain, was off to a decent start (.333 AVG, 2 SB in 12 GP) before getting hurt. Speedster Jarrod Dyson gets more regular playing time with Cain out. In 21 plate appearances this year, Dyson is hitting .368 and has stolen three bases.

- Pirates LHP Wandy Rodriguez is dealing with a knee injury, resulting in a move to the DL, and 25-year-old RHP Brandon Cumpton has taken his spot in the rotation. Cumpton has a 2.15 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in seven major-league appearances. No, he's not that good, but in 24 Triple-A appearances (22 starts), he had a 3.06 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 101 strikeouts in 141 innings.

- Mets CF Juan Lagares, off to a nice start (.314 AVG, .816 OPS) is out with a strained hamsring, giving Chris B. Young and Kirk Niewenhuis time in centre field. Young was once a power and speed guy, but has been a part-time player the past couple seasons, in part because his batting average is abysmal. Nieuwenhuis is a .234 career hitter, with 11 home runs in 394 at-bats.

- Yankees LHP Ivan Nova is the latest in a long line of starting pitchers headed for Tommy John surgery. He had an 8.27 ERA through four starts and it looks like Vidal Nuno (3.68 ERA in 29 1/3 career IP) is first up to fill in for Nova in the Yankees' rotation.

BEST ADDS

(Players available in at least 40% of TSN leagues)

Adam Dunn, DH, Chicago White Sox - 5 HR, 11 RBI, .266 AVG, 11 R, 64 AB (Available: 86.5%)

David Murphy, RF, Cleveland - 2 HR, 17 RBI, .290 AVG, 9 R, 62 AB (Available: 82.2%)

Dayan Viciedo, RF, Chicago White Sox - 1 HR, 9 RBI, .377 AVG, 9 R, 69 AB (Available: 82.1%)

Lucas Duda, 1B, N.Y. Mets - 4 HR, 10 RBI, .254 AVG, 10 R, 636 AB (Available: 91.1%)

Scooter Gennett, 2B, Milwaukee - 1 HR, 7 RBI, .317 AVG, 5 R, 2 SB, 63 AB (Available: 95.9%)

Jenrry Mejia, RHP, N.Y. Mets - 3-0, 1.99 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 25 K, 22 2/3 IP (Available: 80.4%)

Alfredo Simon, RHP, Cincinnati - 3-0, 1.30 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 17 K, 27 2/3 IP (Available: 50.9%)

Wily Peralta, RHP, Milwaukee - 3-0, 2.19 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 19 K, 24 2/3 IP (Available: 71.0%)

Zach McAllister, RHP, Cleveland - 3-0, 2.28 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 17 K, 23 2/3 IP (Available: 79.8%)

CLOSER NOTES

- As the Reds wait for LHP Aroldis Chapman to return, RHP Jonathan Broxton has four saves in five appearances. Early indications are that Broxton's velocity is down and he's throwing more sliders than ever before.

- It's not as if holding the closer title in Houston is a particularly valuable designation. Despite allowing a walk-off three-run home run in his last appearance, Josh Fields seems to have the edge on Chad Qualls.

- In Oakland, the A's have said that Jim Johnson is back in consideration for ninth-inning work after some early-season struggles. Luke Gregerson and Sean Doolittle are the other options to consider if Johnson falters again.

- Trying to find a solution with Bobby Parnell done for the year, the Mets have turned to veteran Kyle Farnsworth, ahead of Jose Valverde. Daisuke Matsuzaka is also a possibility and he's been effective (1.69 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 5 1/3 IP) out of the bullpen so far.

- With control issues plaguing Pedro Strop and Jose Veras unable to get anyone out, the Cubs' closer role could be going to Hector Rondon, the 26-year-old who has been their most effective reliever (0.79 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 11 K, 11 1/3 IP) this season.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

Chris Sale  (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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