MLB In Full Bloom - Smokin Hot Smoak Leads Mariners - 4/3/2014

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Justin Smoak continued his torrid opening series on Wednesday night in Anaheim as the Mariners completed a three game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels. Smoak went 2-for-5 on Wednesday night with a home run in an 8-2 victory over the Angels. Smoak collected two hits in each blowout victory (10-3, 8-3, and 8-2) of the three-game sweep. Smoak hit a double, a couple homers and seven RBI. Smoak is a notoriously streaky hitter so fantasy owners that own him need to remember that we're only three games into the season. Even if everything goes south from the rest of the way, Smoak owners will always have memories of the .462 batting average in the opening-series. Enjoy the ride while it lasts.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Emilio Bonifacio went 5-for-7 with a walk and two steals as the Cubs' leadoff man Wednesday in another Cubs loss to the Pirates. Bonifacio went 4-for-5 on Opening Day and is wasting no time showing the Cubs and fantasy owners that he could be the leadoff hitter the Cubs have been desperately looking for the past century.  Bonifacio will certainly cool off, but fantasy owners that got him in drafts are enjoying his .750 BA. He does have three steals to go along with the two pickoffs in the first two games.
  • Dan Haren was very impressive in his Dodgers' debut on Wednesday against the Padres. He gave up just one run, no earned runs over six innings of a 5-1 victory. He struck out six Padres and didn't walk a batter. Haren will face Max Scherzer and the Tigers on Tuesday evening.
  • Jim Johnson has two appearances in the first three games as the Athletics closer this season. In those two appearances, Johnson has surrendered five earned runs on five hits and three walks in those two appearances with Oakland. He took a loss on Monday and a blown save last night. Manager Bob Melvin emphasized that it’s just two games and said that the A’s know Johnson’s track record. The A's should be 3-0, but instead are staring at a 1-2 record and Johnson's 45.00 ERA today. If Johnson continues to struggle, Sean Doolitte could be next in line to be the A's closer.
  • Jonathan Papelbon blew the save on Wednesday as he gave up a  two-run lead as the Rangers walked-off with a 4-3 victory. In his one inning, Papelbon allowed three runs on four hits and two walks. Papelbon's velocity was a big concern last season and last night his fastball was topping out at 90-92 mph, which is several mph below where he used to be just two years ago.
  • Yu Darvish (neck) will get the start Sunday for the Rangers against Alex Cobb in Tampa Bay. He threw an 86-pitch bullpen session Tuesday, and the outing must have been successful, as Rangers are not wasting no time getting him back on the mound. He was scratched as the Opening Day starter due to neck stiffness.
  • Anibal Sanchez will get the start on Thursday for the Tigers against the Royals. Sanchez had not appeared in a game since Mar. 12, but he was able to throw a simulated game last weekend and was ready to make his season debut today.
  • Chris Young (quad) was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right quad strain. Young suffered the strain in one of the Mets' late-March exhibition games in Montreal and then aggravated it Wednesday night in his first start of the 2014 regular season. Young is hopeful that he will be able to return in 15 days.

MLB In Full Bloom - Wilson Ramos Has Surgery - 4/2/2014

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Day 2 of the baseball season brought more injury news for fantasy owners to have to deal and this time it is Wilson Ramos. Ramos will miss the next 4-8 weeks after undergoing hamate bone surgery on his left hand today. Hamate bone injuries are common in baseball. Recovery tends to take four to eight weeks. Many players require longer to recapture their power once they return. He should return sometime in May, but players coming back from hamate bone surgery often experience a loss in power. Jose Lobaton will handle the catching duties while Ramos is out. Lobaton has a career .228 BA and offers very little fantasy value. As for Ramos, he has really had a tough stretch in the last few years of his life. He had torn ligaments in his knee, he was kidnapped from his home in Venezuela in 2011, and now he has a broken hamate bone.

MLB News & Notes

  • Justin Smoak collected his second consecutive three-RBI game in Tuesday's 8-3 victory over the Angels. Smoak went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer on Monday, and followed that performance by going 2-for-4 with a double on Tuesday. Smoak had 5 RBI in the entire month of April last year. Smoak is off to a strong start and need to continue to provide protection for Robinson Cano and should continue to see some pitches to hit.
  • Freddie Freeman went 3-for-3 with two home runs in a Braves' 5-2 win over the Brewers on Tuesday. Freeman hit 23 home runs in each of the last two seasons, but fantasy owners can realistically expect him topping that number this year.
  • Erasmo Ramirez threw seven innings of two-run ball while striking out six Angels in his 2014 debut in Anaheim on Tuesday night. Ramirez allowed six hits and zero walks in the victory, keeping the momentum going from his strong spring. Ramirez will face the Athletics in his next start.
  • Brian Wilson (elbow) was placed on the 15-day disabled list with nerve irritation in his right elbow. An MRI revealed no ligament damage, but it's not clear how long the reliever will be sidelined. The Dodgers have Chris Perez and Brandon League that can step in and fill in for Wilson and get the ball to Kenley Jansen in the ninth inning.
  • Brandon Belt had his second big game in two days in Tuesday's 5-4 loss against Arizona, going 2-for-4 with a three-run homer. He's only nine at-bats in to the season, obviously, but his current .556 BA sure looks good.
  • Bobby Parnell (elbow) could eventually require Tommy John surgery after blowing a save Monday. Shortly after the game, Parnell complained of tightness in his right forearm and the Mets sent him for an examination. Doctors discovered a partial MCL tear, which is an injury that could ultimately require Tommy John surgery. Parnell is hoping rest and rehab do the trick and hopes avoid the procedure. Look for Jose Valverde to close for the foreseeable future.
  • A.J. Pollock had three hits, two runs and an RBI in Tuesday's 5-4 win over the visiting Giants. His infield single in the first inning was his first hit of the season, snapping an 0-13 skid. Hopefully this is a sign of positive things to come for Pollock, who is looking to improve upon his .259 batting average from last season. Pollock should be owned in all NL-Only formats and deeper mixed league formats.
  • Alex Wood gave up just one run on five hits while striking out five Brewers as he earned the victory on Tuesday. He gave up a leadoff home run to Carlos Gomez, but settled down after that. Wood was very efficient. Wood's next start will come against the Mets on Tuesday.

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