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Week 5 Fantasy Hitting Planner

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The Fantasy Baseball Hitting Planner is the essential guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming week. Every week, we provide you with news and notes for each team, tracking hot and cold players, injuries and lineup changes.

All statistics are up to date as of Friday, April 30.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Schedule: @HOU4, MIL3
Heating Up: Kelly Johnson is showing what made him such an enticing prospect in the Braves organization, batting .361 (13 for 36) with six home runs over his last nine games. With nine home runs this season, he trails only Paul Konerko for the MLB lead. He's looking like this year's Aaron Hill and is a must-start in Fantasy. Chris B. Young seems to be back on track, batting .367 (11 for 30) with one homer over his last seven games. He still leaves some room for doubt with his strikeout rate, but he bears watching because of his upside. Adam LaRoche, notoriously a second-half performer, is showing he might have some mixed-league appeal even in the first half, batting .333 (12 for 36) with four home runs over his last 10 games.
Cooling Off: Mark Reynolds isn't exactly cold, but he is 0 for 8 over his last three games. Still, his power potential makes him a must-start.
Injury Concerns: Conor Jackson (hamstring) could come off the DL as soon as Tuesday, but considering he has yet to begin a rehab assignment, he might not get to play much this week. He wasn't hitting well before the injury, so you should keep him reserved in mixed leagues.
Platoon Possibilities: The Diamondbacks face three left-handers this week, but if Jackson returns as expected, the platoon between Gerardo Parra and Cole Gillespie will end.
Lineup Changes: None.

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Atlanta Braves
Schedule: @WAS3, @PHI3
Heating Up: Martin Prado isn't hitting as well as he was, but he seems to be immune to the sickness plaguing every other member of the starting lineup, batting .290 (9 for 31) over his last eight games. He's a serviceable starter in mixed leagues, but his lack of home-run pop keeps him from being a high-end option.
Cooling Off: Literally every other hitter falls into this category. Chipper Jones gets the added distinction since his injury risk makes him a borderline starter in mixed leagues. He's batting .071 (1 for 14) over his last five games.
Injury Concerns: Yunel Escobar left Thursday with a strained groin, an injury that could take a few days to heal. If he doesn't return over the weekend, you should probably play it safe and reserve him. Besides, he's hitting only .215 (17 for 79).
Platoon Possibilities: The Braves face three left-handed pitchers this week, putting Nate McLouth out of the lineup for three more games. He's just an NL-only option for the time being and really not much better off than platoon partner Matt Diaz this week.
Lineup Changes: The Braves have been desperate to stimulate their offense, even moving Escobar to the leadoff spot Wednesday. Considering he's hurting now, that approach doesn't figure to last.

Baltimore Orioles
Schedule: @NYY3, @MIN4
Heating Up: Nick Markakis, who began the season 3 for 21 (.143), continues to trend in the right direction. He's batting .367 (11 for 30) over his last seven games. He has only one homer, but his doubles and walks are making up for it. Start him. Ty Wigginton continues to make an excellent stopgap at either second or third base, batting .429 (9 for 21) over his last six games.
Cooling Off: Luke Scott continues his reign of futility, batting .162 (6 for 37) over his last 11 games. He's streaky and all, but this is getting ridiculous. Matt Wieters is hitless in his last nine at-bats, but you wouldn't sit him at the weak catcher position.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Orioles face three lefties this week. Nolan Reimold will surely start those games. Lou Montanez will surely sit those games. Where and when Scott enters the discussion is anybody's guess. Also, Rhyne Hughes has become the better half of a platoon at first base with Garrett Atkins.
Lineup Changes: The Orioles recently called up Hughes to get the majority of the starts at first base. He has some pop but isn't much of a prospect. Leave him for AL-only leagues.

Scott's top sleepers for Week 5
Player Start %
1. Andruw Jones, OF, White Sox 36
2. Nyjer Morgan, OF, Nationals 54
3. Raul Ibanez, OF, Phillies 62
4. Gordon Beckham, 2B, White Sox 64
5. Jason Kubel, OF, Twins 51
6. Nick Swisher, OF, Yankees 60
7. Dexter Fowler, OF, Rockies 19
8. Hideki Matsui, DH, Angels 57
9. Chris B. Young, OF, Diamondbacks 64
10. Austin Kearns, OF, Indians 8
* Sleepers are players started in less than 65 percent of CBSSports.com leagues

Boston Red Sox
Schedule: LAA4, NYY3
Heating Up: Marco Scutaro has heated up out of the leadoff spot, batting .346 (9 for 26) over his last six games, so he's worth a flier if you need help at shortstop. Adrian Beltre is also heating up, batting .476 (10 for 21) over his last six games, but he'll need to provide some power to be anything more than a low-end option in mixed leagues. Dustin Pedroia has come back around, batting .364 (8 for 22) over his last five games, but you should have never doubted him.
Cooling Off: David Ortiz continues to struggle, batting .118 (2 for 17) over his last six games, but he's not worth your trouble now that he's just a part-timer.
Injury Concerns: Jacoby Ellsbury (fractured ribs) could conceivably return this week, but this is the third edition of the Hitting Planner to say so. Better not take your chances.
Platoon Possibilities: The Red Sox face three left-handers this week, which means Jeremy Hermida will sit three times for Bill Hall and Ortiz will sit three times for either Mike Lowell or Jason Varitek. You probably shouldn't bother with any of those players in mixed leagues.
Lineup Changes: The Red Sox like what they've seen from Darnell T. McDonald enough to make him their regular center fielder with Ellsbury on the DL. He has limited upside, so leave him for AL-only leagues.

Chicago Cubs
Schedule: @PIT3, @CIN3
Heating Up: Ryan Theriot has multiple hits in eight of his last nine games, batting .488 (21 for 43). He's a decent stopgap when hot like this, but his lack of pop makes him waiver fodder most of the time. Kosuke Fukudome is having his usual April hot streak, batting .429 (9 for 21) with three homers over his last eight games. He's a worthy starter in the right matchups, but keep in mind you won't want him when the June swoon hits.
Cooling Off: Derrek Lee hasn't offered his Fantasy owners much this season, batting .077 (2 for 26) over his last six games. He struggled last April as well, so don't give up on him yet. Alfonso Soriano is back on the wrong side of streaky, batting .150 (3 for 20) over his last six games, but the good matchups this week will help.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Cubs face one left-hander this week, meaning Fukudome and Mike Fontenot should lose no more than a start each. They tend to sit for Xavier Nady and Jeff Baker against lefties.
Lineup Changes: None.

Chicago White Sox
Schedule: KC3, TOR4
Heating Up: Paul Konerko took the MLB lead in homers with two more Thursday. He's batting .366 (15 for 41) with seven home runs over his last 12 games and is obviously too hot to sit right now. Alex Rios hasn't exactly been burning down the house lately, batting .316 (6 for 19) over his last five games, but he has five stolen bases during that stretch. You want him active in Rotisserie leagues.
Cooling Off: A.J. Pierzynski has three hits in his last seven at-bats but only four in his last 33 (.121). He'll get hot eventually, but you can do better in mixed leagues right now. Juan Pierre has one hit in his last 16 at-bats, so if you choose to start him, you're doing so for steals alone.
Injury Concerns: Carlos Quentin sat out Thursday with a strained hamstring and will also sit Friday. After that, who knows? Hamstring injuries have a tendency to linger, so if Quentin doesn't return over the weekend, you should probably sit the slumping slugger.
Platoon Possibilities: The White Sox face three lefties this week, but now that Andruw Jones is playing every day, they don't have any lefty-righty platoons. The lefties should only help his cause, though.
Lineup Changes: None.

Monday
By the Numbers: Al Melchior examines BABIP trends that forecast potential long-term trends
Tuesday
Fantasy Update: Audio | Video
Sliders: Scott White highlights his risers and fallers
Wednesday
Fantasy Update: Audio | Video
LIVE writer chat: Our writers answer your questions about prospects, rotations, lineups and much more every Wednesday
Dear Mr. Fantasy: Scott White touches on some of the hot topic issues facing owners
By the Numbers: Al Melchior breaks down compelling Fantasy data to assist owners in predicting future production
Thursday
Fantasy Update: Audio | Video
Friday
Prospects Report: Eric Mack spotlights top prospects on the brink of making an impact in Fantasy
Hitting Planner: Scott White analyzes the state of all 30 lineups and shares his top sleepers for the week
Saturday
Splitsville: Jeff Lippman highlights some statistical splits that owners should take advantage of
Sunday
Fantasy Update: Audio | Video
Pitching Planner: Eric Mack addresses all 30 rotations and highlights two-start pitchers
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Cincinnati Reds
Schedule: NYM3, CHC3
Heating Up: Jay Bruce's good moments have been few and far between this season, but he is batting .467 (7 for 15) with a homer over his last four games. He remains a fringe starter in mixed leagues for now.
Cooling Off: Joey Votto is batting .174 (4 for 23) over his last six games, but he did homer Thursday, suggesting a rebound is on the way. Keep him active. Orlando Cabrera is batting .167 (3 for 18) over his last five games, but he's kind of just a last resort in mixed leagues at this stage of his career.
Injury Concerns: Chris Dickerson left Thursday's game with a sprained right wrist -- an injury that could potentially put him on the DL. Losing him would take some of the heat off Drew Stubbs, which might work to his advantage.
Platoon Possibilities: The Reds face three lefties this week. Jonny Gomes would surely start those games in place of Dickerson, but if Dickerson goes on the DL, Gomes might take his job altogether.
Lineup Changes: The Reds have experimented with Brandon Phillips batting second and Scott Rolen batting cleanup. If that arrangement continues, Rolen would be the biggest beneficiary because of the improved RBI potential. Phillips would lose some RBI opportunities, but he'd gain some at-bats, evening it out.

Cleveland Indians
Schedule: TOR3, DET3
Heating Up: Austin Kearns has caught fire, batting .455 (10 for 22) with two home runs and two stolen bases over his last five games and earning regular playing time in the process. If this is a breakout, it's coming ridiculously late for the former top prospect, but if nothing else, he's worth a look while he's streaking. Shin-Soo Choo has multiple hits in five straight games, batting .476 (10 for 21) during that stretch, and remains a must-start.
Cooling Off: Travis Hafner hasn't done anything to convince Fantasy owners his troublesome shoulder is healthy, going hitless in his last 12 at-bats. He's strictly an AL-only option.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Indians face two left-handers this week, which means Luis Valbuena will likely sit twice for Mark Grudzielanek. Kearns' hot streak has forced Matt LaPorta into a platoon role, so you can expect him to replace Russell Branyan against the lefties.
Lineup Changes: Other than the addition of Kearns to the starting lineup, none.

Colorado Rockies
Schedule: @SD3, @LAD3
Heating Up: After batting .156 (7 for 45) over his first 13 games, Dexter Fowler is batting .526 (10 for 19) with a double, a triple, a homer and two steals over his last five. He still isn't much of a power threat, but the former prospect is showing enough potential to at least get back on the radar in mixed leagues. Carlos Gonzalez is back playing the way he did toward the end of last year, batting .636 (7 for 11) with two homers and two steals over his last three games. Get him active again. Troy Tulowitzki is back to performing at an elite level, batting .382 (21 for 55) over his last 14 games.
Cooling Off: Todd Helton is one of the few Rockies not hitting well, batting .118 (2 for 17) over his last five games. Then again, Clint Barmes hasn't hit well all season and has just one hit in his last 12 at-bats.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rockies face two left-handed pitchers this week, which would normally mean Ryan Spilborghs replacing Seth Smith twice with Brad Hawpe on the DL, but the arrival of Eric O. Young muddies the waters a bit.
Lineup Changes: Young, likely the team's leadoff man of the future, has been its leadoff man of the present each of the last two games, starting one at second base and one in left field. Smith's recent surge in production should help him get the majority of the starts in left, making Barmes the most likely candidate to lose at-bats to Young. None of the three has much appeal in mixed leagues until this situation sorts itself out, but Young's steals potential makes him an attractive sleeper in Rotisserie leagues. The Rockies optioned Chris Iannetta to the minors, making Miguel Olivo the regular starter. He has enough power potential for mixed-league use.

Detroit Tigers
Schedule: @MIN3, @CLE3
Heating Up: Rookie Austin Jackson is batting .417 (10 for 24) with a home run and a stolen base over his last six games. He still strikes out too much, but his combination of power and speed makes him a worthy addition to any mixed-league roster. Johnny Damon has righted the ship after a slow start, batting .379 (22 for 58) over his last 16 games with hits in 15 of those games. Even at age 36, he's too valuable to sit in most formats.
Cooling Off: Alex Avila would perhaps get more of an opportunity to replace struggling Gerald Laird if he wasn't struggling so much himself, batting .059 (1 for 17) over his last five games. Leave both catchers for AL-only leagues.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Tigers face one left-handed pitcher this week, which means Ryan Raburn won't get to play much. The Tigers for some reason prefer Brennan Boesch, who's strictly an AL-only option, against righties.
Lineup Changes: Ramon Santiago is batting .423 (11 for 26) over his last eight games, earning more of the playing time at shortstop over Adam Everett, but he's a light hitter himself who doesn't belong on mixed-league rosters.

Florida Marlins
Schedule: SF3, @WAS3
Heating Up: Chris Coghlan isn't exactly setting the world on fire, but he seems to be pulling out of his early-season slump, batting .333 (7 for 21) over his last five games. Considering he still doesn't have an extra-base hit on the year, he's not worth activating yet in mixed leagues, but he's worth watching.
Cooling Off: Cameron Maybin is back to looking overmatched at the big-league level, batting .136 (3 for 22) over his last five games. He remains more hype than anything else and isn't beyond cutting in mixed leagues. Hanley Ramirez is batting .133 (2 for 15) over his last five games and .176 (6 for 34) over his last 10, but considering he contends for the batting title every year, you know he'll snap out of it sooner or later. John Baker has just one hit in his last 15 at-bats and is hardly worth using in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: Cody Ross missed his second straight game Thursday with flu-like symptoms and is also battling a minor foot injury. Chances are he'll return over the weekend, but he's not hitting well enough for you to start him in mixed leagues.
Platoon Possibilities: The Marlins face two left-handed pitchers this week, which means John Baker will likely sit twice for Ronny Paulino.
Lineup Changes: Brett Carroll will go back to the bench once Ross returns. Otherwise, none.

Houston Astros
Schedule: ARI4, SD3
Heating Up: After a dreadful start, the Astros hitters are suddenly coming around. Carlos N. Lee is batting .296 (8 for 27) over his last seven games. Hunter Pence is batting .400 (8 for 20) over his last five. Michael Bourn is batting .357 (10 for 28) with six stolen bases over his last eight. All three deserve to start in mixed leagues right now.
Cooling Off: Jeff Keppinger, still getting periodic starts, is batting .192 (5 for 26) over his last eight games, but he doesn't have the upside to matter in Fantasy.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Astros don't face a single left-handed pitcher this week, but considering they don't have any lefty-righty platoons, it's not a big deal.
Lineup Changes: None.

Top 10 Hitters Added
Player % Change
1. Miguel Olivo, C, Rockies 30
2. Ty Wigginton, 2B, Orioles 26
3. Andruw Jones, OF, White Sox 22
4. Marlon Byrd, OF, Cubs 20
5. Jose A. Bautista, 3B, Blue Jays 19
6. Will Venable, OF, Padres 17
7. Kelly Johnson, 2B, Diamondbacks 15
8. Ryan Theriot, SS, Cubs 14
9. Alberto Callaspo, 2B, Royals 12
10. Austin Kearns, OF, Indians 12

Kansas City Royals
Schedule: @CHW3, @TEX4
Heating Up: Billy Butler is batting .375 (12 for 32) with one homer over his last eight games. His power numbers aren't where you'd like them to be, but he's hitting too well for you to bench him. David DeJesus is batting .379 (11 for 29) with two homers over his last seven games. He's worth a flier now, but normally his upside is too low for mixed-league use.
Cooling Off: Jose Guillen, who hit seven homers in a span of 13 games earlier this season, is 1 for 15 in four games since. Time to bench the streaky slugger in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: Rick Ankiel missed his fifth straight game with a quadriceps injury Thursday, and the Royals are talking about using him as no more than a pinch hitter over the weekend. Sounds like you should keep him reserved. Chris Getz (oblique) will come off the DL on Friday, and the Royals plan to put him right back in the starting lineup despite his light hitting. Alberto Callaspo is likely the odd man out, but if the Royals prefer to keep his bat in the lineup, they could always send perpetual underachiever Alex Gordon to the minors.
Platoon Possibilities: The Royals face three left-handed pitchers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Mitch Maier has taken over in the outfield with Ankiel ailing, but he lacks the upside to make an impact in mixed leagues.

L.A. Angels
Schedule: @BOS4, @SEA3
Heating Up: Don't look now, but the Angels might have a legitimate major-leaguer in Brandon Wood. The first-year starter who began the season 4 for 46 (.087) recently had back-to-back three-hit games and is batting .444 (8 for 18) over his last five. He's still not worth starting in mixed leagues, but his power potential makes him worth watching. Bobby Abreu is batting .394 (13 for 33) with two homers and two steals over his last nine games, but he's a must-start. So is Kendry Morales, who has broken out of his early-season slump by batting .424 (14 for 33) with three homers over his last nine games.
Cooling Off: Mike Napoli continues to flounder in his opportunity for regular at-bats with Jeff Mathis (fractured wrist) on the DL, batting .150 (3 for 20) over his last eight games. He's still worth using at the weak catcher position, but not if the Angels decide his poor defense isn't worth it. Juan L. Rivera is running out of mixed-league appeal, batting just .200 (6 for 30) over his last 10 games.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Angels face two left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

L.A. Dodgers
Schedule: MIL3, COL3
Heating Up: No Dodger would even remotely qualify as hot right now, but maybe a weekend against Pirates pitching would help.
Cooling Off: Most of the starting lineup would fit in this category right now. Russell Martin is batting leadoff with Rafael Furcal sidelined, but he's batting .182 (4 for 22) over his last seven games. Matt Kemp is batting .200 (6 for 30) over his last seven games. You wouldn't sit either of them, but you might sit James Loney, who's batting .071 (1 for 14) over his last four games. If he's not hitting for average, he's useless. He also has a history of struggling at home.
Injury Concerns: Furcal missed his third straight game with a strained hamstring Thursday and got a platelet-rich plasma injection to promote healing. The Dodgers think he'll need a few more days off, so you should probably find an adequate replacement in case he doesn't return over the weekend. Jamey Carroll has started in his absence.
Platoon Possibilities: The Dodgers face two left-handers this week. Ronnie Belliard might start for Blake DeWitt in those games, but he starts for him against some right-handers as well. Leave both for NL-only leagues.
Lineup Changes: Garret Anderson, Xavier Paul and Reed Johnson are all filling in for Manny Ramirez (calf) in left field, but the distribution of at-bats isn't so clear.

Milwaukee Brewers
Schedule: @LAD3, @ARI3
Heating Up: Corey C. Hart is showing he might still make an impact in mixed leagues, batting .290 (9 for 31) with two homers during an eight-game hitting streak. No, he's not setting the world on fire, but he at least bears watching.
Cooling Off: Rickie Weeks has just one hit in his last 30 at-bats, indicating all those strikeouts are beginning to catch up to him. His combination of power and speed makes him a worthy starter still, but if you have viable alternatives, you might want to consider using them.
Injury Concerns: Jim Edmonds tweaked his back Wednesday and sat out Thursday. Such things happen for 39-year-olds. Considering he's just a platoon player, you can reserve him in Fantasy.
Platoon Possibilities: The Brewers face one left-hander this week. Edmonds, assuming he's healthy, will sit out that game, allowing Hart and Carlos Gomez to play at the same time.
Lineup Changes: None.

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Minnesota Twins
Schedule: DET3, BAL4
Heating Up: Orlando Hudson is batting .345 (10 for 29) over his last six games, making him a useful stopgap in mixed leagues, especially since the Twins have good matchups this week. Just don't expect many homers or steals.
Cooling Off: Delmon Young, who got off to a hot start, is batting .147 (5 for 34) over his last 10 games and is at risk of losing more at-bats. The perennial disappointment isn't worth starting in mixed leagues. J.J. Hardy is batting just .138 (4 for 29) over his last eight games and is dealing with an injury right now.
Injury Concerns: Justin Morneau missed his second straight game Thursday with a strained muscle in his back, but he and manager Ron Gardenhire both seem confident he'll return Friday. They've given no indication the injury has anything to do with the fracture in his back late last year, so keep him active. Hardy is battling turf toe. He played through it Wednesday but needed a day off Thursday. It's the type of injury that could linger, so if he misses more time over the weekend, you'll probably want to reserve him. He's not a must-start anyway.
Platoon Possibilities: The Twins face two left-handers this week. Assuming Morneau returns, Jim Thome is more likely to start against the righties, and Young is more likely to start against the lefties. The two aren't in a strict platoon, though.
Lineup Changes: The Twins called up Luke Hughes and started him at third base Wednesday and Thursday, forcing the light-hitting Brendan Harris to the bench. Hughes isn't a prospect, but he has enough pop to make an impact in deeper AL-only leagues.

N.Y. Mets
Schedule: @CIN3, SF3
Heating Up: Jason Bay finally homered for the first time as a Met on Tuesday. He's batting .400 (8 for 20) with two doubles, two triples and a homer over his last six games. He seems to have his power stroke back, so get him active in all leagues. David Wright also seems to be snapping out of his slump, batting .600 (6 for 10) over his last three games.
Cooling Off: Rod Barajas is batting .125 (3 for 24) over his last seven games, dropping his batting average below .200 for the season. He has some pop, but it's not enough to save him in mixed leagues right now.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Mets face one left-handed pitcher this week. Ike Davis might sit out that game for Fernando Tatis, but the lineup is pretty much set otherwise.
Lineup Changes: Jose B. Reyes has settled into the third spot, with Angel Pagan batting leadoff. So far, the change hasn't limited Reyes' ability to steal bases too much, but it has given Pagan renewed sleeper appeal. The guy has enough speed and extra-base pop to make an impact even in deeper mixed leagues.

N.Y. Yankees
Schedule: BAL3, @BOS3
Heating Up: Robinson Cano homered twice Thursday and is batting .531 (17 for 32) with four homers over his last eight games. He's typically a second-half player, making this hot start especially encouraging. Nick Swisher, who has struggled for much of the season, seems to be on the verge of one of his patented hot streaks, batting .381 (8 for 21) over his last five games. He's a good sleeper for this week.
Cooling Off: Curtis Granderson is having the same problems he had with the Tigers last year, batting .077 (2 for 26) over his last eight games. His combination of power and speed makes him tough to sit, though. Alex Rodriguez is hitless in his last 16 at-bats, but he'd need to be hitless in his last 60 for you to consider benching him. Nick Johnson is batting .074 (2 for 27) over his last 11 games and has yet to give you a reason to start him.
Injury Concerns: Jorge Posada, who took a pitch off the knee Wednesday, sat out Thursday but could have entered the game in an emergency. Knee injuries are obviously huge for catchers, but the position is so weak that you might as well take your chances with Posada if he has any hope of playing.
Platoon Possibilities: The Yankees face two left-handers this week, which leaves the door open for Brett Gardner or Johnson to sit twice. Neither is in a strict platoon, though.
Lineup Changes: None.

Oakland Athletics
Schedule: TEX3, TB3
Heating Up: Adam Rosales, filling in for the injured Mark Ellis (hamstring) at second base, is batting .455 (10 for 22) over his last six games. He lacks the upside to matter in mixed leagues. Walk machine Daric Barton has begun to show some power, batting .308 (8 for 26) with one homer and three doubles over his last seven games. He's worth a flier in leagues that reward walks.
Cooling Off: Rajai Davis is batting .167 (4 for 24) over his last nine games, forcing the Athletics to remove him from the starting lineup.
Injury Concerns: Kurt Suzuki missed his fifth straight game Thursday with what doctors recently diagnosed as an intercostal strain. If he has any hope of playing this week, you might as well keep him active at the weak catcher position.
Platoon Possibilities: The Athletics face one left-hander this week. Expect Jake Fox to start that game in place of Eric Chavez. Neither player matters in mixed leagues.
Lineup Changes: Davis has been out of the starting lineup for three of the last four games, allowing Eric Patterson and Gabe Gross to start. Davis still has the most Fantasy appeal of the three because of his ability to steal bases, but you shouldn't start him until he's back playing every day.

Best Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Twins DET3, BAL4
2. Cubs @PIT3, @CIN3
3. White Sox KC3, TOR4
4. Reds NYM3, CHC3
5. Dodgers MIL3, COL3

Philadelphia Phillies
Schedule: STL4, ATL3
Heating Up: Ryan Howard seems inspired by the monster contract he signed, batting .400 (6 for 15) with a home run over his last four games. He's an obvious must-start. Raul Ibanez is showing his first signs of life, batting .304 (7 for 23) with one home run over his last eight games. Now might be a good time to get him active again, though you probably shouldn't expect him to repeat last year's numbers.
Cooling Off: You knew Placido Polanco couldn't hit over .400 forever. He's batting .120 (3 for 25) over his last seven games and is a candidate to sit if you have viable alternatives. Chase Utley is batting .136 (3 for 22) over his last six games, but you'd never sit him.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Phillies face one left-hander this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Schedule: CHC3, STL3
Heating Up: Andy LaRoche is doing his best to keep top prospect Pedro Alvarez in the minors, batting .500 (13 for 26) with a homer over his last six games. Based on his long history of disappointment, you shouldn't necessarily rush out and grab him, but he bears watching. Jeff Clement isn't setting the world on fire, but he is showing some signs of contributing, batting .280 (7 for 25) with two home runs over his last seven games. At the weak catcher position, that's all the excuse you need to start him.
Cooling Off: Garrett Jones has had a hard time recreating the magic of his first week of the season, batting .184 (9 for 49) with one homer over his last 14 games. Sit him until he heats up again. Ronny Cedeno is batting .079 (3 for 38) over his last 10 games and might be on the verge of dropping out of the lineup.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Pirates face two left-handed pitchers this week, but they're back to not having any clear lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Akinori Iwamura's struggles have caused the Pirates to drop him in the batting order and shuffle Andrew McCutchen everywhere from the leadoff spot to the third spot. But wherever he bats, he's a must-start.

San Diego Padres
Schedule: COL3, @HOU3
Heating Up: Adrian Gonzalez has cooled off a little since homering in four straight games last weekend, but he's still batting .300 (9 for 30) over his last eight games. Obviously, you should start him.
Cooling Off: Chase Headley is experiencing a long overdue regression to the mean, batting .160 (4 for 25) over his last five games. Because he hasn't provided much power, he's at best a fringe starter in mixed leagues. Kyle Blanks is batting .120 (3 for 25) over his last eight games and remains too inconsistent to use in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Padres face one left-hander this week, but Scott Hairston will probably replace Tony K. Gwynn for more than that one game. Oscar Salazar has gotten to start over Will Venable against lefties recently, but even if that continues, Venable won't suffer from it much this week.
Lineup Changes: Jerry Hairston looks like the new starting shortstop with Everth Cabrera (hamstring) on the DL. Hairston has speed and a little bit of pop, but he likely won't make an impact in mixed leagues.

Worst Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Pirates CHC3, STL3
2. Orioles @NYY3, @MIN4
3. Mariners TB3, LAA3
4. Angels @BOS4, @SEA3
5. Nationals ATL3, FLA3

San Francisco Giants
Schedule: @FLA3, @NYM3
Heating Up: Edgar Renteria seems to be heating up again, batting .538 (7 for 13) over his last three games, but as quickly as he cooled off before, you're right to hesitate. Pablo Sandoval has five straight multi-hit games, batting .550 (11 for 20) during that stretch. He's an obvious must-start.
Cooling Off: Neither of the Giants' big free-agent signees, Aubrey Huff and Mark DeRosa, are doing much at the plate right now. Huff is batting .087 (2 for 23) over his last seven games, and DeRosa is batting .111 (2 for 18) over his last five. Don't bother with either in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: Juan Uribe missed his fourth straight start with a sore elbow Wednesday, but he did appear as a pinch hitter. He should return this weekend, so if you've been counting on him as a stopgap middle infielder, get him active again. Aaron Rowand, on the DL with a fractured cheekbone, will likely come off the DL on Sunday, but his limited power and speed make him just an NL-only option.
Platoon Possibilities: The Giants face three left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons at the moment. Rowand's return would free up Andres Torres to spell Nate Schierholtz against lefties, though.
Lineup Changes: None.

Seattle Mariners
Schedule: TB3, LAA3
Heating Up: Ichiro Suzuki is back to being the batting champion he is, batting .400 (22 for 55) over his last 13 games with multiple hits in nine of them. He's a must-start, obviously. Milton Bradley has been hitting well since returning from a calf injury, batting .364 (4 for 11) with two doubles in three games. Frustrating as he is, his potential makes him worth watching in mixed leagues.
Cooling Off: Franklin Gutierrez, who was batting over .400 for the better part of three weeks, seems to be on the wrong side of streaky now, batting .185 (5 for 27) over his last seven games. He's a candidate to sit when he goes cold like this. Speaking of streaky, Jose Lopez is batting .171 (7 for 41) over his last 10 games, but he's a little harder to replace if you rely on him at second or third base.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Mariners face one left-hander this week. Ken Griffey and Casey Kotchman are at risk of sitting out that game, with Griffey a near certainty. Eric Byrnes and Mike Sweeney are the most likely candidates to replace them.
Lineup Changes: None.

St. Louis Cardinals
Schedule: @PHI4, @PIT3
Heating Up: Colby Rasmus is looking more and more like one of the season's biggest breakthroughs, batting .485 (16 for 33) with four homers, four doubles and a triple over his last 10 games, but before you sell your house for him, keep in mind he has had the benefit of facing nothing but right-handers recently. David Freese is batting .471 (8 for 17) over his last five games and finally connected for his first home run Thursday. He'll have to show much more power than that to matter in mixed leagues, though.
Cooling Off: Matt Holliday is the kind of player you'd never sit, but he hasn't helped you much lately, batting .176 (6 for 34) over his last nine games.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Cardinals face three left-handed pitchers this week, which might force Rasmus to slow down. In fact, the Cardinals were actually sitting him against lefties earlier in the year, but maybe this hot streak has brought about the end of that platoon. Skip Schumaker could also sit against the lefties, but he's an inadvisable start anyway.
Lineup Changes: The Cardinals have opted to bat their shortstop -- be it Brendan Ryan or Tyler Greene -- behind the pitcher, reverting back to a Tony La Russa staple, but neither player matters in Fantasy.

Tampa Bay Rays
Schedule: @SEA3, @OAK3
Heating Up: Jason Bartlett is beginning to show last season wasn't a fluke, batting .366 (15 for 41) over his last 10 games. Keep him active at the weak shortstop position. B.J. Upton has an eight-game hitting streak during which he's batting .367 (11 for 30) and has been much more consistent this season than he was last season. Carl Crawford is batting .415 (17 for 41) over his last 10 games, and Evan Longoria is batting .412 (14 for 34) over his last eight, but you'd never sit either of them.
Cooling Off: Ben Zobrist has struggled to find his consistency all year, batting .143 (2 for 14) over his last four games. You'd have to have a pretty good alternative to sit him, though.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rays face five left-handers this week, which means Gabe Kapler will get an unfairly high number of starts, replacing the second-base platoon of Reid Brignac and Sean Rodriguez.
Lineup Changes: John Jaso got to start when Dioner Navarro served a two-game suspension, and he hit so well he continued to start after Navarro returned. He's batting .538 (7 for 13) with a homer over his last five games, but his lack of upside makes him just an AL-only option.

Texas Rangers
Schedule: @OAK3, KC4
Heating Up: Josh Hamilton appears to be back on track finally, batting .371 (13 for 35) with three homers over his last eight games. He's a must-start. Vladimir Guerrero isn't quite a must-start, but he's looking like an advisable option now, batting .400 (10 for 25) over his last seven games.
Cooling Off: Michael Young continues to run hot and cold, batting .118 (2 for 17) over his last four games. If you drafted him as your starter, you likely don't have many alternatives, but you need to see some consistent production from him soon. Elvis Andrus continues to flounder in the leadoff spot, batting .133 (2 for 15) over his last four games. He's still a good source of stolen bases at a weak position, though.
Injury Concerns: Ian Kinsler, out all season with a high ankle sprain, is finally set to return Friday. He'll likely be rusty, but if he goes all week without suffering a setback, you have to start him. He was your second-round pick, after all.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rangers face one lefty this week. David Murphy will likely sit out that game for Ryan Garko, and Julio Borbon will likely sit for Craig Gentry.
Lineup Changes: The Murphy-Gentry platoon emerged with Nelson R. Cruz going on the DL with a hamstring injury. You might have to do without him for a couple more weeks. The Rangers decided to make wholesale changes at catcher, optioning both Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden and calling up prospect Max Ramirez. They seem content with light-hitting Matt Treanor as their starter, though. He has no value in mixed leagues.

Toronto Blue Jays
Schedule: @CLE3, @CHW4
Heating Up: John Buck homered three times Thursday, which will no doubt have Fantasy owners scrambling to the waiver wire, but his production is too sporadic for him to make a significant impact in mixed leagues.
Cooling Off: Aaron Hill hasn't hit well since returning from his hamstring injury, batting .160 (4 for 25) over his last eight games. Still, his power potential makes him too valuable to sit in Fantasy.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Blue Jays face just one lefty this week, so you can expect Travis Snider to sit once for Randy Ruiz. Snider still isn't hitting well enough to matter in mixed leagues.
Lineup Changes: None.

Washington Nationals
Schedule: ATL3, FLA3
Heating Up: After a slow start, Nyjer Morgan seems to have recaptured the stroke that made him such an exciting Fantasy option down the stretch last season, batting .341 (14 for 41) with two stolen bases over his last 10 games. He's an advisable start, especially since the Nationals don't face any left-handers this week. Adam Dunn appears to have broken out of his early-season slump, batting .333 (8 for 24) with three home runs over his last six games. He'll always drain your batting average, but his power potential is too great for you to sit him.
Cooling Off: Josh Willingham isn't so tough now that he's facing right-handers more often, batting .194 (6 for 31) over his last 10 games. When he goes cold, it tends to last for weeks at a time, so you might want to bench him. Adam Kennedy might be losing his grip on the starting job, batting .125 (3 for 24) over his last nine games.
Injury Concerns: Ryan Zimmerman missed his seventh straight game with a sore right hamstring Wednesday, but manager Jim Riggleman said he could have pinch hit and expects him to play Friday. If he proves his health over the weekend, you'll obviously want to activate him in Fantasy. Third basemen who have the potential to hit .300 with 30-plus homers are few and far between.
Platoon Possibilities: The Nationals don't face a single left-hander this week, making Roger Bernadina an advisable start in NL-only leagues. He has replaced Willie Harris as the better half of a platoon in right field with Justin Maxwell.
Lineup Changes: One of Kennedy and Cristian Guzman will have to join Harris on the bench once Zimmerman returns to the lineup. Considering Kennedy's slump, he's the more likely candidate. Neither Kennedy nor Guzman has the power or speed to make an impact in mixed leagues.

You can e-mail us your Fantasy Baseball hitting questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com. Be sure to put Hitting Planner in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state. Be aware, due to the large volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee personal responses to all questions.

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Player News
Big seventh inning sinks Ian Kennedy
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:18 pm ET) Padres starting pitcher Ian Kennedy was on top of his game for much of his start Thursday, but fell apart late in a 3-1 loss

Kennedy made it through seven innings in the start, and six of them were nearly flawless. He allowed just one hit through his first six innings and appeared well on his way to his second win even with little support. Unfortunately, three hits and a walk in the seventh inning led to three runs and left Kennedy on the wrong side of a 3-1 loss.

Kennedy struck out seven while allowing four hits and two walks in his seven innings, while lowering his ERA to 4.13. He is 1-3 through four starts, with just nine runs of support total heading into his next start, set for Tuesday in Milwaukee. 


Franklin Morales picks up first win thanks to late rally
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:14 pm ET) Rockies pitcher Franklin Morales tossed his first quality start of the season Thursday, in a 3-1 win voer the Padres.

Morales allowed just one run on a fourth-inning solo home run that put him down 1-0, which was actually where the score stood when Morales exited the game. Fortunately, the offense rallied to score three runs in the seventh inning, in time for Morales to get the win.

Morales was charged with one run on four hits and a walk in six innings of work, while striking out five. He pushed his record to 1-1, with a 4.82 ERA. His next start is set for Tuesday against the Giants.  


Mike Pelfrey escapes rough outing with no-decision
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:10 pm ET) Twins starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey was not at his best again on Thursday, but this time he escaped with a no-decision in a 9-5 win over Toronto. The right-hander was charged with five runs -- four earned -- on four hits and five walks while striking out one over 4 1/3 innings pitched.

Pelfrey owns a 7.98 ERA and a 1.91 WHIP through his first three starts (14 2/3 innings). He'll look to get back on track Tuesday against Tampa Bay.

Casey Fien gets second win of season
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:09 pm ET) Twins reliever Casey Fien was awarded the win Thursday night against the Blue Jays.

Fien (2-0) worked his way around a base hit and needed just 16 pitches to make it out of the eighth inning unscathed. He owns a 4.50 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP with a 4:2 K:BB ratio over six innings pitched this season.

Taylor Jordan hit hard in second loss
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:06 pm ET) Nationals starting pitcher Taylor Jordan struggled through his second subpar start in a row Thursday, in an 8-0 loss to the Nationals.

Jordan took the loss after allowing seven runs -- five earned -- in 5 1/3 innings of work, and he was in trouble from the start. Jordan was tagged for four runs in the first inning, though one of them was unearned. He allowed seven hits and a pair of walks, while striking out four and throwing 61 of 96 pitches for strikes.

Jordan is now 0-2 through his first three starts of the season, and has allowed 10 of his 11 earned runs over the last two outings.  He has a 5.94 ERA heading into his next start, set for Tuesday against the Angels. 


Adam Wainwright tosses first complete-game shutout
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:01 pm ET) Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright twirled a gem Thursday against the Nationals, in an 8-0 win.

Wainwright tossed his first complete-game shutout of the season in the win, and was barely in trouble at all. He surrendered just two hits, both singles, while also walking three batters. He struck out eight batters for the second start in a row as well.

Wainwright has been his typically brilliant self through four starts, holding a 3-1 record and 1.80 ERA in 30 innings of work. He has struck out 32 batters while walking nine heading into his next start, scheduled for Tuesday against the Mets. 


Royals get the best of Scott Feldman
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:57 pm ET) Astros pitcher Scott Feldman took a step back and was on the wrong end of a decision for the first time this season in his team's 5-1 defeat to the Royals on Thursday.

Feldman (2-1) surrendered a run-scoring single to Mike Moustakas in the second, a two-run double to Alcides Escobar in the fourth and a run-scoring double to Salvador Perez in the fifth. He was charged with five runs -- four earned -- on nine hits and one walks while striking out two over six innings pitched.

Feldman has allowed just five earned runs over his first 26 2/3 innings pitched through four starts. He'll look to turn things around again Tuesday in Seattle.

Timeline becoming clear for Doug Fister following sim start
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:53 pm ET) Nationals pitcher Doug Fister overcame the first hurdle in his recovery from a lat strain Thursday, as he got through a two simulated innings without an issue Thursday.

Fister will make another simulated start in five days, with a rehab assignment likely to come after. According to MLB.com, the team has a timetable for Fister that could have him back with the team within 20 days, if his two scheduled rehab starts go according to plan.

"We have to build [up Fister] like we [tried to] build him [up] this spring," Williams said. "I think he is a little bit ahead of the game in that regard. I would like him to get five innings somewhere to make sure he can up that pitch count."


James Shields Ks 12 in win over Houston
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:52 pm ET) Royals pitcher James Shields put together a dominant performance on Thursday, giving his team eight strong innings as he picked up his first win of the season against the Astros in Houston.

Shields (1-2) tossed four scoreless innings to start the game before surrendering a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning, his lone blemish of the night. He yielded one run on four hits and two walks while striking out 12 in a 5-1 win. He threw 107 pitches, 64 of which were strikes.

Shields lowered his ERA from 4.26 to 2.37 over his last two starts, allowing just two earned runs over his last 12 2/3 innings pitched. He will make his next start Tuesday in Cleveland.

Jaime Garcia set for extended spring training
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:41 pm ET) Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia will throw in an extended spring training game Saturday in Jupiter, as he continues to recover from bursitis in his left shoulder. According to MLB.com,  Garcia is set to throw about 35 pitches in his first game action. 

 
 
 
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