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Week 7 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, May 14.

Interleague play begins this week, so any AL team that travels to the NL will lose a hitter, and any NL team that travels to the AL will gain one. The section labeled "Interleague Effect" offers a best guess as to which players will lose or gain at-bats as a result of playing in the opposite league.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Schedule: @FLA2, SF2, TOR3
Heating Up: Stephen Drew is batting .382 (13 for 34) with four doubles and one triple over his last nine games. You'd like for him to hit a few more homers, but he's still a must-start at a weak position.
Cooling Off: After emerging as a Fantasy mainstay with a monster April, Kelly Johnson is batting .179 (7 for 39) so far in May. He has always been streaky, making this slump no reason for alarm. It hasn't lasted long enough for you to consider benching him. Chris Snyder is opening up the door for Miguel Montero to regain full time at-bats once he returns from the DL, batting .111 (3 for 27) in May. You might want to look elsewhere in single-catcher leagues. Mark Reynolds is batting .196 (11 for 56) over his last 16 games, but that'll happen for someone who strikes out as often as he does. His power potential forces you to stick with him.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Diamondbacks face one left-handed pitcher this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Conor Jackson, who missed two weeks with a strained hamstring, returned to the lineup Saturday. With the emergence of Johnson in his absence, he now has to bat second instead of leadoff, dropping Drew lower in the order. Drew might get slightly fewer at-bats as a result, but his RBI potential improves.

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Atlanta Braves
Schedule: NYM2, CIN2, @PIT3
Heating Up: Troy Glaus is proving his shoulder is healthy with his performance so far in May. He's batting .386 (17 for 44) with two home runs, showing streakiness is still his greatest enemy. A power surge is likely on the horizon, so take a flier on him if you need corner infield help. Jason Heyward is batting .500 (13 for 26) with four homers and two steals over his last 10 games, but he's pretty clearly a must-start by now.
Cooling Off: Brian McCann is batting .200 (13 for 65) over his last 20 games, but maybe now that he's wearing glasses again, his bat will come around. You can't afford to sit him.
Injury Concerns: Chipper Jones has battled a groin injury all week, sitting out both Tuesday and Wednesday. If he doesn't get back to playing every day over the weekend, you wouldn't want to take any chances with a perpetual injury risk like him. Yunel Escobar, on the DL with a groin injury of his own, is set to return Saturday. He wasn't hitting well before the injury, but at the weak shortstop position, he's probably worth activating.
Platoon Possibilities: The Braves face two left-handed pitchers this week. Matt Diaz figures to start those games, presumably in place of Eric Hinske, who has started three of the last four games against right-handers.
Lineup Changes: The Braves have had enough of Melky Cabrera and his .196 batting average, turning him into a pinch hitter and defensive replacement. Hinske has taken over the starting job in left field against right-handers and has enough power potential to make an impact in NL-only leagues. Nate McLouth is back to playing every day, though he's still struggling himself, batting .167 (16 for 96). Omar Infante figures to go back to the bench when Escobar returns from the DL.

Baltimore Orioles
Schedule: KC2, @TEX2, @WAS3
Heating Up: After a miserable April, Luke Scott is on the verge of one of his patented hot streaks, batting .259 (7 for 27) with four homers over his last seven games. He's the kind of player who does half a year's damage in a span of three weeks, so if you need a stopgap option, take a flier on him.
Cooling Off: Miguel Tejada is trending in the opposite direction, batting .125 (3 for 24) over his last six games after batting .426 (23 for 54) over his previous 14. He's still worth starting if he qualifies at shortstop in your league.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Orioles face two lefties this week. Rhyne Hughes will sit out those games for Garrett Atkins, making both just AL-only options.
Lineup Changes: The Orioles demoted Nolan Reimold to Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday, calling up Corey Patterson to play left field every day. Even at age 30, Patterson has enough power and speed potential to matter in AL-only leagues, though his opportunity for a breakout expired long ago.
Interleague Effect: Considering Scott's recent hot streak, Patterson is the most likely candidate to sit when the team heads down to Washington for a three-game series at the end of the week. Don't get too attached to him.

Boston Red Sox
Schedule: @NYY2, MIN2, @PHI3
Heating Up: J.D. Drew's hot streak has lasted into mid-May. He's batting .455 (20 for 44) with three homers over his last 12 games and is a worthy stopgap until he hits another slide (or suffers another injury -- whichever comes first).
Cooling Off: Adrian Beltre has gotten back on the wrong side of streaky, batting .158 (3 for 19) over his last five games. He isn't enough of a home-run threat to be a must-start in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: Mike Cameron (abdominal) has already begun a rehab assignment and will likely return over the weekend, but he's the kind of player you only start when hot. Unless you play in an AL-only league, you wouldn't want to activate him as he's coming off the DL. Jacoby Ellsbury (ribs) is close to beginning a rehab assignment, but even if he returns this week, he's unlikely to play more than two or three games. Keep him reserved.
Platoon Possibilities: The Red Sox face two left-handers this week, which impacts the platoon of David Ortiz and Mike Lowell at DH. Then again, interleague play makes neither player an advisable start this week.
Lineup Changes: One of Darnell T. McDonald and Jeremy Hermida has to go back to the bench when Cameron comes off the DL. Then again, with Ellsbury soon to return himself, both will be back on the bench before too long.
Interleague Effect: Pretty straightforward here. Neither Ortiz nor Lowell can do much in the field, so that platoon will go to the bench for the team's three-game series at Philadelphia.

Scott's top sleepers for Week 7
Player Start %
1. Alberto Callaspo, 3B, Royals 62
2. Juan Pierre, OF, White Sox 45
3. Rafael Furcal, SS, Dodgers 19
4. Troy Glaus, 1B, Braves 28
5. Mike Aviles, 2B, Royals 23
6. Starlin Castro, SS, Cubs 44
7. Nyjer Morgan, OF, Nationals 46
8. Scott Podsednik, OF, Royals 45
9. Russell Branyan, 1B, Indians 8
10. Luke Scott, OF, Orioles 8
* Sleepers are players started in less than 65 percent of CBSSports.com leagues

Chicago Cubs
Schedule: COL2, @PHI2, @TEX3
Heating Up: Alfonso Soriano, who has worked with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo to change his batting stance this year, continues to get positive results. He's batting .415 (17 for 41) with five homers over his last 11 games and is back to being a must-start in Fantasy.
Cooling Off: Right on cue, Kosuke Fukudome is beginning to cool off from his hot April, batting .227 over his last eight games. The one-month wonder follows this same pattern every year.
Injury Concerns: Ryan Theriot missed Wednesday's game with a tight hamstring, but it's just a day-to-day thing and likely won't change his status for the upcoming week.
Platoon Possibilities: The Cubs face three lefties this week, giving you even more incentive to bench Fukudome. He figures to sit three times for Xavier Nady.
Lineup Changes: The Cubs recently called up 20-year-old prospect Starlin Castro and made him their everyday shortstop, bumping Theriot over to second base and sending the Mike Fontenot-Jeff Baker platoon to the bench. Castro is batting .364 (8 for 22) with a double, a triple and a homer so far, and he deserves a flier in all leagues because he plays such a weak position.
Interleague Effect: Tyler Colvin figures to benefit most from the team's three-game series at Texas, but Nady could get an additional start or two as well.

Chicago White Sox
Schedule: @DET2, LAA2, FLA3
Heating Up: Juan Pierre is quickly undoing all the damage done to his batting average in April, batting .386 (17 for 44) with eight stolen bases over his last 10 games. Unless you play in a league that completely disregards stolen bases, you should probably be starting him now. Alex Rios is batting .429 (15 for 35) with three homers and two steals so far in May, which should hopefully win over anyone still on the fence about him regaining must-start status.
Cooling Off: Gordon Beckham's performance has gone from bad to worse in May. He's batting .088 (3 for 34) for the month. His potential remains too great for you to cut him, but you wouldn't want to start him right now. Mark Teahen is batting .156 (7 for 45) over his last 12 games, but his lack of pop makes him a bad choice in mixed leagues anyway.
Injury Concerns: Andruw Jones sat out Wednesday with a stiff neck and will sit out Friday as well, according to manager Ozzie Guillen. Either the White Sox are being ultra cautious with him, or this isn't just a case of him sleeping on it wrong. Monitor Jones closely over the weekend.
Platoon Possibilities: The White Sox face one lefty this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: A prolonged absence for Jones would open the door for Mark Kotsay to play virtually every day, but he'd be just a low-end AL-only option.

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Cincinnati Reds
Schedule: MIL2, @ATL2, @CLE3
Heating Up: Brandon Phillips, who had a miserable April, is batting .346 (18 for 52) with two homers and two steals over his last 13 games, proving he's still a must-start. Joey Votto is finally showing why you invested an early-round pick in him, batting .372 (16 for 43) with four homers in May.
Cooling Off: No player is significantly underachieving right now.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Reds face one left-hander this week, which would have meant something in the past. Lately, though, the team's rotation of outfielders hasn't depended so much on lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: To clarify, Jay Bruce is the everyday starter in right field, but Drew Stubbs, Laynce Nix, Jonny Gomes and Chris Heisey, one of the team's top prospects coming into the season, have rotated in and out of the other two spots lately. Stubbs figures to get the most starts and still has some mixed-league appeal as a potential power-speed threat, but you should probably leave the other three for NL-only leagues.
Interleague Effect: The Reds will be able to find a few extra at-bats for their surplus of outfielders during their three-game series at Cleveland, but no one player stands to see a notable increase.

Cleveland Indians
Schedule: @TB2, KC2, CIN3
Heating Up: Russell Branyan, who hit .200 (7 for 35) with no homers in his first 12 games after returning from a herniated disc, is hitting .556 (5 for 9) with three homers over his last two games. He's notoriously streaky, so if you're looking to make up some ground in homers, he's worth a look. Travis Hafner has had a mostly discouraging season, but he's batting .391 (9 for 23) over his last seven games and bears watching because of his past success.
Cooling Off: Luis Valbuena is batting .100 (3 for 30) over his last 12 games and has yet to show any of the promise he did as a rookie last year. He's strictly an AL-only option.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Indians face one left-hander this week. Mark Grudzielanek might replace Valbuena for that game, which doesn't mean much in most Fantasy leagues.
Lineup Changes: None.

Top 10 Hitters Added
Player % Change
1. Starlin Castro, SS, Cubs 31
2. John Buck, C, Blue Jays 22
3. Mike Aviles, 2B, Royals 18
4. Michael Stanton, OF, Marlins 14
5. Aaron Rowand, OF, Giants 14
6. Brennan Boesch, OF, Tigers 14
7. Travis Snider, OF, Blue Jays 13
8. Troy Glaus, 1B, Braves 12
9. Brett Gardner, OF, Yankees 10
10. Rod Barajas, C, Mets 10

Colorado Rockies
Schedule: @CHC2, @HOU2, @KC3
Heating Up: Miguel Olivo is cooking again, going 7 for 8 with two home runs in his last two games after going 2 for 28 (.071) with no home runs in his previous eight. His power potential makes him worth starting at a weak position no matter how streaky he is. Ian Stewart is hitting his best since the first week of the season, batting .381 (8 for 21) with a homer over his last five games.
Cooling Off: Todd Helton is batting just .118 (2 for 17) over his last five games. He already doesn't have much power for a first baseman, so when he's not hitting for average, he's not worth using in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rockies don't face a single left-hander this week, not that they have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Brad Hawpe returned from the DL and reclaimed his starting job in right field, forcing Eric O. Young to the bench. Hawpe is worth activating in all leagues because of his ability to hit for average and power. Young won't factor outside of NL-only leagues in his new role.
Interleague Effect: Of course, Young might get a start or two more when the team visits Kansas City for a three-game series. Then again, the Rockies could decide to go with Seth Smith instead. Nobody stands out as a clear winner here.

Detroit Tigers
Schedule: CHW2, @OAK2, @LAD3
Heating Up: As they have a knack for doing year after year, the Tigers have gotten a major contribution from a player not considered a top prospect coming into the season. Brennan Boesch is batting .410 (16 for 39) with three homers over his last 11 games and would be worth a flier even in mixed leagues if he didn't face the threat of losing at-bats at the end of the week. Miguel Cabrera is batting .476 (20 for 42) with three homers over his last 12 games, but what else is new with him?
Cooling Off: Johnny Damon is off to a slow start in May, batting .152 (5 for 33) over his last 10 games. He never stays cold for long, though, so keep him active. Brandon Inge, on the other hand, can stay cold for half a season, and he's batting .143 (5 for 35) so far in May. Surely, you can find a better third baseman out there.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Tigers face two left-handers this week, but Boesch has gotten hot enough that they won't necessarily sit him against lefties. They didn't Thursday against CC Sabathia.
Lineup Changes: None.
Interleague Effect: With Magglio Ordonez, Austin Jackson and Damon all virtual locks for the starting lineup, Boesch is the most likely candidate to sit when the team visits the Dodgers at the end of the week. Don't jump on him just yet.

Florida Marlins
Schedule: ARI2, @STL2, @CHW3
Heating Up: Chris Coghlan isn't exactly hot, but he is showing some signs of progress over his last eight games, batting .333 (9 for 27) with his one and only extra-base hit of the season.
Cooling Off: The Marlins are cold up and down the lineup. Jorge Cantu, who had that long hitting streak at the beginning of the season, is batting .122 (5 for 41) over his last 11 games and isn't beyond sitting in mixed leagues. John Baker is batting .100 (4 for 40) over his last 13 games and continues to lose at-bats to Ronny Paulino. Hanley Ramirez is batting .152 (5 for 33) over his last nine games, but you'd never bench him.
Injury Concerns: Maybin, who hurt his wrist crashing into the brick outfield wall at Wrigley Field on Tuesday, should be fine to play this weekend. But considering he's batting .140 (7 for 50) over his last 15 games, he probably won't play well.
Platoon Possibilities: The Marlins face two left-handers this week, which means Paulino will start twice for Baker. Neither matters in mixed leagues.
Lineup Changes: None.
Interleague Effect: The Marlins could use their DH spot to give Wes Helms a few extra bats, but they'll more likely use it to give Hanley Ramirez and some of their other everyday players some time off from the field.

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Houston Astros
Schedule: @LAD2, COL2, TB3
Heating Up: Lance Berkman, who has had a hard time getting going since returning from arthroscopic knee surgery, appears on the verge of breaking out, batting .500 (7 for 14) with two homers and four walks over his last four games. He's a notoriously streaky player, so perhaps his slow start was more the result of a cold streak than his sore knee. Time to get him active in all leagues. Same goes for Hunter Pence, who also appears to be heating up after a slow April, homering three times in his last four games.
Cooling Off: Michael Bourn isn't so cold you should absolutely sit him, but he has slowed his pace down considerably, batting .182 (6 for 33) with no stolen bases over his last eight games.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Astros face one lefty this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

Kansas City Royals
Schedule: @BAL2, @CLE2, COL3
Heating Up: Alberto Callaspo, now the team's everyday third baseman with Alex Gordon in the minors, is thriving in the role, batting .320 (16 for 50) with two homers and four doubles in May. Then again, he isn't doing anything he didn't do last year. He's one of the more underrated players in Fantasy. Mike Aviles is doing his best to prove his elbow injury was the source of his struggles last season, batting .417 (15 for 36) with two home runs over his last nine games.
Cooling Off: Jose Guillen is hitless in his last 18 at-bats and batting .107 (6 for 56) over his last 16 games. He'll have another hot streak sooner or later, but you should avoiding using him now.
Injury Concerns: Rick Ankiel, on the DL with a strained right quadriceps, could potentially return Tuesday, but he hasn't begun a rehab assignment and is too inconsistent for you to trust right out of the gate. Jason Kendall sat out Thursday's game with a bad bruise on his left forearm, but you should be doing your best to avoid starting him regardless of the injury.
Platoon Possibilities: The Royals face one left-hander this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Aviles has started eight of the team's last nine games and has seemingly overtaken Chris Getz as the team's starting second baseman. His potential at a weak position makes him worth a flier in all leagues.

L.A. Angels
Schedule: @TEX2, @CHW2, @STL3
Heating Up: Erick Aybar looks like he might finally be getting comfortable in the leadoff spot, batting .300 (9 for 30) with three stolen bases over his last seven games. Take a flier on him if you need help at the weak shortstop position.
Cooling Off: Hideki Matsui is batting .113 (6 for 53) over his last 16 games. His hot start this season suggests he still has plenty left in the tank at age 35, but you should probably bench him for now. Bobby Abreu is batting .159 (7 for 44) so far in May, but his year-to-year consistency keeps him a must-start in Fantasy. Mike Napoli and Brandon Wood are still as cold as ever.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Angels face three lefties this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.
Interleague Effect: Matsui can play the outfield well enough to keep starting when the team heads to St. Louis, but he still figures to get a day off sometime during the series. Manager Mike Scioscia will probably rest a different player for each of the three games.

L.A. Dodgers
Schedule: HOU2, SD2, DET3
Heating Up: Andre Ethier is hitting better than anyone in baseball right now, batting .478 (22 for 46) with five homers over his last 11 games, and he figures to keep going bonkers with favorable matchups this week. Start him, obviously. Russell Martin is batting .303 (10 for 33) with two homers during an eight-game hitting streak, which is no doubt encouraging, but you'd never bench a catcher like him.
Cooling Off: Casey Blake is batting .143 (7 for 49) over his last 15 games. Because he's a fringe starter even at his best, you certainly wouldn't want to use him at his worst.
Injury Concerns: Rafael Furcal is set to return Friday from a hamstring injury. He was looking like a must-start before the injury, batting .309 (25 for 81) with eight stolen bases, so as long as he looks healthy over the weekend, you'll want to get him active.
Platoon Possibilities: The Dodgers face two left-handers this week, which might cut into Blake DeWitt's playing time a bit, but he's not in a clear-cut platoon with anybody.
Lineup Changes: Jamey Carroll will return to the bench once Furcal returns to the lineup, but the slap hitter had little Fantasy appeal even as a starter.

Monday
By the Numbers: Al Melchior examines BABIP trends that forecast potential long-term trends
Tuesday
Fantasy Update: Audio | Video
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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
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Fantasy Update: Audio | Video
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Milwaukee Brewers
Schedule: @CIN2, @PIT2, @MIN3
Heating Up: Casey McGehee is back swinging the way he did to start the season, batting .526 (10 for 19) with two homers over his last five games. Prince Fielder is showing his first signs of living up to his first-round status, batting .306 (11 for 36) with two homers over his last nine games. You should have never doubted him, though.
Cooling Off: Alcides Escobar is playing his way out of mixed-league relevance, batting .132 (5 for 38) over his last 11 games. And oh yeah, he has yet to steal a base this season.
Injury Concerns: Ryan J. Braun, who sat out Tuesday and Wednesday after getting hit by a pitch on the left elbow Monday, has a good chance of returning Friday after the off day Thursday. Even if he doesn't, he's sure to return sometime over the weekend, so keep him active. Carlos Gomez, on the DL with a strained left rotator cuff, could return as soon as Wednesday, but because he's less than an everyday player even when healthy, you shouldn't start him in Fantasy.
Platoon Possibilities: The Brewers face one left-hander this week. Jim Edmonds might sit out that game, but the 39-year-old isn't worth using in mixed leagues anyway.
Lineup Changes: The Gomez injury has allowed Corey C. Hart to play every day, but he's still not the power-speed threat he once was, giving him little mixed-league appeal. Jody Gerut has gotten to start with Braun injured.
Interleague Effect: Gerut might get to keep playing even after Braun returns with a three-game series at Minnesota coming up at the end of the week. If your NL-only league is so deep that you considered starting him this past week, you might want to do the same for this upcoming week.

Minnesota Twins
Schedule: @TOR2, @BOS2, MIL3
Heating Up: Denard Span is slowly but surely getting his batting average up to the .300 range where it belongs. He has been on fire in May, batting .404 (19 for 47). His ability to get on base and steal bases makes him an advisable start even in Head-to-Head leagues.
Cooling Off: Orlando Hudson was cruising just a week ago but has suddenly fallen off the face of the planet, batting .174 (4 for 23) over his last seven games. He's a borderline starter even when at his best, so feel free to bench him now.
Injury Concerns: J.J. Hardy had to go on the DL with a bruised left wrist, but because he had already sat out a few games with the injury, he's eligible to return Thursday. Still, you should reserve him for this week since he won't play more than four games.
Platoon Possibilities: The Twins face two lefties this week, but the division of labor between Jason Kubel, Jim Thome and Delmon Young has become more of a three-man rotation than a lefty-righty platoon.
Lineup Changes: Alexi Casilla has gotten to start at shortstop with Hardy sidelined, but he won't get enough at-bats this week to make an impact in Fantasy.

N.Y. Mets
Schedule: @ATL2, @WAS2, NYY3
Heating Up: Angel Pagan is becoming a fixture in the leadoff spot, batting .353 (12 for 34) over his last eight games. His speed and extra-base pop make him a sleeper in all leagues.
Cooling Off: Jeff Francoeur continues to fall apart after his encouraging start, batting .138 (12 for 87) over his last 25 games. You'd be crazy to start him in a mixed league right now. Jose B. Reyes is batting .196 (10 for 51) so far in May, but good luck finding a viable alternative.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Mets face one left-hander this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

N.Y. Yankees
Schedule: BOS2, TB2, @NYM3
Heating Up: Brett Gardner has slowed down a bit over the last week, but he's still batting .364 (20 for 55) with seven stolen bases over his last 15 games and remains underowned at 81 percent. He's worth starting in all leagues right now as sort of a halfway between Juan Pierre and Denard Span.
Cooling Off: The middle of the diamond has gone cold for the Yankees all of a sudden. Derek Jeter is batting .116 (5 for 43) over his last 10 games, and Robinson Cano is batting .179 (5 for 28) over his last eight, not that you'd seriously consider benching either player.
Injury Concerns: Nick Swisher, who missed Thursday's game with a tight left biceps, expects to return Friday. Considering his ongoing hot streak, he's an advisable start in Fantasy.
Platoon Possibilities: The Yankees face two left-handers this week, but with Randy Winn and Marcus Thames potentially playing alongside each other following the injury to Nick Johnson (wrist), the team doesn't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: So far, the Yankees have used Johnson's vacated DH spot to give some of their usual starters days off from the field, making the long-term replacement unclear. Francisco Cervelli figures to get more starts, allowing Jorge Posada's bat to stay in the lineup even when his knees need a rest, but that obviously won't be the case every day.
Interleague Effect: Winn and Thames will probably alternate when the team visits the Mets for three games, so both remain AL-only options for now.

Oakland Athletics
Schedule: SEA2, DET2, SF3
Heating Up: Daric Barton is batting .333 (11 for 33) with a homer over his last eight games, making him a viable option in mixed leagues. His lack of pop prevents him from becoming anything more.
Cooling Off: Cliff Pennington is still an underrated Fantasy option as sort of the second coming of Orlando Cabrera, but he's batting just .161 (5 for 31) over his last eight games. Adam Rosales, who was a sleeper a few weeks back, has slowed down himself, batting .139 (5 for 36) over his last nine games. Rajai Davis, whose early struggles have made him less than an everyday player, isn't doing much to pull himself out of the rut, batting .105 (2 for 19) over his last six games.
Injury Concerns: Kurt Suzuki, who hasn't played since April 23 because of a strained side, should finally come off the DL this weekend. As long as he proves healthy, you'll want him active. He's still one of the best at a weak position. Coco Crisp (finger) and Mark Ellis (hamstring) are both set to begin rehab assignments early this week, but neither has much mixed-league appeal.
Platoon Possibilities: The Athletics face three left-handers this week, so Jake Fox figures to get extra playing time in place of Eric Chavez.
Lineup Changes: None.

Best Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Royals @BAL2, @CLE2, COL3
2. Dodgers HOU2, SD2, DET3
3. Nationals @STL2, NYM2, BAL3
4. Orioles KC2, @TEX2, @WAS3
5. Rangers LAA2, BAL2, CHC3

Philadelphia Phillies
Schedule: PIT2, CHC2, BOS3
Heating Up: Jayson Werth has seemingly been on a roll since the beginning of the season, but he has picked up his power numbers lately, batting .395 (17 for 43) with four homers over his last 12 games. After a rough stretch at the end of April and beginning of May, Placido Polanco seems back on track, batting .476 (10 for 21) over his last five games. He's worth starting again in all leagues.
Cooling Off: No players are significantly underachieving right now.
Injury Concerns: Jimmy Rollins, who hasn't played since April 12 because of a strained right calf, is set to come off the DL early this week. Starting a player fresh off the DL is always a risky move, but given his potential at the weak shortstop position, you should probably roll the dice on him. Keep an eye on any news that develops over the weekend. Carlos Ruiz sprained his right knee Wednesday, which could prove especially troublesome for a catcher. The team lists the injury as day to day, but unless he returns over the weekend, you should probably avoid him in Fantasy.
Platoon Possibilities: The Phillies face three left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Paul Hoover figures to start behind the plate if Ruiz misses an extended period of time, but he'd be a last resort even in NL-only leagues.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Schedule: @PHI2, MIL2, ATL3
Heating Up: No players are significantly overachieving right now.
Cooling Off: Andy LaRoche is showing why his hot streak wasn't a real cause for excitement, batting .111 (2 for 18) over his last five games. He remains just an NL-only option. Akinori Iwamura, who has struggled much of the season, is only moving in the wrong direction, batting .031 (1 for 32) over his last nine games. You shouldn't bother with him right now. Ryan Doumit is batting .107 (3 for 28) over his last eight games, but you have little hope of finding much else at the weak catcher position.
Injury Concerns: Ronny Cedeno sat out Wednesday after taking a fastball to the wrist Tuesday. He'll likely return over the weekend, but he doesn't matter outside of NL-only leagues. Ryan Church, who had been getting more playing time with Jeff Clement struggling, missed his fifth straight game with a bruised wrist Wednesday. Keep him reserved if you own him in a deeper format.
Platoon Possibilities: The Pirates face two left-handed pitchers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Delwyn Young and Steve Pearce have been getting more playing time with Church sidelined and Clement struggling. The division of labor is unclear, but both players lack the upside to factor in mixed leagues.

San Diego Padres
Schedule: SF2, @LAD2, @SEA3
Heating Up: Yorvit Torrealba is making consistent contact, batting .364 (12 for 33) over his last nine games, and getting regular playing time as a result. His lack of pop still limits his appeal to NL-only leagues, though.
Cooling Off: Scott Hairston is getting more-consistent playing time, but he isn't capitalizing on it, batting .160 (4 for 25) over his last eight games. He remains just an NL-only option. Kyle Blanks and Will Venable are getting to be NL-only options themselves with their poor hitting of late. Blanks is batting .122 (6 for 49) over his last 17 games, and Venable is batting .143 (6 for 42) over his last 14.
Injury Concerns: Everth Cabrera, on the DL with a strained hamstring, is set to return Friday. He still has good stolen-base potential, but he's the kind of player you only use when hot.
Platoon Possibilities: The Padres face four left-handers this week, meaning Venable will likely sit four times for Oscar Salazar. Avoid him.
Lineup Changes: None.
Interleague Effect: The Padres will probably use their DH spot to spell players like Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Headley in the field. No player stands to see a significant increase in at-bats.

Worst Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Astros @LAD2, COL2, TB3
2. Red Sox @NYY2, MIN2, @PHI3
3. Padres SF2, @LAD2, @SEA3
4. Athletics SEA2, DET2, SF3
5. Angels @TEX2, @CHW2, @STL3

San Francisco Giants
Schedule: @SD2, @ARI2, @OAK3
Heating Up: Bengie Molina has hit safely in 13 of his last 15 games, batting .362 (17 for 47) during that stretch. He's getting older, but he remains a must-start at the weak catcher position.
Cooling Off: With his time as an everyday player running out, Juan Uribe is showing his true colors, batting .154 (4 for 26) over his last eight games. Leave him for NL-only leagues. Pablo Sandoval is batting .104 (5 for 48) so far in May, but you can't afford to bench a player with his upside.
Injury Concerns: Mark DeRosa, who hasn't played since Saturday because of a wrist injury, has a good chance of landing on the DL this weekend. Considering he's hitting only .194, you shouldn't take your chances with him. The team likely wouldn't use him as more than pinch hitter anyway. Freddy Sanchez, out all year as he recovers from shoulder and knee surgeries, will begin a rehab assignment Friday and potentially return midway through the upcoming week. He's a good enough contact hitter to make an impact in mixed leagues eventually, but you wouldn't want to use him in those formats until he gets hot.
Platoon Possibilities: The Giants face two left-handers this week, so you can expect Andres Torres to make two starts. Whether he replaces Nate Schierholtz or John Bowker depends on the health of DeRosa.
Lineup Changes: Bowker has stepped in for DeRosa, but he has flopped as a starter in the past and doesn't matter outside of NL-only leagues.
Interleague Effect: The Giants will probably rest a variety of players during their interleague series at Oakland, so no one player figures to see an increase in at-bats.

Seattle Mariners
Schedule: @OAK2, TOR2, SD3
Heating Up: Ichiro Suzuki is certainly no stranger to multi-hit games, but he has five in a row, batting .571 (12 for 21) with four stolen bases during that stretch.
Cooling Off: Chone Figgins is batting .103 (3 for 29) over his last eight games, dropping his season batting average back below .200. He can't steal bases if he doesn't get on base, so you might want to sit him until he comes around. Casey Kotchman is in an absolute free fall, batting .089 (4 for 49) over his last 13 games. Clearly, you have no incentive to start him.
Injury Concerns: Franklin Gutierrez missed his second straight game Wednesday with stiffness in his lower back, but the Mariners don't think it'll sideline him into the weekend. Plan to use him as you normally would.
Platoon Possibilities: The Mariners face five left-handed pitchers this week, so you shouldn't expect to get much of anything from Ken Griffey, not that you normally would. You have to expect Kotchman's struggles to continue as well. Mike Sweeney might be worth a flier this week, though.
Lineup Changes: Outfield prospect Michael Saunders has taken over in left field with Milton Bradley on the restricted list and is batting .389 (7 for 18) with two home runs. He's a must-own in AL-only leagues and has the upside to make an impact in mixed leagues as well. Josh Wilson is starting at shortstop with Jack Wilson (knee) on the DL, but the former doesn't hit any better than the latter. Leave him for deeper AL-only leagues.

St. Louis Cardinals
Schedule: WAS2, FLA2, LAA3
Heating Up: Ryan Ludwick is back to loving life in the two hole, batting .455 (10 for 22) over his last five games. He's the kind of player whose production comes in spurts, so you'll want to take advantage of this one.
Cooling Off: After getting off to a hot start in May, David Freese has come back down to earth, batting .125 (3 for 24) over his last seven games. He's still a viable option in mixed leagues, though he could stand to hit for more power. Colby Rasmus, who has had an up-and-down sophomore season, is back on the wrong side of streaky, batting .179 (7 for 39) over his last 13 games. Brendan Ryan has one hit in his last 21 at-bats, but you'd never sit him.
Injury Concerns: Felipe Lopez, on the DL with a strained right elbow, could potentially return this week, but he'd go back to playing a part-time role, making him an NL-only option at best.
Platoon Possibilities: The Cardinals face three left-handers this week. Ramsus could sit out those games for any one of the team's backup outfielders, giving you even more incentive to sit him.
Lineup Changes: None.

Tampa Bay Rays
Schedule: CLE2, @NYY2, @HOU3
Heating Up: Ben Zobrist still has yet to homer this season, but he is performing better in May, batting .325 (13 for 40). Just stick with him. The homers will come.
Cooling Off: B.J. Upton and Carlos Pena haven't gotten any hotter since last week. Upton is batting .103 (4 for 39) over his last 11 games, and Pena is batting .050 (2 for 40) over his last 12. The upside for both is huge, so you'd hate to miss out on a bounce-back week. Avoid sitting either unless you have another player you're just dying to get in your lineup.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rays face three left-handers this week, which means Gabe Kapler will get three starts, replacing the Reid Brignac-Sean Rodriguez platoon at second base. All three are strictly AL-only options right now.
Lineup Changes: Willy Aybar has begun spelling Pat Burrell at DH off and on. Considering Burrell is batting only .213 this year and .220 since joining the Rays last year, the Rays might begin to lean more and more in Aybar's direction. He's worth a flier in AL-only leagues.
Interleague Effect: Of course, neither Burrell nor Aybar figures to start during the three-game series at Houston, so you should probably bench both this week.

Texas Rangers
Schedule: LAA2, BAL2, CHC3
Heating Up: Elvis Andrus upped his hitting streak to 14 games with a four-hit effort against the Athletics on Thursday. He's batting .389 (21 for 54) with nine stolen bases during the streak and has emerged as a must-start in Fantasy. Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero have both rediscovered their power strokes after slow starts, with Hamilton batting .326 (30 for 92) with seven homers over his last 21 games and Guerrero batting .324 (12 for 37) with five homers over his last nine. Keep both active.
Cooling Off: Justin Smoak is hitting for power and drawing plenty of walks, but he's still batting just .197 (13 for 66) with just one multi-hit game. Hard to get too excited about him yet.
Injury Concerns: Nelson R. Cruz, who hasn't played since April 26 because of a strained hamstring, is finally set to come off the DL on Friday. Provided he looks healthy over the weekend, you'll want to get him active. He was performing like one of the best power hitters in the game before the injury.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rangers face three left-handers this week, which means Julio Borbon will lose some at-bats to Ryan Garko. If you're desperate for steals, now isn't the time to start him.
Lineup Changes: David Murphy figures to go back to the bench with Cruz returning. Reserve him in AL-only leagues.

Toronto Blue Jays
Schedule: MIN2, @SEA2, @ARI3
Heating Up: Fred Lewis has taken off as the team's leadoff hitter, batting .381 (16 for 42) over his last nine games. He has some appeal when hot, but his power and speed are too minimal for him to make a significant impact. John Buck has yet to cool off, batting .500 (8 for 16) with three homers over his last five games, but knowing how streaky he is, you've probably missed the party if you haven't jumped on him already.
Cooling Off: Adam Lind is having trouble adjusting following his breakout 2009, batting .068 (3 for 44) so far in May. He still has elite potential, but he's not beyond sitting in shallower leagues. Lyle Overbay is doing nothing worth mentioning in mixed leagues, batting .151 (8 for 53) over his last 16 games.
Injury Concerns: Aaron Hill sat out Wednesday's game with renewed tightness in his right hamstring. He has already served one DL stint because of the injury. If that wasn't enough to heal it, what is? Considering he's hitting only .071 (2 for 28) over his last seven games, he's not beyond sitting this week if you have viable alternatives.
Platoon Possibilities: The Blue Jays face one left-hander this week. Travis Snider might sit out that game for Randy Ruiz, but that's not enough to change his Fantasy appeal.
Lineup Changes: None.
Interleague Effect: The Blue Jays play three games at Arizona to end the week. They'll probably still want Lind in the lineup for those games, moving him to the outfield, which makes Lewis and Snider the most likely candidates to sit. Both have hit well lately, so chances are neither will sit for all three games. Still, the threat is enough for you to avoid both in mixed leagues this week.

Washington Nationals
Schedule: @STL2, NYM2, BAL3
Heating Up: Adam Kennedy is making his first legitimate contribution of the season, batting .391 (9 for 23) over his last eight games, but you shouldn't start him unless you're desperate for steals. Ryan Zimmerman is verifying he belongs in the elite class of third basemen, batting .313 (10 for 32) with four homers over his last eight games.
Cooling Off: Nyjer Morgan is batting .172 (5 for 29) over his last eight games, but he has a good chance of coming around with the Nationals facing six right-handed pitchers this week. If you need steals, you should keep him active.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Nationals face one left-hander this week. Roger Bernadina might sit out that game, but with Justin Maxwell back in the minors, his platoon partner isn't so clear. His power-speed potential makes him worth a pickup in NL-only leagues.
Lineup Changes: None.

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Player News
Daniel Webb earns one-out win
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(1:08 am ET) White Sox reliever Daniel Webb picked up his first career win in just about the easiest possible fashion Tuesday, in a 2-1 win over the Red Sox.

Webb entered the game with runners on first and second in a tie game, but had record just one out to finish the inning. He induced a ground out to end the frame, and the White Sox went on to score the winning run in the bottom half of the inning, earning Webb the win.

Web has been a solid contributor out of the White Sox bullpen, posting a 2.35 ERA in 7 2/3 innings of work. 


Burke Badenhop takes tough-luck loss
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(1:04 am ET) Red Sox reliever Burke Badenhop took his second loss of the season Tuesday against the White Sox, though he didn't get much help from the defense.

Badenhop got the last out of the eighth inning, but ran into trouble in the ninth with the game tied at one. He allowed a leadoff walk to Alejandro De Aza, who was then caught stealing, before allowing a single and being pulled with two outs.

Badenhop took the loss as Chris Capuano allowed the White Sox to score the winning run, though that came on a throwing error by shortstop Xander Bogaerts. Badenhop has now allowed a run in four straight outings, leaving him with a 7.71 ERA in seven innings of work.


Kevin Kouzmanoff's hot start continues
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:57 am ET) The Rangers got a big boost from an unexpected source Tuesday, as Kevin Kouzmanoff carried the team to a 5-0 win over the Mariners.

Kouzmanoff did much of the heavy lifting offensively while extending his season-opening hit streak to six games. He went 3 for 4 with three RBI, and each of his hits went for extra bases as he remains scorching hot to open the season.

Kouzmanoff is hitting .450/.522/.750 with five RBI and three runs scored in six games since being called up last week.


Big inning downs Phil Hughes in first loss
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:47 am ET) Struggling Twins pitcher Phil Hughes finally took his first loss of the season Tuesday, in a 9-3 loss to the Blue Jays.

Hughes cruised through the first five innings of his start, before the Blue Jays jumped on him for four straight hits to open the sixth inning. He was pulled from the game, and all four runners came around to score, as he ended up with four earned runs allowed on eight hits and a walk in five innings. He did match a season-high with seven strikeouts, while throwing 60 of 87 pitches for strikes.

Hughes carries a 7.20 ERA and 0-1 record into his fourth start, set for Sunday in Kansas City.


Brandon Morrow exits early in no-decision
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:43 am ET) Blue Jays starting pitcher Brandon Morrow struggled early in his start Tuesday against the Twins, but the offense bailed him out in a 9-3 win.

Morrow couldn't make it through four innings, as he racked up a massive pitch count early. He was ultimately tagged with two runs on four hits and four walks in 3 2/3 innings, while striking out four and throwing 98 pitches.

Morrow took a no-decision as the offense exploded once he left the game. He enters his fourth start, set for Sunday in Cleveland, with a 1-1 record and 5.52 ERA. 


Erik Johnson takes no-decision in first quality start
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:36 am ET) White Sox pitcher Erik Johnson ended snapped out of his early season slide Tuesday, in a 2-1 win over the Red Sox.

Johnson, who entered the game with a 9.58 ERA in his first two starts, allowed just one run in six-plus innings this time around. He was charged with just one run on a solo homer, while allowing three runs and two walks with nine strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings of work.

Despite tossing his first quality start of the season, Johnson had to settle for a no-decision in the 2-1 win. He will look to turn this into a positive trend in his next start, set for Sunday at Texas.


Kirk Nieuwenhuis homers in three-hit debut
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:34 am ET) After being called up to the Mets earlier in the day, outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis went 3 for 5 with a home run and three RBI in his team's 9-0 win over the Diamondbacks Tuesday.

Nieuwenhuis knocked an RBI single in the first inning before smacking a two-run home run in the fourth. He could see regular action over the next few days as the Mets wait for Chris Young to come off the disabled list.


Jake Peavy settles for yet another no-decision
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:32 am ET) Red Sox starting pitcher Jake Peavy continues to get very little help from his teammates, as he settled for a no-decision in any quality start Tuesday against the White Sox.

Peavy allowed just one earned run on a solo home run in six innings of work, and  pitched around a spell of wildness. He allowed just three hits to make up for four walks, while striking out eight batters for the second start in a row.

Despite allowing just one run, Peavy settled for his third no-decision in a row, as the Red Sox fell, 2-1. He has a 1.93 ERA in three starts, but has yet to record a win as the Red Sox have scored just six runs total in support.

Peavy will look for his first win in his next start, set for Sunday against the Orioles.


Bronson Arroyo slammed for nine runs Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:30 am ET) Diamondbacks pitcher Bronson Arroyo couldn't make it through four innings Tuesday, giving up nine earned runs on 10 hits and one walk in 3 1/3 innings while striking out one in his team's 9-0 loss to the Mets.

Three of the runs scored upon Arroyo (1-1) came in the first inning, and he was able to put together two scoreless innings before running into trouble during a six-run fourth. The horrendous outing boosted Arroyo's ERA to 9.95, and he also owns a 6:4 K:BB ratio in 12 2/3 innings. He's slated to face the Cubs in Chicago Monday.


Robbie Grossman sent down Tuesday
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:19 am ET) The Astros optioned outfielder Robbie Grossman to Triple-A Oklahoma City Tuesday, in anticipation of the expected callup of top prospect George Springer Wednesday.

Grossman was hitting just .125/.236/.313 prior to his demotion, with two home runs and six RBI in 14 games. 


 
 
 
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