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Week 23 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, Sept. 3.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Schedule: SF3, @COL3
Heating Up: Stephen Drew has finally begun to tap into some of his long-forgotten potential, batting .444 (16 for 36) with four homers over his last eight games. That's all it takes for him to go back to being a must-start at the weak shortstop position. Mark Reynolds is having maybe his best run of a mostly disappointing season, batting .320 (8 for 25) with five homers over his last seven games. His power potential makes him tough to sit even when slumping. Adam LaRoche continues to put up big second-half numbers, batting .303 (50 for 165) with 10 homers since the All-Star break.
Cooling Off: Kelly Johnson has hit a dry spell, going 0 for 15 over his last four games, but he has been too productive all year for you to sit him because of one little slump.
Injury Concerns: Justin Upton left Monday's game with shoulder pain from a bad swing and hasn't played since. Manager Kirk Gibson describes him as "just sore," but if he continues to sit through the weekend, you probably wouldn't want to take any chances with him. Those shoulders can be tricky. When healthy, he's a must-start.
Platoon Possibilities: The Diamondbacks face three left-handers this week, but with prospect Brandon Allen up from the minors, their platoon situation is no longer so clear. Rusty Ryal will probably continue to start against most of the lefties, but you can leave him for NL-only leagues.
Lineup Changes: Allen, who hit .261 with 25 homers and a .933 OPS for Triple-A Reno, was immediately inserted into the starting lineup Wednesday. He's an outfielder now after coming up as a first baseman. If you need pop in an NL-only league, he's likely to provide it, but his playing time is up in the air right now.

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Atlanta Braves
Schedule: @PIT3, STL4
Heating Up: Jason Heyward, who hit just .220 (47 for 214) with two homers from May 31 to Aug. 20 while battling a sore thumb, recently made an adjustment to compensate for the injury and has taken off, batting .500 (24 for 48) with four homers over his last 12 games. No chance you'd sit him now. You'd never sit Martin Prado or Brian McCann, especially not now. Prado is batting .324 (22 for 68) in 16 games since returning from a broken pinkie, and McCann is batting .560 (14 for 25) with three homers over his last seven games.
Cooling Off: Melky Cabrera may be playing close to every day, but he's contributing almost nothing offensively, batting .189 (7 for 37) over his last 13 games.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Braves face one left-hander this week, which means Rick Ankiel should get the majority of the starts in center field. He typically sits for Matt Diaz against lefties.
Lineup Changes: With roster expansion Wednesday, the Braves called up prospect Freddie Freeman and activated Troy Glaus from the DL. Both could spell Derrek Lee at first base, and Glaus could play some third base as well. Omar Infante's job appears safe, though. Glaus would simply bump him to the outfield.

Baltimore Orioles
Schedule: @NYY3, @DET3
Heating Up: Matt Wieters, who has been an even bigger disappointment in his sophomore season than he was as a rookie, is playing well right now, batting .435 (10 for 23) over his last seven games. That's reason enough to start him at the weak catcher position.
Cooling Off: Josh Bell is batting .147 (5 for 34) over his last 10 games, which isn't all that surprising for a free-swinging rookie. Despite his power potential, you can leave him for AL-only leagues.
Injury Concerns: Adam Jones, who has been dealing with pain in his shoulder since getting hit by a pitch there Aug. 24, has only played twice since then and was out of the lineup Thursday. He's too streaky for most leagues anyway, so this is just the excuse you need to sit him.
Platoon Possibilities: The Orioles face one lefty this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Nolan Reimold is back up in the majors and has started two games in a row, but that's partially the result of Jones' injury. He'll need to put together a serious hot streak for you to pick him up in mixed leagues.

Boston Red Sox
Schedule: TB3, @OAK3
Heating Up: Victor Martinez, who has a tendency to run hot or cold, is clearly on the right side of that equation now, batting .423 (11 for 26) with three homers over his last six games. He's a must-start regardless.
Cooling Off: David Ortiz is coming off a decent August, but he's batting just .194 (6 for 31) over his last eight games. He should still be starting in most leagues. Daniel Nava, who is getting the majority of the starts in left field these days, is batting .133 (4 for 30) over his last 12 games. He's just an AL-only option.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Red Sox face two left-handers this week. Nava and Jed Lowrie will likely sit out those games in favor of Darnell McDonald and Bill Hall. You can leave all four for AL-only leagues.
Lineup Changes: None.

Scott's Top Sleepers for Week 23
* Sleepers are players started in less than 70 percent of CBSSports.com leagues
Player Start %
1. Ryan Raburn, OF, Tigers 43
2. Manny Ramirez, OF, White Sox 48
3. Starlin Castro, SS, Cubs 60
4. Neil Walker, 2B, Pirates 47
5. Adam LaRoche, 1B, Diamondbacks 60
6. Jay Bruce, OF, Reds 58
7. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS, Royals 30
8. Freddy Sanchez, 2B, Giants 18
9. Dexter Fowler, OF, Rockies 20
10. A.J. Pierzynski, C, White Sox 43

Chicago Cubs
Schedule: HOU3, @MIL3
Heating Up: Starlin Castro seems to have picked up where he left off in mid-August, collecting multiple hits in four straight games for a .500 (9 for 18) batting average. Hard to find a shortstop who can do that. Kosuke Fukudome still isn't getting everyday at-bats, but he's at least relevant again, batting .542 (13 for 24) with two homers over his last eight games.
Cooling Off: Aramis Ramirez, who has gone back and forth since the All-Star break, is on the wrong side of streaky now, batting .150 (3 for 20) over his last six games. He's probably still better than what you'd find off the waiver wire, though. Blake DeWitt, who got hot enough to claim the leadoff spot when he first came over from the Dodgers, is batting .077 (2 for 26) over his last seven games, showing he's still just an NL-only option.
Injury Concerns: Geovany Soto woke up with a sore right knee Monday and hasn't played since. He has some fluid in the knee that prevents him from straightening it out. He might have to sit more often over the final month because of the injury, but his OPS potential at the weak catcher position makes him too valuable to sit in Fantasy.
Platoon Possibilities: The Cubs face two left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

Chicago White Sox
Schedule: @DET4, KC3
Heating Up: The White Sox have a trio of players on hitting streaks. Paul Konerko has hit safely in 13 straight, batting .472 (25 for 53) with three homers and 17 RBI. Juan Pierre has hit in seven straight and 35 of 37, batting .365 (57 for 156) with 18 stolen bases. And A.J. Pierzynski has hit in 10 straight, batting .395 (17 for 43) with a homer. Konerko is a must-start during a career season, and Pierre and Pierzynski certainly aren't bad plays. Alex Rios, another must-start, has been pretty hot himself, batting .379 (11 for 29) with three homers and four stolen bases over his last seven games.
Cooling Off: Nobody is significantly underachieving right now.
Injury Concerns: Gordon Beckham took a pitch off the wrist Monday and hasn't played since. Nothing is broken, though, so he should return over the weekend. Unless he gets hot, he's less than a must-start.
Platoon Possibilities: The White Sox face one left-hander this week, but with the acquisition of Manny Ramirez, the days of the Mark Kotsay-Andruw Jones platoon are pretty much over.
Lineup Changes: The White Sox acquired Ramirez from the Dodgers on a straight waiver claim Monday and will play him virtually every day at DH. Staying out of the field should help keep him healthy, so this move can only improve his Fantasy value. Since he isn't the power hitter he once was, he's still less than a must-start in Fantasy.

Cincinnati Reds
Schedule: @COL4, PIT3
Heating Up: Scott Rolen, who has had an uneven performance since the All-Star break, is performing more like an All-Star now, batting .353 (6 for 17) with five doubles over his last four games. Even though he's not homering as much anymore, he's still a worthy starter at the depleted third-base position.
Cooling Off: Jonny Gomes homered Tuesday, but he's still batting .211 (4 for 19) over his last six games and .167 (9 for 54) over his last 17. Even when going well, he hasn't offered huge power numbers, so you can ignore him in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: Jay Bruce has missed the last couple games with a strained side, interrupting a streak of five homers in four games. You'll want to keep an eye out for him this weekend. If he returns, he's a good sleeper. Brandon Phillips has missed about a week after getting hit by a pitch on the right hand, but the swelling has gone down. If the power-speed threat returns this weekend, you'll want to get him active right away. Orlando Cabrera, who has been out since Aug. 2 with strained abdominal muscles, has begun a rehab assignment and could return this weekend, but you wouldn't want to activate a borderline option like him fresh off the DL.
Platoon Possibilities: The Reds face one left-hander this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

Cleveland Indians
Schedule: @LAA3, MIN3
Heating Up: Travis Hafner is proving his years of shoulder woes haven't completely ruined him as a hitter, batting .391 (9 for 23) over his last six games. He's still too inconsistent for mixed-league use. Jayson Nix, who might actually be the better power hitter of the two these days, is doing his best to prove it, batting .353 (12 for 34) over his last nine games. Facing three lefties this week can only help him.
Cooling Off: Nobody is significantly underachieving right now.
Injury Concerns: Matt LaPorta has sat out all week with a strained left hip, but he felt great after taking batting practice and ground balls Thursday. He has a good chance of returning over the weekend, but considering he was batting .140 (8 for 57) in the 17 games leading up to the injury, you should probably just avoid him.
Platoon Possibilities: The Indians face three left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

Colorado Rockies
Schedule: CIN4, ARI3
Heating Up: Carlos Gonzalez is doing his best to get in the MVP race even though the Rockies are more or less out of the playoff race, batting .526 (20 for 38) with six homers over his last 10 games. The five-category stud is clearly a must-start in Fantasy.
Cooling Off: Eric Young is stealing plenty of bases, but he's not doing much to get on base, batting .138 (4 for 29) over his last seven games. Until he gets more consistent at the plate, he's not worth owning outside of deeper Rotisserie leagues.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rockies face two left-handers this week, which means Seth Smith will sit twice for Ryan Spilborghs.
Lineup Changes: Ian Stewart went on the DL with a strained right oblique Monday. Melvin Mora has been starting in his place, but he doesn't have the upside to matter outside of NL-only leagues.

Detroit Tigers
Schedule: CHW4, BAL3
Heating Up: Ryan Raburn is doing everything he can to assure himself a starting job next year, batting .375 (15 for 40) with four homers over his last 10 games. Make sure he's not on the waiver wire in your league. Jhonny Peralta has been surprisingly productive lately, batting .444 (16 for 36) with two homers over his last seven games. If you need help at the shortstop position, look no further. Will Rhymes has hit safely in 12 of 13 games since coming back from the minor leagues, batting .368 (21 for 57) during that stretch. He lacks the upside to matter in mixed leagues, though.
Cooling Off: Not only has Johnny Damon been sitting against left-handers recently, but he's batting just .180 (9 for 50) over his last 12 games. With his decline in power and speed, he's not giving you much reason to start him in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: Miguel Cabrera, who would be a shoo-in for AL MVP if the Tigers were in position to make the playoffs, left Thursday's game with tendinitis in his left biceps. That's an injury that could sideline him for a few games, so you'll want to keep a close eye on him over the weekend. If he comes back or looks like he's going to come back, you should keep him active.
Platoon Possibilities: The Tigers face two left-handers this week. Rookie Casper Wells will likely start those games, replacing either Damon or Brennan Boesch.
Lineup Changes: Other than the emergence of Wells as a part-time player, none.

Florida Marlins
Schedule: @PHI4, @WAS3
Heating Up: After getting off to a slow start in the second half, Hanley Ramirez is clearly in first-round mode now. He's batting .486 (17 for 35) with three homers, five steals, eight RBI and 13 runs scored during a nine-game hitting streak.
Cooling Off: Michael Stanton homered Wednesday, but unless he hits a couple more homers over the weekend, you wouldn't want to take the chance on him in Fantasy. He's batting .082 (4 for 49) over his last 14 games.
Injury Concerns: Dan Uggla has been out since Sunday with a strained right groin. He could return as early as Friday, but even if he gets pushed back another day or two, you should probably give him the benefit of the doubt. He has performed like an elite second baseman this year.
Platoon Possibilities: The Marlins face two left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

Houston Astros
Schedule: @CHC3, LAD4
Heating Up: Michael Bourn has hit safely in 11 straight games, batting .386 (17 for 44) with six stolen bases during that stretch. He has been hovering around the .250 mark for the last three months, so if there was ever a time to activate him, this is it. Hunter Pence has homered in back-to-back games and continues to thrive in the second half, batting .331 (60 for 181) with nine homers.
Cooling Off: Chris Johnson, who was a terror to begin the second half, has slowed down recently, batting .167 (3 for 18) over his last five games and .222 (14 for 63) over his last 16. He's looking like one of those players who's either unbenchable or usable. Guess which he is right now.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Astros face three lefties this week, which means rookie Brett Wallace won't get to play as much. He typically sits for Jason Michaels against lefties, with Carlos Lee moving over to first base.
Lineup Changes: Jeff Keppinger, who missed two weeks with inflammation at the ball of his foot, returned to the lineup Wednesday. His lack of power makes him a low-end option at best, though.

Top 10 Hitters Added
* as of Friday, Sept. 3
Player % Change
1. Ryan Raburn, OF, Tigers 23
2. Jhonny Peralta, SS, Tigers 9
3. Freddy Sanchez, 2B, Giants 9
4. Marcus Thames, OF, Yankees 9
5. Jay Bruce, OF, Reds 8
6. Neil Walker, 2B, Pirates 8
7. Daric Barton, 1B, Athletics 8
8. Logan Morrison, OF, Marlins 8
9. Stephen Drew, SS, Diamondbacks 7
10. Omar Infante, 2B, Braves 7

Kansas City Royals
Schedule: @MIN3, @CHW3
Heating Up: Yuniesky Betancourt's recent power surge is starting to look legitimate. The 28-year-old homered both Tuesday and Wednesday, giving him eight in his last 22 games and 15 on the season. He certainly has his shortcomings at the plate, but now that he's hitting homers, he's no worse than, say, Alex Gonzalez.
Cooling Off: Two recent overachievers, Wilson Betemit and Gregor Blanco, have both cooled off in recent days, with Betemit batting .179 (5 for 28) over his last eight games and Blanco batting .188 (6 for 32) over his last eight.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Royals face two left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Jason Kendall will have surgery to repair his torn rotator cuff, leaving Brayan Pena and recently recalled Lucas May to split catcher duties. Both have some measure of offensive potential, but neither will likely get enough at-bats to matter outside of deeper leagues.

L.A. Angels
Schedule: CLE3, SEA3
Heating Up: Nobody is exceeding expectations right now.
Cooling Off: Bobby Abreu had a brief surge in production when he first moved into the leadoff spot, but he eventually cooled off and has moved back to the middle of the lineup. He's batting .074 (2 for 27) over his last eight games and appears destined to hit below .280 for the first time in his career. He's less than a must-start. So is Howard Kendrick, who has gone back and forth all season and is batting only .125 (3 for 24) over his last six games. Juan Rivera has been getting most of the starts at first base recently, but it hasn't improved his hitting. He's hitless in his last 19 at-bats.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Angels face one left-hander this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

L.A. Dodgers
Schedule: @SD3, @HOU4
Heating Up: Rod Barajas seems rejuvenated since coming over from the Mets, batting .348 (8 for 23) with three homers in seven games. If you need catcher help, he's worth a look. Casey Blake has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games, batting .326 (14 for 43) with two homers during that stretch, but at age 37, he doesn't have much left to offer in Fantasy.
Cooling Off: Andre Ethier is batting .225 (9 for 40) over his last 10 games and hasn't come close to putting up the numbers he did before fracturing his pinkie in May. He's still too productive to sit, though.
Injury Concerns: Rafael Furcal, who has been out since Aug. 2 with a lower back strain, has begun a rehab assignment for Triple-A Albuquerque and could return over the weekend. If he does, you'll want to activate him right away. He's one of the few every-week options at shortstop when healthy.
Platoon Possibilities: The Dodgers face two left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: The Dodgers allowed the White Sox to claim Manny Ramirez on waivers, which opens the door for Scott Podsednik to get everyday at-bats again. Podsednik isn't going to be the reason you win your Fantasy league, but he's a good enough hitter and base-stealer to have some low-end appeal in mixed leagues.

Milwaukee Brewers
Schedule: STL3, CHC3
Heating Up: Ryan Braun, who hasn't performed up to his usual first-round standards this season, has been doing his best to make up for it lately, batting .476 (10 for 21) with a homer over his last five games and .400 (26 for 65) with three homers over his last 16. He's still a must-start in Fantasy even with the decline in production.
Cooling Off: Rickie Weeks has managed to stay healthy this season and has emerged as a high-end Fantasy option as a result, but he's batting just .185 (5 for 27) over his last seven games. Still, you should keep him active. Corey Hart is a little different. He has only two homers since the All-Star break and is batting only .129 (4 for 31) over his last eight games. In shallower leagues, you wouldn't be out of your mind to sit him.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Brewers face one left-hander this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

Minnesota Twins
Schedule: KC3, @CLE3
Heating Up: Danny Valencia has collected multiple hits in three straight games, batting .615 (8 for 13) during that stretch. He's batting .338 for the season, which makes him well worth starting in AL-only leagues. Unfortunately, his lack of power makes him just a low-end option in mixed leagues.
Cooling Off: J.J. Hardy continues to battle a wrist injury, and it shows. He's batting .147 (5 for 34) over his last 13 games. He's not much of a power hitter anymore, so you really have no reason to start in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: Jason Kubel, who hasn't played since getting hit by a pitch on the left hand Tuesday, has yet to begin swinging a bat. He might return over the weekend, but if he doesn't, you wouldn't want to take a chance on a borderline option like him. Jim Thome, who is even less appealing in Fantasy because of his inconsistent playing time, has missed a week with a stiff back, but he is available to pinch hit, suggesting a return is coming. Orlando Hudson has been in and out of the lineup with a sore foot and is too risky for mixed-league use right now.
Platoon Possibilities: The Twins don't face a single left-handed pitcher this week, which doesn't mean much since they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

N.Y. Mets
Schedule: @WAS3, PHI3
Heating Up: Josh Thole still doesn't have enough power for mixed-league use, but he's proving to be a capable offensive catcher, batting .333 (8 for 24) over his last eight games.
Cooling Off: David Wright keeps shifting from cold to hot and back again, batting .160 (4 for 25) over his last seven games, but he just homered Thursday, so he might be about to take off again. He's a must-start regardless.
Injury Concerns: Jose Reyes, who has been out since Aug. 26 with a strained right oblique, took batting practice Thursday and could return over the weekend. As long as he doesn't suffer a setback, you'll want to get him active. Angel Pagan hasn't started since Monday because of tendinitis in his right wrist, but he was able to play the field Thursday. Until he gets an actual at-bat, you shouldn't trust him to start for you in Fantasy.
Platoon Possibilities: The Mets face one left-hander this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: The Mets traded Jeff Francoeur to the Rangers on Tuesday, creating an opening in their outfield. Chris W. Carter and Lucas Duda will likely split time there, but since both bat left-handed, the exact distribution of at-bats is unclear. Both have some power potential, but you can leave them for NL-only leagues.

N.Y. Yankees
Schedule: BAL3, @TEX3
Heating Up: Curtis Granderson has three homers in his last three games, bouncing back from a 2-for-19 (.105) stretch. He still sits a good bit against lefties, but when he's hot enough, you can overlook it. Mark Teixeira looks like he's in for another strong finish, batting .435 (20 for 46) with four homers over his last 14 games. You'd never sit him.
Cooling Off: Derek Jeter is batting .103 (4 for 39) over his last 10 games, dropping his season batting average to .266. He's having the worst season of his career, but at the shortstop position, you still can't do much better.
Injury Concerns: Alex Rodriguez (calf), who is eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday, took batting practice Thursday and felt good. Manager Joe Torre has suggested A-Rod will return when eligible, but the third baseman wants to make sure he's 100 percent first. Chances are he'll play more often than not this week, so unless you have another stud third baseman, you should get him active. Nick Swisher, who has been dealing with a sore left knee since fouling a ball off it Aug. 24, had to leave Thursday's game early because of the injury. Monitor him closely over the weekend. He's a must-start when healthy.
Platoon Possibilities: The Yankees face two left-handers this week. Marcus Thames will surely start those games, but he could replace Lance Berkman some against righties as well. Granderson and Austin Kearns are in more of a strict platoon.
Lineup Changes: None.

Oakland Athletics
Schedule: SEA3, BOS3
Heating Up: Daric Barton has hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games, batting .408 (20 for 49) during that stretch, and has even shown some uncharacteristic power lately, homering three times in his last seven games. He'll have to hit a few more homers than that to gain mixed-league viability, but he's worth watching. Kevin Kouzmanoff has homered in three of his last seven games and is batting .306 (11 for 36) over his last nine. He's a notoriously streaky player, so if you're looking for a stopgap third baseman, he might do the trick.
Cooling Off: Coco Crisp, who reaffirmed his value in mixed leagues with a hot streak over the first three weeks of August, is batting .154 (6 for 39) over his last nine games. He's not so good that you have to start him every week.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Athletics face three left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Jeff Larish has started eight of the team's last 10 games even though he doesn't have a set position, effectively replacing Gabe Gross in the lineup. He has enough pop to make an impact in deeper AL-only leagues, but his ceiling isn't especially high.

Best Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Reds @COL4, PIT3
2. Rockies CIN4, ARI3
3. White Sox @DET4, KC3
4. Twins KC3, @CLE3
5. Dodgers @SD3, @HOU4

Philadelphia Phillies
Schedule: FLA4, @NYM3
Heating Up: Chase Utley, who hit .184 (9 for 49) with two extra-base hits -- both doubles -- in his first 13 games back from a thumb injury, has suddenly regained his stroke, batting .538 (7 for 13) with a homer and eight RBI over his last three games. Get him active in all formats.
Cooling Off: Placido Polanco is batting .200 (7 for 35) over his last eight games, but because he qualifies at second and third base, you're probably too reliant on him to sit him. Raul Ibanez is a different story. The 38-year-old has struggled virtually all season, so you have no reason to start him now that he's batting .120 (3 for 25) over his last six games.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Phillies face two left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Schedule: ATL3, @CIN3
Heating Up: Don't look now, but Neil Walker is quickly becoming an attractive mixed-league option. The rookie has homered in four of his last five games and is batting .425 (17 for 40) during a nine-game hitting streak. If you need help at either second or third base, his .839 OPS suggests he's able to provide it.
Cooling Off: Pedro Alvarez has hit safely in just four of his last 13 games, batting .125 (6 for 48) during that stretch. He's a free-swinging rookie, so you had to expect him to endure these kinds of stretches.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Pirates don't face a single left-handed pitcher this week, which doesn't mean much since they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

San Diego Padres
Schedule: LAD3, SF4
Heating Up: David Eckstein has played pretty well since returning from his calf injury, batting .313 (10 for 32) over his last eight games, but the slap hitter is an NL-only option at best.
Cooling Off: Ryan Ludwick has experienced more downs than ups so far in his Padres career, batting .189 (10 for 53) over his last 15 games. He'll hit the occasional homer but isn't particularly exciting in mixed leagues. Will Venable has just one hit in his last 19 at-bats, but he has been hitting under .240 virtually all season.
Injury Concerns: Yorvit Torrealba has missed back-to-back games with a stiff back, but considering he's hitting only .140 (8 for 57) over his last 16, you wouldn't want him active in Fantasy anyway.
Platoon Possibilities: The Padres face three left-handers this week. Will Venable will certainly sit out those games, with either Scott Hairston or Aaron Cunningham starting in his place.
Lineup Changes: None.

Worst Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Rays @BOS3, @TOR3
2. Mariners @OAK3, @LAA3
3. Red Sox TB3, @OAK3
4. Orioles @NYY3, @DET3
5. Indians @LAA3, MIN3

San Francisco Giants
Schedule: @ARI3, @SD4
Heating Up: Freddy Sanchez has responded to his demotion to the No. 8 spot with a nine-game hitting streak -- and not just any nine-game hitting streak, but one in which he has six multi-hit games. He's batting .556 (20 for 36) during that stretch, moving back up to the No. 2 spot and regaining some mixed-league appeal even though he lacks power.
Cooling Off: Juan Uribe is batting .083 (1 for 12) and .167 (8 for 48) over his last 14, but manager Bruce Bochy has confirmed he'll remain the starter at shortstop to close out the season. He's still a decent Fantasy option because of his power. Pat Burrell, who was looking like a sleeper a couple weeks ago, is batting .167 (9 for 54) over his last 16 games and is in danger of losing at-bats to Cody Ross. Aubrey Huff has one hit in his last 20 at-bats, but you wouldn't sit him.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Giants face two left-handers this week. Ross is likely to start those games, filling in for one of Burrell, Jose Guillen, and Andres Torres.
Lineup Changes: None.

Seattle Mariners
Schedule: @OAK3, @LAA3
Heating Up: Ichiro Suzuki is batting .444 (8 for 18) over his last four games, but he's made a career out of performances like that. Keep him active.
Cooling Off: Josh Wilson, who had some AL-only appeal earlier in the year, is showing why he's been a reserve his entire career, batting .179 (5 for 28) over his last nine games. He's a last resort even in deeper formats.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Mariners face three left-handers this week, which doesn't mean much since they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

St. Louis Cardinals
Schedule: @MIL3, @ATL4
Heating Up: Yadier Molina has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games, batting .350 (14 for 40) during that stretch. He seems to have rebounded from his earlier struggles and is a decent low-end starter in mixed leagues despite his lack of power.
Cooling Off: Colby Rasmus finally returned to the lineup Monday after missing two weeks with a calf injury, but manager Tony La Russa acknowledged he wouldn't get to play every single day. Since he has just one hit in his last 17 at-bats, you should probably avoid him in mixed leagues. Jon Jay continues to get consistent at-bats, but he hasn't been hitting as well lately, batting .133 (4 for 30) over his last seven games.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Cardinals face three left-handers this week. Jay and Skip Schumaker could sit for Randy Winn and Felipe Lopez in those games, but neither is in a certain platoon.
Lineup Changes: Other than the return of Rasmus, none.

Tampa Bay Rays
Schedule: @BOS3, @TOR3
Heating Up: Evan Longoria is batting .407 (11 for 27) over his last eight games and .382 (21 for 55) with four homers over his last 15, but that's really nothing new for him.
Cooling Off: B.J. Upton also isn't doing anything new, but he's at the other end of the spectrum. He's batting .122 (5 for 41) over his last 12 games and is less than a must-start. Ben Zobrist has been just as unreliable lately, batting .171 (22 for 129) since the All-Star break. Time to look into other options if you haven't already. Carl Crawford, on the other hand, you should continue to trust even though he's batting .185 (5 for 27) over his last eight games.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rays face three lefties this week, but their outfield-DH picture has become so crowded that the handedness of the opposing pitcher hardly matters anymore.
Lineup Changes: With Wednesday's roster expansion, the Rays added new acquisition Brad Hawpe and top prospect Desmond Jennings to the mix. Both were in the lineup Wednesday. Matt Joyce, Dan Johnson and Sean Rodriguez could lose at-bats with their arrival, but nobody can say how many. Until this situation sorts itself out, you wouldn't want to use any of these players in mixed leagues.

Texas Rangers
Schedule: @TOR4, NYY3
Heating Up: Mitch Moreland homered both Tuesday and Wednesday and has done nothing but impress since coming up from the minors. Still, as a platoon player, he hardly matters outside of AL-only leagues.
Cooling Off: Vladimir Guerrero's second half continues to take on a very different feel from his first. He's batting .250 (42 for 168) since the All-Star break and .143 (3 for 21) over his last five games. He's not beyond sitting in shallower leagues.
Injury Concerns: Josh Hamilton, who has been battling soreness in his right knee all season, got a third injection in it Tuesday. He bounced back from the first two injections just fine, so you shouldn't be overly concerned about him in Fantasy. Ian Kinsler, who has been out since July 27 with a strained right groin, has already been activated and should return to the lineup Friday. Assuming he doesn't suffer a setback over the weekend, you should get him active.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rangers face two left-handers this week. Julio Borbon and Moreland will likely sit out those games in favor of Jorge Cantu and Jeff Francoeur.
Lineup Changes: The Rangers acquired Francoeur from the Mets on Tuesday, but he'll be no more than a platoon player. Leave him for AL-only leagues.

Toronto Blue Jays
Schedule: TEX4, TB3
Heating Up: Jose Bautista has hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games, batting .409 (18 for 44) with six homers during that stretch, but by now, you know to start him regardless of what he's doing. Aaron Hill has lost his must-start status this season, but he has been performing better lately, batting .286 (8 for 28) with three homers over his last eight games.
Cooling Off: Vernon Wells has dipped below the .270 mark again. After a brief hot stretch in the middle of August, he's batting .160 (4 for 25) over his last five games. Fred Lewis is batting .139 (5 for 36) over his last 10 games, but he's just a low-end option.
Injury Concerns: Yunel Escobar has been out since Sunday with back stiffness, but the Blue Jays expect him to return Saturday. He's always dealing with one injury or another, preventing him from gaining any momentum at the plate. Even if he returns, he's just a borderline Fantasy option. Lyle Overbay hasn't played in a week because of a mysterious illness. He's suffering from concussion-like symptoms, but he never had a concussion. He was able to take batting practice Tuesday, so he's probably close to returning, but if he remains out over the weekend, you wouldn't want to take any chances with him. Lewis left Wednesday's game with a strained right elbow, which is an injury that could sideline him for a few games. You'd have to play in a pretty deep league to use him, though, and if that's case, you might not have a viable replacement for him anyway.
Platoon Possibilities: The Blue Jays face two left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: The Blue Jays recalled slugging prospect J.P. Arencibia when rosters expanded Wednesday, and he could get a decent number of at-bats at DH the rest of the way. Even if he only starts three or four games a week, he could be a factor in Fantasy given his power potential at the weak catcher position.

Washington Nationals
Schedule: NYM3, FLA3
Heating Up: Roger Bernadina has been playing against both righties and lefties and has seen an increase in production with the increase in playing time. He's batting .290 (9 for 31) with two homers and two steals over his last seven games and is worth owning in deeper Rotisserie leagues. Mike Morse has been even better, batting .542 (13 for 24) with a homer over his last six games, though he doesn't have quite the same upside. Adam Dunn is hot again after a brief cold stretch in the middle of August, batting .600 (9 for 15) with two homers over his last five games.
Cooling Off: Nyjer Morgan is batting .143 (4 for 28) over his last nine games and has generally been making a fool of himself. Now clearly isn't the time to use him.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Nationals face one left-hander this week. Adam Kennedy will likely sit out that game in favor of Alberto Gonzalez, but prospect Daniel Espinosa, who had 22 homers and 25 steals in the minors this season, could factor in that mix as well. You're better off leaving all three of these players for NL-only leagues.
Lineup Changes: None.

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Player News
Report: Athletics considered ousting Jason Hammel from rotation
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:37 am ET) The Athletics considered permanently removing Jason Hammel from the rotation before deciding to just skip his next turn, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Hammel who will pitch against Houston next week, has been a mess since arriving in Oakland via a trade from the Cubs. His ERA has leaped from 2.98 to 3.84, courtesy of 24 earned runs allowed in 32 innings pitched covering seven outings. He has just one quality start during that stretch.

The right-hander has blamed mechanical issues that are leaving his pitches up for his struggles, but adds that it should be an easy fix. He is also claiming no problem with the temporary move to the bullpen.

"I'm not bothered by it," he said. "You've got to check your ego at the door when you're not getting it done."

The Athletics could place Jesse Chavez or Drew Pomeranz in their rotation if Hammel continues to get battered.


It's 'thumbs-up' for Alex Rios against Marlins
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:22 am ET) Rangers left fielder Alex Rios is back in the lineup for the Wednesday game in Miami. Thumb ailments have limited him to just one at-bat since Sunday.

Rios hopes he can pick it up upon his return. He has not enjoyed a multi-hit game since July 29 and is 6 for 50 since.


Jarrod Saltalamacchia absent from Wednesday lineup
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:17 am ET) A day game following a night game has Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia sidelined Wednesday against Texas. Jeff Mathis is set to crouch behind the plate instead.

Saltlamacchia has emerged from a slump with nine hits in his last seven games and five in the last three. He has not homered, however, since July 21.


Anthony Rizzo provides only scoring in Tuesday victory
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:11 am ET) The power surge of Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo continued Tuesday night - and it resulted in a rain-shortened win.

Rizzo blasted his fourth homer in eight games. His two-run shot in the first inning proved to be the only scoring. He is 4 for 6 with three runs and three RBI in the last two games to improve his stat line to .279/.378/.517.


Brian McCann goes deep again
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:04 am ET) Yankees catcher Brian McCann has found his power stroke over the last week, and he homered again in a 7-4 loss to the Astros Tuesday.

McCann got the Yankees on the board first with his fourth-inning home run, his third in five games. He finished the game 1 for 4 overall with two RBI in the loss.

McCann is still hitting just .235 for the season, but he has 14 home runs and 51 RBI in 105 games for the Yankees. 


Chris Carter's 30th homer a big one
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9:53 am ET) Astros designated hitter Chris Carter continued his hot-hitting ways Tuesday, as he slugged the team to a 7-4 victory over the Yankees.

Carter was hitless with four strikeouts heading into the ninth inning, but made up for that with one swing. With the score tied at 4-4, Carter unleashed a three-run blast to put the Astros up for good.

Carter has established a new career-high with his 30th home run of the season, and he has 72 RBI to go with that, just 10 off his best total. He is hitting .233/.301/.519 in 110 games overall. 


Tsuyoshi Wada wins, Ryan Vogelsong loses in rain-shortened affair
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9:43 am ET) Tuesday's game between the Cubs and Giants was called as final after five innings, with the Cubs coming out on top, 2-0.

Cubs pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada got the win after throwing five shutout innings, scattering six pitches and striking out three batters. Ryan Vogelsong took the loss for the Giants, allowing two runs on three hits and a pair of walks over four innings, while striking out four before the rain came.  


Will Middlebrooks day to day with hamstring tightness
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2:09 am ET) Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks is day to day with a tight hamstring after being removed from Tuesday's game as a precaution, WEEI.com reports.


Alex Rios strikes out in only at-bat Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(2:05 am ET) Rangers outfielder Alex Rios struck out in his only at-bat Tuesday after being scratched from the lineup with a thumb injury before the game.

Rios took the field as part of a double-switch in the bottom of the ninth and struck out in the top of the 10th. The Marlins broke through for a win in the next half-inning. Rios has hit .284/.313/.399 with four home runs, 49 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 444 at-bats.


Ryan Vogelsong allows two runs before long delay Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:55 am ET) Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong surrendered two earned runs on three hits and two walks in four innings while striking out four Tuesday before his team's game against the Cubs was halted by a long delay.

The grounds crew had trouble getting the tarp in place once the game was stopped due to rain, leading to an extremely long delay as they tried to make the field playable after the rain stopped. Vogelsong is scheduled to face the Nationals Sunday.


 
 
 
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