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Week 22 Fantasy Hitting Planner

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The Fantasy Baseball Hitting Planner is your guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming scoring period. Every week, we'll give you the latest on injuries, lineup changes, streaks and matchups, highlighting the players at each position who might surprise or disappoint as a result. NOTE: The Planner will be updated with the latest information every Sunday prior to lineup deadlines.

Any players not listed here fall into the "status quo" category, meaning you should take your usual approach with them.

All statistics are updated through Saturday, Aug. 27.

Catcher

Joe Mauer, who has been out since Tuesday with a stiff neck, reported feeling better Sunday and will likely return to the lineup Monday. Even with his loss of power this year, he has still been one of the more productive players at the weak catcher position since the beginning of July, so you'll probably want to give him the benefit of the doubt coming off this injury. David Ortiz was able to return from his heel injury Wednesday, which means catcher prospect Ryan Lavarnway's stint in the majors is over. The 24-year-old had been filling in for Ortiz at DH. Lavarnway could return in September to split at-bats with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but considering his bat is much more advanced than his glove at this stage of his career, it's hardly a given. Lavarnway is only worth stashing in AL-only leagues.

Must-Start Options: Brian McCann, Carlos Santana, Victor Martinez, Alex Avila, Mike Napoli, Miguel Montero, Matt Wieters

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Heating up
Alex Avila: .436 (17 for 39), 4 HRs, 1.419 OPS, 7 BBs, 11 Ks during 11-game hit streak
Russell Martin: .440 (11 for 25), 5 HRs, 11 RBI, 1.603 OPS in eight games
Matt Wieters: .462 (12 for 26), 3 HRs, 10 RBI, 1.510 OPS in seven games
Carlos Ruiz: .407 (11 for 27), 1 HR, 1 SB, 1.041 OPS in seven games
Rod Barajas: .500 (11 for 22), 4 HRs, 10 RBI, 1.658 OPS, 1 BB, 2 Ks in seven games

Cooling off
Ramon Hernandez: .172 (5 for 29), one extra-base hit, .407 OPS in 10 games
Ryan Doumit: .071 (1 for 14), .143 OPS, 1 K in four games

Worth a second look
Kurt Suzuki (48 percent started): Don't look now, but Suzuki is suddenly a reliable Fantasy option again. He's batting .278 (25 for 90) with five homers since July 24, which doesn't sound like much, but it's good enough for him to rank ninth in Head-to-Head points among catchers during that stretch. Suzuki plays more consistently than most catchers, so now that his numbers are halfway respectable again, he deserves more attention than he's getting in Fantasy.
Ryan Doumit (12 percent): Doumit wasn't the Pirates' primary catcher when he fractured his ankle in late May, but he has been since returning in early August. He hasn't scored a ton of Fantasy points in the role, but he has shown he can still be a productive offensive player, batting .271 (16 for 59) with three homers in 18 games. He may not be on your radar considering his poor performance over the last few days, but he could have a big week ahead against the Astros and Cubs rotations. If you're desperate for a halfway productive catcher, Doumit is worth a look.

Approach with caution
Geovany Soto (56 percent started): Yeah, Soto had a bit of a power surge earlier in August, but he has cooled off again, going hitless in his last 19 at-bats. He's batting under .230 on the season and has an almost unfathomable 32 strikeouts in 22 games this month. With more tough matchups this week against pitchers like Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong, Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Karstens, Soto's struggles are likely to continue.
Chris Iannetta (48 percent): True, most Rockies hitters struggle away from Coors Field, but Iannetta takes it to a whole new level. He's batting .316 with a 1.012 OPS at home compared to .145 and .535 on the road. Unless you expect his walks alone to carry him, you should bench him for the Rockies' six games on the road this week, which include three at PETCO Park.

Injury concerns
A.J. Pierzynski, who is on the DL for the first time in his career, is apparently anxious to return. Despite breaking his wrist on Aug. 12, he'll begin a rehab assignment Tuesday and could return to the majors as early as Friday. He's just a borderline option in mixed leagues even when healthy, but the prospect of him playing half a week at least means something for AL-only owners. Unfortunately, it also means Tyler Flowers is on his way back to the bench.

First base

After some initial concern that he might not be able to overtake Conor Jackson, Brandon Allen has emerged as the clear starter at first base for the Athletics. He has taken advantage of his 15 consecutive starts at the position, batting .327 (18 for 55) with three homers and a 1.021 OPS. Looking at his minor-league numbers, he could conceivably become a viable mixed-league option before season's end, but you'll want to see a little more from him before taking a flier on him in standard formats.

Must-Start Options: Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Joey Votto, Mark Teixeira, Ryan Howard, Lance Berkman, Paul Konerko, Michael Young, Alex Gordon

Heating up
Joey Votto: .425 (17 for 40), 6 HRs, 13 RBI, 1 SB, 1.458 OPS, 12 BBs, 6 Ks in 13 games
Adrian Gonzalez: .375 (15 for 40), 5 HRs, 11 RBI, 1.247 OPS in 10 games
James Loney: .577 (15 for 26), 3 HRs, 1.646 OPS, 2 BBs, 2 Ks in six games
Lucas Duda: .409 (9 for 22), 2 HR, 9 RBI, 1.277 OPS, 0 BBs, 7 Ks in six games

Cooling off
Adam Lind: .162 (21 for 130), 4 HRs, .462 OPS, 3 BBs, 28 Ks in 32 games
Gaby Sanchez: .135 (10 for 74), 3 2Bs, 1 SB, .376 OPS in 22 games
Casey Kotchman: .209 (9 for 43), one extra-base hit, .518 OPS in 13 games
Ryan Howard: .167 (5 for 30), 1 HR, .552 OPS, 5 BBs, 13 Ks in eight games

Worth a second look
Mark Reynolds (74 percent started): The ever-streaky Reynolds is at it again, homering in each of his last three games and nine of his last 27. Though he does face a couple of high-end pitchers this week, he has enough softball matchups against pitchers like Brett Cecil, Henderson Alvarez and Luis Perez for the hot hitting to continue. Unless you just don't need power numbers, you'll want Reynolds active in Fantasy.
Eric Hosmer (66 percent): Hosmer got off to a rough start in August, but the rookie seems to be righting the ship with a .364 (8 for 22) batting average and two homers over his last five games. Left-handed pitchers are part of what's holding him back -- he's batting .226 with no homers and a .552 OPS against them -- so the six righties on tap this week should help his cause. You could do worse at your utility spot this week.

Approach with caution
Carlos Pena (62 percent started): Not only is Pena in yet another one of his offensive droughts, batting just .176 (6 for 34) over his last 10 games, but he and the Cubs have some of the toughest matchups this week, squaring off against pitchers like Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong, Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Karstens. The boom-or-bust Pena doesn't have much room for boom with that schedule.
Justin Morneau (40 percent): Granted, Morneau has been a non-factor in Fantasy virtually all season, but when he performed so well during a minor-league rehab assignment before returning from neck surgery in mid-August, Fantasy owners held out hope for a rebound. Instead, Morneau is batting .191 (9 for 47) in 13 game since returning. If you keep starting him, you're in denial.

Injury concerns
Carlos Lee left Sunday's game after spraining his ankle on a slide into second base in the ninth inning. The team considers the injury minor, so if you rely on Lee on an every-week basis, he should still be able to contribute for you. Then again, the prospect of him missing a game or two combined with the Astros' righty-heavy schedule makes Lee a candidate to sit in standard mixed leagues ... Justin Smoak, who has been out since Aug. 12 with a fractured nose, will begin a rehab assignment Monday and could return before the end of the week. He might be less than an everyday player, though, given the way Mike Carp has performed in his absence. As poorly as Smoak was hitting before his injury, you shouldn't be anxious to get him back outside of AL-only leagues.

Second base

The Diamondbacks and Blue Jays swapped second basemen on Tuesday, with Kelly Johnson going to Toronto and Aaron Hill going to Arizona. The move doesn't really affect either party that much since each is leaving one favorable hitting environment for another. Still, the change of scenery can't hurt. Both Johnson and Hill had clearly fallen into a rut. They're worth monitoring, but you shouldn't necessarily rush to activate them in Fantasy.

Must-Start Options: Dustin Pedroia, Robinson Cano, Ian Kinsler, Chase Utley, Ben Zobrist, Michael Young, Dan Uggla, Brandon Phillips

Heating up
Orlando Hudson: .338 (23 for 68), 1 HR, 18 runs scored, 3 SBs, .896 OPS in 19 games
Brandon Phillips: .442 (19 for 43), 1 HR, 10 RBI, 2 SBs, 1.036 OPS during 10-game hit streak
Howard Kendrick: .375 (15 for 40), 5 HRs, 1 SB, 1.269 OPS in 10 games

Cooling off
Kelly Johnson: .149 (13 for 87), 1 HR, 2 SBs, .474 OPS, 8 BBs, 27 Ks in 24 games
Gordon Beckham: .130 (6 for 46), two extra-base hits, 1 SB, .374 OPS in 14 games
Aaron Hill: .129 (4 for 31), one extra-base hit, 1 SB, .318 OPS in eight games
Ben Zobrist: .154 (4 for 26), 2 2Bs, 1 SB, .416 OPS in six games

Worth a second look
Howard Kendrick (80 percent started): Kendrick didn't need long to make me eat my words. After I pointed out last week just how miserable he had been since returning from a hamstring injury in early June, Kendrick responded with his most productive scoring period since April. With favorable matchups this week against the makeshift Mariners and Twins rotations, he should be able to keep it going, especially since three of the pitchers on tap are left-handers. Kendrick is batting .322 with six of his 13 homers and a .928 OPS against lefties this year.
Brett Lawrie (66 percent): Safe to say this Lawrie kid can play. I had my doubts given the way his numbers spiked in a hitter's environment at Triple-A Las Vegas, but they've been just as spectacular at the major-league level. He'll slump at some point, but I wouldn't count on it this week with pitchers like Jeremy Guthrie, Jo-Jo Reyes, Tommy Hunter and Bartolo Colon on the schedule. Roll with Lawrie at either second or third base.

Approach with caution
Darwin Barney (52 percent started): The more Barney appears in the "approach with caution" category, the more he defies it with unconventionally productive numbers. The man can't continue to thrive on singles alone. When they stop coming in bunches, he'll stop producing. Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong, Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Karstens will make sure of that this week.
Aaron Hill (39 percent): Hill's starting percentage has increased with his move to Arizona, but again, you shouldn't count on it turning his season around. It's possible, yeah, but considering how much success Toronto has had with so many other underachieving hitters, Hill's issues might not be so easy to fix. Even if he manages to salvage his season, it likely won't happen in a six-game week with Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong on the schedule. He remains just a low-end Fantasy option.

Injury concerns
Alexi Casilla, who has played only one game since July 27 because of a hamstring injury that has twice landed him on the DL, began a rehab assignment Sunday and might need only three games before returning. Manager Ron Gardenhire is talking about bringing him back for the weekend series at the Angels, so he's a candidate to activate in deeper AL-only leagues. Naturally, he'll be playing only half the week, but keep in mind he was becoming relevant in mixed leagues before the injury. With a hot performance at Anaheim, he might emerge as a sleeper in all leagues again.

Third base

The Rockies acquired castoff Kevin Kouzmanoff from the Athletics on Tuesday and immediately inserted him into the lineup on Wednesday, sending Chris Nelson to the minors. Kouzmanoff will likely continue to steal at-bats from Ty Wigginton, but the exact distribution between the two is unclear at this point. Kouzmanoff, a former 20-homer man, could certainly resurrect his career in a favorable hitter's park, but he bombed with the Athletics for a reason -- specifically, his poor plate discipline and declining batting average. You should leave him for NL-only leagues.

Must-Start Options: Albert Pujols, Jose Bautista, Evan Longoria, Ryan Zimmerman, David Wright, Michael Young, Aramis Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval

Heating up
Evan Longoria: .284 (19 for 67), 8 HRs, 18 RBI, 1.003 OPS in 17 games
Aramis Ramirez: .508 (32 for 63), 4 HRs, 14 RBI, 1.319 OPS, 7 BBs, 6 Ks during 16-game hit streak
Chipper Jones: .396 (21 for 53), 4 HRs, 10 RBI, 1.100 OPS in 15 games
Mike Moustakas: .514 (18 for 35), 5 2Bs, 1.221 OPS, 4 BBs, 4 Ks during 10-game hit streak

Cooling off
David Freese: .156 (5 for 32), 1 HR, .432 OPS in eight games
Ryan Zimmerman: .120 (3 for 25), .314 OPS, 1 BB, 10 Ks in six games
Martin Prado: .105 (2 for 19), .348 OPS in five games

Worth a second look
Mike Moustakas (17 percent started): Just when you were about ready to write him off for the season, Moustakas went and got hot, putting together a nice little hitting streak. True, he still has only one home run in more than 200 at-bats, but if you're desperate for help at third base, he could be a sneaky pickup this week. Helping his cause is the one left-hander on the schedule. Moustakas hasn't been able to muster anything against lefties all season, batting .172 with a .462 OPS.
Kyle Seager (9 percent): Seager went from being a non-factor in Fantasy to an advisable pickup in the span of two days, going 6 for 9 in a doubleheader on Tuesday and following it up with a 4-for-4 performance on Wednesday. His hot hitting has only continued since then. In fact, over his last 10 games, he's batting .500 (19 for 38) with two homers. He doesn't have a ton of power for a corner infielder, but he was a career .328 hitter in the minors. With seven right-handers on the schedule this week, the left-handed hitter could once again make an impact in mixed leagues.

Approach with caution
Danny Valencia (48 percent started): Valencia has managed to attract a good amount of attention in Fantasy despite his .250-ish batting average, but you should keep in mind his most productive weeks have been when he was facing a bunch of left-handers. He's batting only .229 with a .638 OPS against righties, so the one lefty on tap this week probably won't be enough to make him worth starting in mixed leagues.
David Freese (44 percent): You could argue staying on the field is a victory in and of itself for Freese, but for him to be the sleeper you hoped he'd be in Fantasy, he has to perform better than he has lately. He has been a .300 hitter at every level of professional ball, so he's sure to bounce back at some point. But his chances aren't so great this week against pitchers like Shaun Marcum, Yovani Gallardo and Johnny Cueto.

Injury concerns
Kevin Youkilis, who has been out since Aug. 17 with a tight back, resumed baseball activities Friday and is eligible to come off the disabled list Friday. He'll begin a rehab assignment Tuesday, making such a return possible, but even so, he'd be playing at best three games this week. Outside of AL-only leagues, it's just not worth it ... Adrian Beltre, who is working his way back from a July 22 hamstring injury, should begin playing games for Triple-A Round Rock on Monday. The team still doesn't have an exact timetable for his return, but it could potentially happen sometime this week. Leaving him on your bench is the safe call. Even if he does return midway through the week, giving him a few at-bats to shake off the rust isn't such a bad idea.

Shortstop

Jose Reyes, who has been out since Aug. 7 with a strained hamstring, began a rehab assignment at Double-A Binghamton on Thursday. The Mets plan to activate him on Monday, which means he'll be available for the full week. Considering Reyes' numbers this year and the lack of high-end options at shortstop, you'll want to get him active right away in Fantasy. With injuries to Denard Span and Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Trevor Plouffe seems to be becoming a regular part of the Twins lineup. He has started 13 straight games, including six straight at shortstop. Though he's anything but a surefire contributor in the majors, he has shown good pop in the minors, hitting 15 homers in 192 at-bats for Triple-A Rochester this year. In deeper leagues, he's worth a shot. John McDonald, who also came over from the Blue Jays in the Kelly Johnson-Aaron Hill deal, figures to split time at shortstop with Willie Bloomquist in Arizona, which is bigger news for Bloomquist than McDonald. McDonald doesn't hit well enough to matter in Fantasy, regardless of his role.

Must-Start Options: Troy Tulowitzki, Asdrubal Cabrera, Starlin Castro

Heating up
Troy Tulowitzki: .422 (35 for 83), 8 HRs, 20 RBI, 1 SB, 1.292 OPS in 23 games
Derek Jeter: .475 (29 for 61), five extra-base hits, 1 SB, 1.105 OPS, 5 BBs, 5 Ks in 14 games
J.J. Hardy: .357 (15 for 42), 2 HRs, .934 OPS, 2 BBs, 2 Ks during nine-game hit streak
Ian Desmond: .407 (11 for 27), 1 HR, 1.076 OPS in seven games

Cooling off
Yunel Escobar: .120 (6 for 50), 1 HR, .350 OPS, 2 BBs, 12 Ks in 12 games
Elvis Andrus: .097 (3 for 31), no extra-base hits, 1 SB, .297 OPS in nine games
Alexei Ramirez: .167 (5 for 30), no extra-base hits, .379 OPS in eight games

Worth a second look
Emilio Bonifacio (71 percent started): Even though Bonifacio's bat may have cooled off a little from his big start to the second half, his Fantasy productivity hasn't suffered all that much. As far as Head-to-Head points go, he has continued to score in double figures every week, which is more than you can say for any shortstop you'd find on the waiver wire. As long as he remains aggressive on the base paths, he'll always be a safe start in Fantasy. In an eight-game week, how could he not produce?
Erick Aybar (64 percent): Yup, about the time his Fantasy owners had given up on him, Aybar decided to pick it up again, hitting safely in seven straight games. He's a decent contact hitter, so he was due to snap out of it sooner or later. With matchups this week against low-end hurlers like Anthony Vasquez, Charlie Furbush, Brian Duensing and Kevin Slowey, he could be primed to make up for lost time. Aybar remains worth starting more weeks than not.

Approach with caution
Yuniesky Betancourt (56 percent started): OK, so Betancourt had a nice little run at the beginning of the second half. It was cute. It was fun. But it made believers out of too many people. Betancourt has a .684 OPS over his career. He has a .648 OPS on the season. And he's no base-stealer, remember. Hitting is all he has, and as far as everyday players go, he's one of the worst at it. Now that he has cooled off with a .115 (6 for 52) batting average over his last 13 games, why would you stick with him?
Ian Desmond (40 percent): Desmond has looked pretty good lately, batting .407 (11 for 27) over his last seven games. But we've seen him put together similar streaks in the past, and in the end, he comes out looking like the same .230 hitter as always. With a three-game series at Atlanta to open the week, the pattern will most likely continue. As anything more than a desperation play, Desmond is going to disappoint.

Injury concerns
Hanley Ramirez, who has been out since Aug. 2 with a shoulder injury, began a rehab assignment this weekend and is hoping to return Wednesday. Other reports have speculated that he'll return Thursday, when rosters expand beyond 25 players. Either way, Ramirez isn't likely to play a full week, and though half a week from him is better than a full week from most shortstops off the waiver wire, the lingering uncertainty over his exact return date makes Ramirez a player you should bench in more leagues than not this week ... Dee Gordon has spent more than the minimum 15 days on the DL with a shoulder injury, but the team decided to hold off on his rehab assignment until Sunday. He could potentially return Tuesday, but considering the way fellow rookie Justin Sellers has performed in Gordon's absence, the two might be in for a timeshare going forward. You can leave both for deeper Fantasy leagues.

Outfield

Andre Ethier has been in a free fall since the All-Star break, batting .224 with one home run in 134 at-bats, and he seems to have a reasonable explanation for it. He has a knee injury that will require offseason surgery and says the Dodgers are pushing him to play through it rather than shut it down early. Not only that, but they seem skeptical he's hurt at all. Given his current physical -- not to mention emotional (he seems pretty angry) -- state, Ethier might have trouble bouncing back over the final month and might ultimately have to end his season early, despite the Dodgers' wishes. He has high-end potential, but he's looking like a risky start in mixed leagues right now. Carlos Beltran returned from a DL stint for a strained hand Tuesday, but neither he nor the Giants seem confident he's 100 percent healthy. He homered in his second game back, though, so he looks like he should be able to contribute for your Fantasy team again. He's not without risk, but he's back to being a high-end option. Even with Beltran's return, Brandon Belt has continued to get regular at-bats, starting four straight games in the outfield. The question is will it continue now that Andres Torres is back from a leg injury? As much as the Giants need offense, you'd think so -- Belt has finally begun to perform up to his potential, after all -- but until you see how it all shakes out, you should leave Belt on your bench in mixed leagues.

Must-Start Options: Jose Bautista, Ryan Braun, Matt Kemp, Curtis Granderson, Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Holliday, Josh Hamilton, Carlos Gonzalez, Lance Berkman, Andrew McCutchen, Shane Victorino, Justin Upton, Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera, Michael Bourn, Ben Zobrist, Alex Gordon, Mike Stanton

Heating up
Ryan Braun: .411 (23 for 56), 4 HRs, 16 runs scored, 9 SBs, 1.253 OPS in 16 games
Matt Kemp: .377 (26 for 69), 5 HRs, 16 RBI, 4 SBs, 1.040 OPS, 3 BBs, 20 Ks in 16 games
Carlos Gonzalez: .393 (22 for 56), 8 HRs, 26 RBI, 1 SB, 1.370 OPS, 9 BBs, 9 Ks in 14 games
Peter Bourjos: .377 (20 for 53), 4 HRs, 2 3Bs, 2 2Bs, 3 SBs, 1.106 OPS in 12 games
Ichiro Suzuki: .356 (16 for 45), 1 HR, 3 SBs, .818 OPS during 10-game hit streak
Corey Hart: .381 (16 for 42), 2 HRs, 10 runs scored, 2 SBs, 1.028 OPS during 10-game hit streak
Desmond Jennings: .440 (11 for 25), 1 HR, 1.173 OPS in seven games
Vernon Wells: .500 (10 for 20), 1 HR, 1 SB, 1.515 OPS in seven games
Nick Swisher: .375 (6 for 16), 4 HRs, 7 RBI, 1.688 OPS in four games

Cooling off
Josh Reddick: .135 (7 for 52), 1 HR, .432 OPS, 8 Ks in 19 games
B.J. Upton: .167 (10 for 60), 2 HRs, 3 SBs, .542 OPS, 5 BBs, 23 Ks in 18 games
Andre Ethier: .104 (5 for 48), no extra-base hits, .375 OPS, 11 BBs, 10 Ks in 14 games
Hideki Matsui: .193 (11 for 57), two extra-base hits, .445 OPS in 14 games
Jason Bay: .053 (2 for 38), .222 OPS, 9 Ks in 10 games
Josh Hamilton: .156 (5 for 32), 2 HRs, 1 SB, .618 OPS in nine games
Jay Bruce: .121 (4 for 33), 1 HR, 1 SB, .499 OPS, 5 BBs, 12 Ks in nine games
Brett Gardner: .111 (4 for 36), no extra-base hits, 1 SB, .286 OPS in nine games
Curtis Granderson: .136 (3 for 22), 2 HRs, 1 SB, .776 OPS, 6 BBs, 7 Ks in six games

Worth a second look
Angel Pagan (60 percent started): Quick, who's the 16th-highest scoring outfielder in Head-to-Head leagues since May 27? If you said Pagan, your deductive reasoning skills are finely tuned. You're probably still surprised, though. Since returning from an oblique injury on May 27, he has been just as good as he was last year. He's also batting .363 with three homers and eight steals in August. With favorable matchups against the Marlins and Nationals in an eight-game week, he deserves to be starting in far more Fantasy leagues than he is.
Delmon Young (49 percent): Young has gotten off to a good start with the Tigers, likely benefiting from the protection that goes along with batting in front of Miguel Cabrera. In nine games since coming over from the Twins, Young is batting .308 (16 for 52) with two homers, looking much like he did a year ago. It's a small sample size, of course, but with good matchups this week against the Royals and White Sox, it should continue for at least a little bit longer.
Peter Bourjos (46 percent): Bourjos is having an impossibly hot August, so you might not want to get too attached to him in mixed leagues. Still, this week looks like a good week for him to keep the good times rolling. Not only do the Angels have favorable matchups against pitchers like Anthony Vasquez, Charlie Furbush, Brian Duensing and Kevin Slowey, but they're facing three left-handers. Like many young right-handed hitters, Bourjos destroys lefties, batting .333 with a .950 OPS against them compared to .253 and .691 against righties. If you've made a point to start him already, don't stop now.
Jose Tabata (41 percent): Tabata must have learned something during his two months on the DL with a strained quadriceps. Since returning, he has been unstoppable, batting .340 (17 for 50) with a homer and two steals in 12 games. He was nearly a .300 hitter as a rookie last season, so you shouldn't necessarily expect him to come down to earth, especially when he's facing the Astros and Cubs pitching staffs.
John Mayberry (6 percent): With 39-year-old Raul Ibanez nursing a sore groin, Mayberry has stepped in and continued to hit for the same power he showed as a part-timer, batting .367 (11 for 30) with three homers in eight games. His numbers look so good now that manager Charlie Manuel has talked about playing him over Ibanez even when Ibanez returns. With seven games on the schedule this week, Mayberry should get plenty of at-bats, so if you need cheap power, give him a look.

Most Added Hitters
* as of Aug. 28
Player % increase
1. Peter Bourjos, OF, Angels 22
2. Kyle Seager, 3B, Mariners 13
3. John Mayberry, OF, Phillies 9
4. J.D. Martinez, OF, Astros 8
5. Kyle Blanks, OF, Padres 8
6. Lucas Duda, 1B, Mets 7
7. Brandon Allen, 1B, Athletics 7
8. Jose Tabata, OF, Pirates 7
9. James Loney, 1B, Dodgers 6
10. Orlando Hudson, 2B, Padres 6

Approach with caution
Adam Jones (84 percent started): Jones was taken to the hospital with mild chest pains and shortness of breath Tuesday. He checked out fine, but then he left Wednesday's game with soreness in his chest and shoulder. Nothing seems to be seriously wrong with Jones, who ultimately returned Sunday, but you have to think the Orioles will take it easy with him this week. Add the fact that they're facing three left-handed pitchers, and you have all the excuse you need to sit the normally high-end option. Jones is batting only .244 against lefties compared to .313 against righties.
Drew Stubbs (70 percent): Stubbs does most of his damage against left-handed pitchers (.931 OPS) and at home (.808 OPS). The Reds face four righties this week, and their four games at home are all brutal matchups against the Phillies pitching staff. With Stubbs' batting average in steady decline because of his high strikeout rate, he's already not the high-end option he used to be. This week, provided you don't need his speed, you might just want to sit him.
Matt Joyce (44 percent): Any time Joyce shows signs of life, as he has recently with a .391 (9 for 23) batting average and a homer over his last six games, you probably feel tempted to start him, hoping he can recapture the form he showed in May. But those left-handed pitchers always seem to come at the worst possible time. The Rays face four this week, and considering Joyce is batting .191 against them compared to .300 against righties, he just won't have enough of a chance to contribute for mixed-league owners.
Seth Smith (38 percent): As usual, Smith is at his best in a platoon role, homering six times in his last 16 games. But when the homers stop, the Fantasy points will be fewer and farther between. The Rockies are at PETCO Park for three games this week, so those homers might be harder to come by. And considering Smith figures to sit at least two of the six games anyway, you should probably leave him for NL-only leagues.
Logan Morrison (26 percent): After serving his 10-day sentence in the minor leagues, Morrison is back starting in left field for the Marlins. He homered in his first game back and should be plenty motivated for a big finish. But even in an eight-game week, he might have trouble recapturing the form Fantasy owners have come to exepct from him. Three of those games are against Phillies aces Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay, and the other five are at expansive Citi Field. Let's give Morrison a week and see just how motivated he is.

Injury concerns
Shin-Soo Choo, who missed two games earlier in the week with left trunk soreness, continued to feel soreness in the area when he returned to the lineup Saturday. The Indians are talking about him potentially needing to go on the DL now, so he's clearly too risky to start in standard mixed leagues, despite his hot hitting since returning from a broken thumb. Shelley Duncan figures to see more playing time in Choo's absence, but his power hitting is only relevant in AL-only leagues ... Michael Cuddyer has been dealing with one injury after another lately, the latest being a sore left wrist that kept him out of the lineup both Saturday and Sunday. Cuddyer thinks he'll be able to return Monday and "won't have to worry about it again," but he has been in and out of the lineup so much lately that he's less than an automatic start even with those assurances. If you have comparable options at each of the positions he's eligible, you wouldn't be crazy to go with them instead ... Cameron Maybin sat out both Saturday and Sunday after dealing with a sore wrist for several days. The injury doesn't seem particularly serious, but then again, the Padres haven't offered a clear timetable for Maybin's return either. Because he's just a borderline mixed-league option when healthy, you should probably reserve him ... Carlos Quentin finally had to go on the disabled list Saturday with a strained AC joint in his left shoulder. He had been out since Aug. 20 with the injury. Alejandro De Aza has been swinging a hot bat in Quentin's absence, though the White Sox also called up power-hitting prospect Dayan Viciedo to help fill the void. Both are worth adding in AL-only leagues ... Brennan Boesch has had to sit since Wednesday with a lingering thumb injury. Manager Jim Leyland would like to get him back soon so he doesn't get too rusty, but then again, a few days of rest wasn't enough to heal the injury the first time. Keep Boesch reserved for now. Magglio Ordonez will see more at-bats in his absence ... Jason Bay jammed his shoulder Tuesday and decided to rest it over the weekend. An MRI showed no damage, and he's talking like he should be able to return for the start of this week. As cold as he has been lately, though, you wouldn't want to give him the benefit of the doubt outside of NL-only leagues ... Colby Rasmus injured his wrist Tuesday and had to go on the DL over the weekend. The Blue Jays will likely fill his spot in the outfield with some combination of Mike McCoy and Dewayne Wise, neither of whom has much Fantasy appeal ... The Indians finally got to the bottom of Michael Brantley's lingering wrist injury. He has a broken hamate bone that will require surgery, ending his season. Brantley hadn't offered Fantasy owners much since the first two months of the season, so his absence isn't a major loss. His replacement, Ezequiel Carrera, offers enough speed to factor in deeper Rotisserie leagues.

Best 5 Hitting Schedules for Week 22
Team 8/29 8/30 8/31 9/1 9/2 9/3 9/4
Mets FLA (x2) FLA FLA FLA @WAS @WAS @WAS
vs. Sanchez, Nolasco vs. Vazquez vs. Volstad vs. Hensley vs. Detwiler vs. Peacock vs. Hernandez
Not only do the Mets play eight games, but they face two of the weakest starting rotations in the NL.
Tigers KC KC KC KC CHW CHW CHW
vs. Hochevar vs. Francis vs. Paulino vs. Duffy vs. Danks vs. Floyd vs. Buehrle
Four games against the Royals is always a good thing. White Sox lack a true ace themselves.
Angels @SEA @SEA @SEA @SEA MIN MIN MIN
vs. Beavan vs. Vasquez vs. Hernandez vs. Furbush vs. Pavano vs. Duensing vs. Slowey
Hernandez the one sore spot on list of relative no-names. Even if Pavano steps up, Halos should tee off.
Blue Jays TB @BAL @BAL @BAL @NYY @NYY @NYY
vs. Davis vs. Guthrie vs. Reyes vs. Hunter vs. Colon vs. Nova vs. Garcia
Yankees trio has its moments, but not strong enough to make up for three games at Baltimore.
Pirates @HOU @HOU @HOU LAD @CHC @CHC @CHC
vs. Rodriguez vs. Sosa vs. Happ vs. Billingsley vs. Dempster vs. Coleman vs. Wells
Rodriguez, Billingsley, Dempster have their moments, but Pirates should be able to beat up on the rest.
-----------------------------
Worst 5 Hitting Schedules for Week 22
Team 8/29 8/30 8/31 9/1 9/2 9/3 9/4
Reds PHI PHI PHI PHI @STL @STL @STL
vs. Hamels vs. Halladay vs. Lee vs. Worley vs. Carpenter vs. Lohse vs. Garcia
Seven-game week, but the pitchers on tap are just ridiculous. Imagine if Garcia was still pitching well.
Cardinals -- @MIL @MIL @MIL CIN CIN CIN
-- vs. Marcum vs. Wolf vs. Gallardo vs. Cueto vs. Bailey vs. Arroyo
No true aces on schedule, but Marcum, Gallardo, Cueto close. Not like the other three are duds either.
Cubs @SF @SF @SF -- PIT PIT PIT
vs. Lincecum vs. Vogelsong vs. Bumgarner -- vs. Karstens vs. Ohlendorf vs. Morton
If you like Karstens, that's a nasty top four. If not, three games at Giants is still tough for any lineup.
Rangers -- TB TB TB @BOS @BOS @BOS
-- vs. Hellickson vs. Shields vs. Niemann vs. Bedard vs. Wakefield vs. Lackey
Rangers get to play in hitter's parks, but vs. two of top rotations in AL. Even Niemann looks like ace lately.
Rockies @ARI @ARI @ARI -- @SD @SD @SD
vs. Hudson vs. Miley vs. Collmenter -- vs. Harang vs. Luebke vs. Latos
Rockies hitters struggle away from Coors. PETCO the polar opposite. Plus, Miley the only cupcake matchup.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can also follow Scott on Twitter ( @cbsscottwhite ) and can e-mail us your questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com . Be sure to put Hitting Planner in the subject field.

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Player News
Endy Chavez returns to action Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:39 am ET) Mariners outfielder Endy Chavez was back in action Tuesday, going 0 for 1 and playing the final three innings of his team's 5-2 win over the Indians.

Chavez hadn't played since Friday while dealing with a pinkie injury. He has hit .260/.284/.344 with one home run and 10 RBI in 154 at-bats.


Rockies plan on keeping LaTroy Hawkins
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:30 am ET) Though the Rockies have talked to a few teams regarding closer LaTroy Hawkins, they plan to keep the pitcher through the trade deadline, CBSSports.com baseball insider Jon Heyman reports.

The Rockies will almost assuredly pick up Hawkins' $2.25-million option if he can remain healthy throughout the season. While the Rockies appreciate his intangibles more than anything, he has converted 17 of his 18 save opportunities while posting a 3.09 ERA.


Report: Ryan Zimmerman has Grade 3 hamstring strain
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:21 am ET) Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman has a Grade 3 hamstring strain, which could put him on the shelf for an extended period of time, MLB.com reports.

A Grade 3 strain is the most severe type of hamstring strain. The Nationals have yet to issue an official statement on the injury or on a timetable for Zimmerman's recovery.


Jay Bruce scheduled to return Friday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:16 am ET) Reds outfielder Jay Bruce is scheduled to return to the team Friday, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Bruce was placed on the bereavement list Tuesday to attend to the death of his grandfather.

Michael Bourn expected to increase rehab activity this week
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:09 am ET) Indians outfielder Michael Bourn rode a stationary bike Sunday and is expected to increase his rehab workload over the coming week, MLB.com reports.

"I've kind of on purpose not gone in to push him," manager Terry Francona said. "He's going to obviously add intensity as he continues to feel better. ... He will just continue to ramp up. And when he's ready to play, we'll send him out to play."

Bourn has been out since July 5 while recovering from a strained hamstring.


David Robertson converts shaky save Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:06 am ET) Yankees closer David Robertson recorded his 27th save Tuesday despite surrendering two earned runs on two hits and three walks while striking out one in the ninth inning of his team's 12-11 win over the Rangers.

Robertson started the inning off with a strikeout, but a single, walk and sacrifice put two runners in scoring position with two outs. After the next batter walked to load the bases, Elvis Andrus delivered a two-run single. Robertson walked the bases loaded again but was able to retire the next batter to finish off the game. He owns a 2.88 ERA and 68:14 K:BB ratio in 40 2/3 innings.


J.P. Arencibia drives in seven runs in huge performance
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:03 am ET) Rangers first baseman J.P. Arencibia had the game of his career Tuesday, going 4 for 5 with with two doubles, two home runs and seven RBI in his team's 12-11 loss to the Yankees.

Arencibia doubled in the second inning and then knocked in two runs with a double in the third. He homered in his next two at-bats, first hitting a solo shot in the fifth before slugging a grand slam in the seventh inning. He wrapped up his night by striking out to lead off the ninth. Arencibia owns a .183/.223/.404 line after Tuesday's out-of-nowhere explosion, and he has six home runs and 22 RBI in 104 at-bats.


Brandon McCarthy surrenders four runs in win vs. Rangers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:03 am ET) Yankees pitcher Brandon McCarthy picked up a win Tuesday after allowing four earned runs on nine hits and one walk in six innings and striking out three in his team's 12-11 victory over the Rangers.

McCarthy (6-10) has won three straight starts, but Tuesday's outing was his ugliest performance since joining the Yankees in early July. He owns a 4.56 ERA and 113:24 K:BB ratio in 134 1/3 innings. McCarthy is scheduled to face the Tigers Monday.


Nick Martinez rocked in loss vs. Yankees Tuesday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:02 am ET) Rangers pitcher Nick Martinez took a loss Tuesday after giving up six earned runs on six hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings and striking out two in his team's 12-11 defeat against the Yankees.

Martinez (1-7) gave up a first-inning solo home run but held a 4-1 lead after five innings. The Yankees offense caught fire in the sixth, scoring seven runs before the inning was up and tacking on a few more in the seventh. Martinez owns a 5.08 ERA and 34:35 K:BB ratio in 78 innings. He's scheduled to face the White Sox Monday.


Matt Albers to resume throwing Friday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:01 am ET) Astros pitcher Matt Albers is scheduled to throw off a mound Friday, MLB.com reports. He has been on the disabled list since April 22 with shoulder tendinitis.

"I've been feeling pretty good," Albers said. "I think I felt pretty good a couple of times and then when I got off the mound, I had a setback. Hopefully, this time we're making sure I stretch it out and get some extra throwing in before I get back off the mound, but it's feeling pretty good right now."

Albers added that he expects to throw at 70-75 percent intensity Friday in order not to push himself too hard as he attempts to return from a lengthy injury.


 
 
 
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