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The Roster Stash All Stars

Senior Fantasy Writer
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There comes a moment in everyone's draft where you're staring down an ages-old dilemma: do I go for that outfielder I just kind of like ... or do I draft the injured All-Star who may not be back until June?

Sure, you could gamble on Jayson Werth coming back and having a 2010-type year; but you could also really gamble and draft Ryan Howard, a man who will occupy a bench or DL slot on your roster well into May. And when he returns, there's no telling how much rust he'll have to shake off.

Some of these gambles pay off -- in 2011, Phillies second baseman Chase Utley came off the DL and, after a slow start, rattled off seven multi-hit games and stole three bases in his first month of action -- others flame out brilliantly, as Johan Santana was expected to return in late June or July last season, then mid-July, then August, September, and, eventually, 2012.

So who do you stash? And who do you let fester on another owners' bench? Stashing isn't an exact science, but here are this year's most-buzzed about stashees and their prospects for 2012. "Stashability" is based on the player's ability to help your team this season, combining time of return, setback possibility, and skill/value.

Catcher

Victor Marinez, Tigers
Stashability: 5 (out of 100)
Injury: Knee
Out until: 2013
Analysis: Martinez should be kept in every keeper format. Chances are that owners who already had him in keeper leagues at $25-$30 likely threw him back, where he was drafted by some forward-thinking Fantasy owner for about $7. If he doesn't take up a bench spot -- and can be put on the disabled list -- it's a tremendous bargain for next season. Owners in single-season leagues who picked up Martinez hoping for a miraculous recovery and late-season return aren't being hurt by his occupying of a DL slot, but if you have DL limits and another injured player, cut him loose; the chances of Martinez playing in 2012 are miniscule, at best.

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First base

Ryan Howard, Phillies
Stashability: 90 (out of 100)
Injury: Achilles
Out until: Mid-May
Analysis: Howard has hit 30 or more home runs in each of the last six seasons. While his batting average has its peaks and valleys, he's still a very valuable Fantasy commodity when playing. As a further boost to his value, he's a tremendous second-half player, with his average rising to .290 (from .262) post-All-Star Game, and his OPS increasing almost 130 points (.867 to .996) after the break. He's as solid a stash as there is this year.

Second base

Brian Roberts, Orioles
Stashability: 37 (out of 100)
Injury: Concussion
Out until: June-ish?
Analysis: Roberts was limited to 39 games last year, after playing just 59 in 2010. He told MASNSports.com in late March that, while he feels hopeful he'll play this year, he doesn't know when he'll make a return. He has yet to play in a rehab game this year but has been taking batting practice with the team, working out, hitting off a tee and playing catch. He's had a laundry list of injuries over the last two seasons, including back spasms, a root canal, and an earlier set of headaches and concussive symptoms that he received from hitting himself on the helmet with a bat after striking out. Head injuries are tricky to predict, and there's no guarantee the oft-injured Roberts won't tweak a hamstring even after returning, but he has a good deal of speed, is a career .281 hitter, and is the textbook example of "flashes of power," so he's worth at least a DL stash until a superstar needs to occupy that spot.

Third base

Chipper Jones, Braves
Stashability: 71 (out of 100)
Injury: Knee
Out until: At least mid-April
Analysis: It's no secret what Jones is capable of and with this being his last season, you know he's going to do everything he can to get on the field. Which begs the question: does an overzealous Chipper (dibs on that as a band name, by the way), rush himself back from injury -- or play a little harder -- causing more injury? Or does he blow off some of the more minor injuries he usually incurs in order to play as many games as possible in one last, stellar season? I'm going with the latter. And while he isn't the 30-homer hitting Chipper of earlier vintage, he still has the ability to hit .290, with 20 home runs and a couple steals. Especially when you throw in the extra motivation of a final season. He's only owned in 36 percent of leagues right now; that number should probably be at 60.

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Shortstop

Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks
Stashability: 49 (out of 100)
Injury: Ankle
Out until: Late April
Analysis: Drew's problem isn't that he might hit some complications in rehabbing his surgically-repaired ankle, it's that nobody knows what to expect from him when he returns. Thousands of Fantasy owners have been burned by the promise of the Stephen Drew Breakout Year, having to instead be content with 15 home-run seasons and the occasional steal. "Maybe this is the year" is a familiar refrain to Drew drafters, which makes him a fairly decent stash candidate. He'll be back within a month, his ankle seems to be holding up nicely so far, and ... well ... maybe this is the year. Only owned in 47 percent of leagues, though, it seems like the majority of owners would rather wait and see him do it on the waiver wire first.

Outfielders

Manny Ramirez
Stashability: 33 (out of 100)
Injury: Bone in head
Out until: The 51st game of the season
Analysis: Ramirez is an interesting stash candidate, because he can't occupy a DL spot on your team -- he has to be put on your bench, a spot usually reserved for the Brian Matuszs and Pedro Alvarezes of the world. Serving out a suspension, Ramirez has to sit out the first 50 games, at which point he hopes to improve on the forgettable truncated run he had with Tampa Bay in 2011 (.059 average in 17 at-bats) and Chicago in 2010 (.739 OPS in 24 games). Ramirez still has skill as he turns 40, but his value may lie more in batting average than in the power categories.

Pitchers

A.J. Burnett, Pirates
Stashability: 88 percent
Injury: Eye
Out until: Possibly Mid-April
Analysis: Laugh all you want, but Burnett could be a great candidate to slide into your DL spot until he comes back from the broken orbital bone he suffered earlier this spring. He was horrible in his run as a Yankee, but so are a lot of players. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage worked wonders with the staff in 2011, and if there's anyone in need of a reclamation project, it's Burnett. His recovery is pretty far ahead of schedule and he can be a great source of strikeouts. He also has career ERAs of 3.84 and 3.86 in April and May, so a hot start and then quick trade could pay off.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @NandoCBS . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Nationals 2B Dan Uggla gets the start against Phillies
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(12:53 pm ET) Nationals 2B Dan Uggla has been solid against left-handed pitchers this year, something his team wants him to continue on Saturday against the Phillies' Cole Hamels.

Uggla, who is hitting .273/.385/.545 in 11 at-bats against lefties this season, will get the start over Danny Espinosa.

In 62 career at-bats against Hamels, Uggla is only hitting .145/.239/.323 with three home runs, two doubles and six RBI.


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(12:45 pm ET) Angels shortstop Erick Aybar has been raking for three weeks, but he did something Friday night he had not done all year.

He homered.

Aybar blasted off with one aboard to put the cherry on top in a nine-run fifth that buried Boston. He had already walked and scored in the inning.

He has hit safely in 16 of his last 18 games and his .325 slugging percentage is at its highest point since the season opener.


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Miller (5-1) will get the start on Saturday against the Brewers, where he will look to extend his excellent start to the season.

Through eight starts, Miller has a 1.33 ERA.


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(12:39 pm ET) Mariners starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma continues to receive treatment for his strained right lat muscle. However, he has yet to resume throwing, per MLB.com.

“I would imagine when we get back he’ll start throwing again and then start his process all over again,” McClendon said. “He’s going to be out awhile.”


Austin Jackson's struggles in minors delaying return to Mariners
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:37 pm ET) Mariners outfielder Austin Jackson played in his sixth rehab game for Triple-A Tacoma on Friday. He went 1 for 5 with three strikeouts.

Jackson is batting .250 (6 for 24) with four walks and seven strikeouts on his rehab assignment. Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon, however, gave no indication Saturday of a specific date for Jackson's return.

“The ankle is feeling good, but the bat isn’t,” McClendon said, per MLB.com. “As of right now, it’s still open.”


Braves LF Jonny Gomes will start against Brewers
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(12:36 pm ET) Braves left fielder Jonny Gomes will start against the Brewers on Saturday.

Gomes will be in the starting lineup for the second time in the team's last three games. He's 2 for 5 in his last two games.


Braves SP Alex Wood feeling better, plans to make next start
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:32 pm ET) Braves right-hander Alex Wood has confirmed that he will make his Wednesday start against the host Dodgers after losing his Friday outing to a virus, 680 The Fan has reported.

Wood, who added that he would be available Saturday out of the bullpen, will probably simply wait until his next start to pitch. He is coming off his finest effort of the year, a seven-inning performance at Miami in which he allowed just one run.


Mariners' McClendon not worried about Fernando Rodney's high ERA
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(12:31 pm ET) Mariners closer Fernando Rodney has allowed at least one run in five of his six appearances in May, resulting in a 9.00 ERA this month. Despite some shaky outings, Rodney has converted nine straight saves since his only blown save of the season April 14.

Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon doesn't appear worried at all about Rodney's high ERA (6.61).

“I don’t think you worry about his ERA much,” McClendon said prior to Saturday’s game, per MLB.com. “A lot of that is inflated from (two early season games). My old skipper told me this a long time ago. Your responsibility as a manager is to get the ball to your closer in the ninth inning. After that, what are you going to do? He either wins it or loses it.”

Rodney entered Friday's game against the Blue Jays with a three-run lead. He allowed two runs on two hits, including a home run, before recording his 11th save.

“He gets those one-run leads, I think he’s a little bit more focused,” McClendon said. “Three-run lead, he’s a little more relaxed. It’s just the animal that most closers are. It’s not just him. I’ve seen it with other guys, too. It gets within one or two and they tighten down."


CF Lorenzo Cain knocks two hits in Royals win
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(12:26 pm ET) Royals centerfielder Lorenzo Cain went 2 for 4 in a 5-0 win over the Cardinals on Friday.

The performance was Cain's 11th multi-hit game of the season, increasing his batting average to .311.


Three-hit effort sends streak of Royals C Salvador Perez to eight
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:26 pm ET) Royals catcher Salvador Perez neither scored a run nor drove one in Friday night against St. Louis. But he had three hits, which is notable because it was his first three-hit game since April 28.

Not that Perez has been cold - quite the contrary. His effort against the Cardinals extended his hitting streak to eight. He is batting .400 during that stretch (10-for-25) with four doubles and a home run. He pushed his average over .300 for the first time in two weeks in the process.


 
 
 
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