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Top 70 starters for Week 11


Fantasy Week 11 (June 11-17) is yet another week with few two-start pitchers, so your waiver wire hunt may need to focus on quality one-start options.

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Jonathon Niese (30 percent activation rate), Dillon Gee (26 percent) and Jerome Williams (20 percent) don't start for many mixed league owners in typical one-start weeks, but in Week 11, each is a recommended start. A couple of pitchers who are normally more popular, Tim Hudson and John Danks, are not included in this week's top 70, as Hudson had his Sunday start pushed back as a result of bone spurs in his left ankle, and Danks (shoulder) is not a lock to return from the disabled list. Hudson could return to pitch on Wednesday against the Yankees, but without the certainty of an upcoming start in hand, owners should probably look to sit the sinkerballer this coming week.

Despite the dearth of two-start pitchers, owners in deeper leagues still have some intriguing options to consider. Chris Young may not seem like the most attractive of two-start pitchers, but this could be a surprisingly good week for him. The Mets' flyball specialist gets a road start against a Rays team that has been struggling offensively and a home start against the Reds, who own the fifth-lowest team home run per flyball ratio (HR/FB) on the road (8.9 percent) in the majors, according to Among widely-available one-start options, Scott Diamond (36 percent ownership rate) is worth a pickup in deeper leagues, though standard mixed league owners should be wary of putting too much stock in his recent starts against the A's, Indians and Cubs, all of whom have not hit for much power.

Here's the skinny on each of the top 70 starting pitchers for Week 11.

Starting Rotation breakdown for Fantasy Week 11
Rank Player Start 1 Start 2 Stat of note
1 Zack Greinke @KC (Adcock) @MIN (Blackburn) .465 road BABIP
Greinke hasn't been good on the road this year, but given that he had a better BABIP on the road than at home last year, his struggles in away games this season look very fluky.
2 Madison Bumgarner HOU (Norris) @SEA (Hernandez) 32 Ks over last 27 2/3 innings
Bumgarner isn't a premier whiff-inducer, but he's getting enough called strikes to be a contributor in the strikeout category.
3 Felix Hernandez SD (Richard) SF (Bumgarner) 1.95 home ERA
With two good matchups at home, Hernandez would have probably been this week's No. 1 pitcher, if not for his recent back problems.
4 Justin Verlander COL (Friedrich) N/A No starts shorter than six innings
Verlander hasn't made it past the seventh inning in any of his last three starts, and for him, that constitutes a slump.
5 Cole Hamels @MIN (Walters) N/A 15 percent line drive rate, last five starts
Hamels' ERA has risen a bit over his recent starts, but he hasn't been allowing very many hard-hit balls.
6 Ian Kennedy @TEX (Lewis) @LAA (Richards) One start with more than 2 BBs
Even when Kennedy endured his brief skid last month, his control remained impeccable.
7 Matt Cain HOU (Happ) N/A 11.4 percent swinging strike rate
As Cain reaches his peak years, he continues to improve his ability to get batters to swing and miss.
8 Clayton Kershaw CHW (Sale) N/A At least 6 Ks in eight of last 10 starts
Though Kershaw has had a few low-K performances this year, he is still the reliable strikeout producer you drafted him to be.
9 Cliff Lee @TOR (Romero) N/A 4.2 runs of support per nine innings
The Phillies may be in the middle of the pack in runs scored, but when Lee has pitched, they've produced as if they were one of the majors' weakest offenses. That could change at any time.
10 Brandon Morrow WAS (Jackson) PHI (Kendrick) Career 3.05 interleague ERA
Morrow is having his best season to date, but even in past years, he has mastered his National League opponents.
11 Stephen Strasburg @TOR (Drabek) N/A Opponents' .178 batting average, last two starts
Strasburg completely stymied the Braves and Red Sox -- two of the majors' better-hitting teams -- in his last two games.
12 David Price NYM (Dickey) N/A Four straight starts with 1 ER or less
Price's recent schedule hasn't been easy, but he's made it look that way, getting one ground ball after another.
13 CC Sabathia @ATL (Minor) N/A 6 Ks or more in nine out of 12 starts
Sabathia hasn't had many games where he has completely shut down the opponent, but he's been steady, and he usually produces plenty of strikeouts.
14 Yovani Gallardo @MIN (Hendriks) N/A 3.38 ERA over last six starts
After a few early-season speed bumps, Gallardo has been the reliable Fantasy starter you drafted him to be, overcoming his occasional wildness.
15 Johnny Cueto CLE (Gomez) @NYM (Young) 0.5 home HR/9 since '11
Great American Ball Park is a notorious homer haven, but Cueto is practically immune to the long ball wherever he pitches.
16 Josh Beckett @MIA (Johnson) @CHC (Maholm) .059 flyball BABIP since '11
Beckett is not much of a ground ball pitcher, but he limits the damage done by flyballs that stay in the park.
17 C.J. Wilson @LAD (Eovaldi) N/A 8 BBs over last 28 innings
Wilson looked like he reverted to his wild ways earlier this season, but his control has been much better in his recent starts.
18 Josh Johnson BOS (Beckett) @TB (Cobb) 22 percent line drive rate, last six starts
Johnson's line drive rate is still slightly elevated, but he is not getting hammered the way he was earlier in the season.
19 Anibal Sanchez @TB (Shields) N/A 1.83 road ERA
Sanchez has had some apparent bad luck with his strand rate at home, but he has been unquestionably superb in his five away starts this year.
20 Chris Sale @LAD (Kershaw) N/A 2 ER or fewer in seven of last eight starts
As good as Sale was before his one-game bullpen stint, he has been even better since then.
21 Dan Haren ARI (Cahill) N/A 32 Ks, 4 BBs over last 33 innings
Haren at Coors Field: bad idea. Now with Saturday's slugfest behind him, he should have a productive week as he returns to his home park.
22 R.A. Dickey @TB (Price) N/A 12.9 percent swinging strike rate
Dickey has faced some of the majors' whiff-happiest teams in his string of recent starts, but it's getting hard to ignore the huge spike in his swinging strike and strikeout rates.
23 Adam Wainwright CHW (Quintana) KC (Adcock) 3.58 ERA over last five starts
Wainwright's ERA has been respectable over the past three weeks, and that's even if you include his seven-run meltdown against the Mets.
24 James McDonald @CLE (Masterson) N/A 3.22 xFIP (entering Sat.)
Even after taking strand and BABIP rates that are probably too good to be true into account, McDonald profiles as a pitcher who can be trusted week in and week out.
25 Jake Peavy @STL (Lynn) N/A 10 quality starts in 12 tries
After the inconsistencies of the previous two years, owners can now relax when Peavy takes the mound, as he has been far less volatile.
26 Matt Garza DET (Crosby) N/A 54 percent ground ball rate, last two starts
Garza went through a stretch where he was a bit flyball-prone, but he has recovered over his most recent pair of starts.
27 Jeff Samardzija BOS (Matsuzaka) N/A No homers allowed in eight of 12 starts
Samardzija got shelled by the Twins on Saturday, but it was yet another game in which he kept the ball in the stadium.
28 Chris Capuano LAA (Richards) CHW (Quintana) 0.88 home WHIP
Capuano hasn't just been less vulnerable to homers at Dodger Stadium; he's been averse to baserunners in general.
29 Johan Santana @TB (Hellickson) N/A 89.3 mph average fastball velocity, Fri. at NYY
Santana threw harder in Friday's collapse than he did during his no-hitter, so his poor performance may have simply been the result of his flyball tendencies getting him into trouble at Yankee Stadium. Shouldn't be an issue at the Trop.
30 Gio Gonzalez NYY (Hughes) N/A 17 percent line drive rate (entering Sat.)
Gonzalez has posted a below-average line drive rate in each of the last four seasons, so he offsets at least some of his tendency to walk too many batters.
31 Shaun Marcum @KC (Mazzaro) N/A 66 percent strikes thrown, last seven starts
Marcum was a little wilder than usual to start the season, but he's back to being a control artist.
32 Tommy Hanson BAL (Hunter) N/A 3.40 ERA over last seven starts
Since May 7, Hanson has had only one truly bad start, so any concerns about his health or new delivery can be put aside.
33 Wei-Yin Chen PIT (Lincoln) @ATL (Delgado) 10.9 percent swinging strike rate
Chen may not throw especially hard, but he has done a good job of getting hitters to fan.
34 Lance Lynn CHW (Peavy) N/A 2 ER or less in 9 of 12 starts
Lynn hasn't really gotten lit up yet, and if he could just become more efficient, he could turn into a No. 2 Fantasy SP.
35 Yu Darvish HOU (Harrell) N/A 18 BBs over last 20 2/3 innings
He is still ringing up strikeouts, but due to his recent loss of command, Yu has me a little worried.
36 Brandon Beachy NYY (Kuroda) N/A Allowed two flyball base hits on balls in play
Beachy leads the majors with an .024 flyball BABIP, which has allowed him to get away with poor command lately. He's still worth starting, but lower your expectations, as that rate is sure to rise.
37 James Shields MIA (Sanchez) N/A 16 percent HR/FB ratio
Shields isn't seeing the benefit of his pumped-up ground ball rate (59 percent), but eventually, his pace of home runs allowed has to slow down.
38 Jon Lester @CHC (Dempster) N/A 25 Ks, 5 BBs over last 31 2/3 innings
Lester has been pitching much better of late, but a .353 BABIP over his last five starts has given him the appearance of continued struggles.
39 Wandy Rodriguez @SF (Zito) N/A 3.42 career ERA vs. SF
Rodriguez has gotten torched over his last three starts, but the Giants should prove to be an easier matchup than the Rockies, Reds or White Sox.
40 Jason Hammel @ATL (Hanson) N/A 14 percent line drive rate
Hammel's sinker has received a lot of attention, but it's also helped that his four-seamer and slider have yielded fewer line drives.
41 Andy Pettitte @WAS (Zimmermann) N/A 60 percent ground ball rate
Pettitte extreme grounder rate looks like a small sample artifact, but he has rolled up big ground ball counts against flyball-hitting squads like the Mariners and Rays.
42 A.J. Burnett @CLE (Jimenez) N/A 1.86 ERA over last 29 innings vs. CLE
Burnett didn't have much success during his two last years with the Yankees, but the Indians provided him with some bright spots.
43 Edwin Jackson @TOR (Morrow) NYY (Nova) 2.66 ERA, last six starts
Jackson has been in a groove lately, as he continues to be stingy with walks (11 BBs over his last 40 2/3 innings).
44 Jeremy Hellickson NYM (Santana) N/A Seven quality starts in last nine tries
Poor command meant an early exit for Hellickson against Miami on Friday, but that kind of performance has been a rare exception.
45 Clay Buchholz @MIA (Buehrle) N/A 4 BBs over last 24 innings
Buchholz's owners are glad to say farewell to the version of him that walked more than a batter every other inning over his first nine starts.
46 Jordan Zimmermann NYY (Pettitte) N/A No starts fewer than six innings
Though Zimmermann has cooled off somewhat since April, he continues to be efficient and effective enough to avoid disastrous starts.
47 Ryan Dempster BOS (Lester) N/A 42 percent ground ball rate
Dempster has coughed up five homers over his last 30 2/3 innings, so a start against the slugging Red Sox will be an important test for him.
48 Bud Norris @SF (Bumgarner) @TEX (Lewis) 12 Ks vs. STL on Wed.
Norris' high K count in his last start should allay some fears about his recent hip injury, but a start at Texas deflates his value for this week somewhat.
49 Max Scherzer @CHC (Maholm) COL (Guthrie) At least one homer allowed in eight straight starts
Scherzer's stat of note might not look like much of a recommendation, but the good news is that he faces the power-deprived Cubs and the Rockies away from Coors (23 home runs in 26 road games).
50 Jason Vargas SF (Vogelsong) N/A 3.04 interleague ERA (entering Sat.)
Vargas not only has a good track record at Safeco Field, but he has generally held his own against NL competition.
51 Mat Latos CLE (Tomlin) N/A 69 percent strikes thrown, last four starts
Owners haven't had to worry about Latos issuing too many walks in recent starts, but having allowed eight homers the last four times out, he could stand to pitch out of the zone a little more.
52 Ricky Romero PHI (Lee) N/A 11 Ks, 2 BB over last 13 innings
In his last two starts, Romero's overall results haven't been impressive, but his command appears to be back.
53 Colby Lewis ARI (Kennedy) HOU (Norris) 3 HRs over last 33 2/3 innings
Since allowing five homers to the Orioles in a mid-May start, Lewis has been relatively difficult to go yard against. He's still a hardcore flyball pitcher, so that could change in any given start.
54 Alex Cobb NYM (Young) MIA (Johnson) 69 percent strand rate
Cobb probably deserves an ERA better than his current 4.13, as he has been stranding runners at a slightly subpar rate.
55 Jerome Williams @LAD (Harang) N/A 61 percent first-pitch strikes
Williams has done a good job getting ahead of batters, which has allowed him to get through plate appearances quickly.
56 Felix Doubront @MIA (Nolasco) N/A Five straight starts with 6 or more Ks
Doubront has been allowing too many extra-base hits, but he is becoming a reliable source of strikeouts.
57 Matt Moore MIA (Zambrano) N/A 11.8 percent swinging strike rate (entering Sat.)
Despite some early struggles with getting whiffs, Moore is putting up a world-class swinging strike rate.
58 Brandon McCarthy @COL (White) N/A 3 HRs in 32 road innings
McCarthy has never pitched at Coors Field, but his results are mixed at the two homer-friendly venues he's visited this year: BAL (7 INN, 2 ER, 0 HR) and TEX (5 1/3 INN, 4 ER, 2 HR).
59 Drew Smyly COL (Outman) N/A 12 percent popup rate
Smyly's flyball tendencies have caught up with him, but the flipside is that he can get out of jams with infield flies.
60 Kyle Lohse KC (Chen) N/A 1 BB or less in seven straight starts (entering Sat.)
Lohse's two walks against the Indians on Saturday qualifies as a wild night on the town for him. That's why you can count on him to keep his WHIP low.
61 Matt Harrison ARI (Miley) N/A 2 HRs in 30 1/3 home innings
Harrison routinely keeps the ball down, and that allows him to avoid trouble when pitching at Rangers Ballpark at Arlington.
62 Ryan Vogelsong @SEA (Vargas) N/A 1.39 road WHIP
Vogelsong gets a favorable matchup at Seattle, but because of his overall struggles away from AT&T Park, he doesn't rank higher this week.
63 Justin Masterson PIT (McDonald) N/A 3 BBs over last 19 innings
After some early-season wildness, Masterson seems to be settling down; now he just needs to get more run support.
64 Trevor Cahill @LAA (Haren) N/A 10 GDPs induced (entering Sat.)
Cahill is still too walk-prone, but plentiful grounders and a good infield defense behind him help to keep his ERA manageable.
65 Jonathon Niese CIN (Bailey) N/A Opponents' .275 SLG, last three starts
Niese seems to have moved beyond his May rough patch, as he's back to throwing strikes and getting ground balls.
66 Vance Worley @TOR (Hutchison) N/A 9 Ks over last 10 innings
After a less-than-impressive first start off the DL, Worley's Saturday start at Balitmore was far more reassuring, and he continues to help with strikeouts.
67 Daniel Hudson @TEX (Feldman) N/A 5 BBs over last 22 1/3 innings
Hudson got clobbered by the A's on Friday, and he has a tough test ahead, but he continues to demonstrate good control.
68 Erik Bedard @BAL (Arrieta) N/A Opponents' .369 SLG
Bedard not only provides owners with strikeouts, but his aversion to extra-base hits makes him a strong bet to keep helping with ERA.
69 Dillon Gee CIN (Arroyo) N/A Five straight quality starts
Gee didn't beat the Yankees on Saturday, but he reeled off yet another impressive start, cementing his case for standard mixed league viability.
70 Hiroki Kuroda @ATL (Hudson) N/A 79 percent strand rate since '11
Kuroda expects to make his start against the Braves despite sustaining a foot contusion in his last start, so owners should plan on taking a gamble on the revived veteran.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Al Melchior at @almelccbs . You can also e-mail us at .

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Player News
Giants SS Brandon Crawford agrees to $3.175M salary for 2015
by Michael Hurcomb |
(4:34 pm ET) The Giants and shortstop Brandon Crawford avoided arbitration Tuesday, agreeing to a $3.175 million salary for 2015, according to Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. Crawford, who is in his first year of arbitration, made $560,000 in 2014.

Crawford just finished his fourth season in the majors and third full season in 2014. He had career highs in triples (10), home runs (10), runs (54), RBI (69), walks (59) and games played (153).

Mariners' McClendon toying with idea of using Wilhelmsen as starter
by Michael Hurcomb |
(4:28 pm ET) The acquisition of J.A. Happ means Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon doesn't have to head into spring training with long reliever Tom Wilhelmsen competing for a spot in the rotation.

However, McClendon hasn't totally given up on the idea of Wilhelmsen potentially transitioning to a starting role down the road, per

"I don't think it's totally dead," McClendon said. "I would say it's probably a long shot. My plan, as we speak right now, is to maybe stretch him out in spring and just play with it a little bit and see what happens, but I think it's a long shot. He was just so good in the role he was in, it'd be hard to take him out of that role."

Wilhelmsen pitched multiple innings in 24 of his 57 appearances last year. The former closer went 3-2 with a 2.27 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 79 1/3 innings.

"I really tried not to change anything at all, [other than] try to simplify a little bit," Wilhelmsen said. "If I was going in in the fourth inning, I knew I'd have to throw two or three innings and I just really attacked the zone. But it's not like you don't attack the zone any other time. It's the same thing. You have to get outs."

Tigers' Castellanos works to be 'more comfortable' at 3B in 2015
by Michael Hurcomb |
(4:17 pm ET) Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos struggled in his first full year playing third base at the major-league level in 2014, so he is hard at work this offseason improving his defense

"Last year was [about] the actual ground-ball catching," Castellanos said, per "This year is a lot more [about] quickness, working on my range, lateral movement."

On top of committing 15 errors, Castellanos' Ultimate Zone Rating of negative-18.4 was nearly twice as bad as the next-lowest rating among third-base regulars. He also had a Defensive Runs Saved of minus-30 and a plus/minus rating of minus-39, which was lowest in the majors last year.

"I'm going to be more comfortable this year," Castellanos said. "Last year, I knew nobody [in terms of hitting tendencies]. Also I was getting used to the tempo of the game. It wasn't like I was in the big leagues for a while at another position and then had to go to third base. It was pretty much me making my first year in the big leagues at pretty much a new position, or trying to relearn an old position."

Santana, Escobar to compete to be Twins' starting shortstop
by Michael Hurcomb |
(3:56 pm ET) While Danny Santana is considered the front-runner to be the Twins' starting shortstop, first-year manager Paul Molitor said nothing has been decided yet. Santana will compete with Eduardo Escobar for the starting job this spring.

"It's probably been one of the more awkward things for me this winter in dealing with that situation," Molitor said, per "Obviously, I have to go in there open-minded about how it will play out. I can't say Santana will be the shortstop because things can change. Escobar deserves an opportunity to play and whether it's spotting around the organization or he has to go back to shortstop, I can't tell you it all will work out."

Escobar started a team-high 86 games at shortstop in 2014 for Minnesota. He made it clear he wants to play every day, but is willing to play where Molitor needs him.

"This season is important for me," Escobar said. "I'm coming in ready to play. I don't know if I'm going to be the starting shortstop or not, but I've been working hard to be ready for spring training. If Molitor wants me to play shortstop, or wherever, I'm ready for it."

Santana said he is excited he is moving back to shortstop after making a team-high 62 starts in center field last year. He's been fielding 200 grounders per day in the Dominican Republic to get ready for the season.

"I'm very happy about playing shortstop. I was waiting for that moment," Santana said. "Shortstop is my natural position. I just need to keep working and I can do the same thing as last year."

Rockies' Bridich: 'Highly unlikely' Tulo, CarGo traded before opener
by Michael Hurcomb |
(3:17 pm ET) Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich told FOX Sports on Tuesday that it is "highly, highly unlikely" shortstop Troy Tulowitzki or outfielder Carlos Gonzalez will be traded before opening day.

Tulowitzki, who has been linked to trade rumors involving the Mets this offseason, is under contract through 2020 on a six-year, $118 million deal. He is also recovering from August hip surgery.

Gonzalez is under contract through the 2017 season on a seven-year, $80 million contract. He is also recovering from surgery in August to repair the patellar tendon in his left knee.

Pitcher Johan Santana shut down in Venezuelan Winter League
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(2:46 pm ET) Free-agent pitcher Johan Santana has been scratched from pitching in any of the remaining Venezuelan Winter League championship series games, reports FOXSports.

Santana has been experiencing discomfort in his shoulder. Teams that have indicated interest in Santana include the Yankees, Blue Jays, Padres. Santana's agent said Santana may still throw for major-league scouts, but wasn't sure.

He last pitched in the major leagues in 2012 and produced a 4.85 ERA in 21 starts.

Royals OF Jarrod Dyson agrees to $1.225M salary for 2015
by Michael Hurcomb |
(1:54 pm ET) Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson avoided arbitration Tuesday by agreeing to a $1.225 million salary for 2015, according to Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. He will also receive a $25,000 bonus for 350 plate appearances.

Dyson is in his first year of arbitration. He hit .269 with one home run, 24 RBI and 36 stolen bases in 120 games in 2014.

Angels invite reliever Frank Herrmann to spring training
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(1:22 pm ET) The Angels announced they've invited reliever Frank Herrmann to spring training as a non-roster invitee. Herrmann, 30, spent the previous five years in the Indians' organization, last pitching in the majors in 2012.

Padres' Bud Black: Jedd Gyorko 'learned a lot' from 2014 struggles
by Michael Hurcomb |
(12:07 pm ET) Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko definitely went through a sophomore slump in 2014 after belting 23 home runs as a rookie in 2013. Although, dealing with plantar fasciitis in his left foot certainly didn't help his cause.

Still, Gyorko seems to indicate the injury wasn't the main reason he struggled offensively last season. He hit .210 with 10 home runs in 111 games.

"I think I maybe put a little too much pressure on myself," Gyorko said, per "We were struggling as a team. And I think all of us, not just myself, felt like we needed to come up with that big hit to get us going. It's hard to hit when you put that kind of pressure on yourself."

Gyorko missed nearly two months of games last season due to the foot injury, but once he returned, his numbers began to improve. He hit .260 with a .347 on-base percentage over his final 55 games. 

"He was better. I think he started making some adjustments, some mechanical, some at-bat to at-bat in terms of pitch selection," manager Bud Black said. "Before, you saw him chasing pitches up in the strike zone and also sliders away. I think that a lot of that was him wanting to be aggressive and wanting to help the team."

The Padres are expecting better results from Gyorko in 2015, especially with a revamped lineup that includes Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Derek Norris and Will Middlebrooks.

"We saw in 2013 what Jedd can be, and I think there's more to Jedd based on 2013," Black said. "I think last year there were a lot of factors that went into his season that he expected or adjusted to, but that is something he's hopefully learned from. It's a tough game. You've got to work and stay on top of it. In that regard, I think he learned a lot."

Infield shifts have become an issue for players like Reds' Bruce
by Michael Hurcomb |
(11:46 am ET) Reds outfielder Jay Bruce is not going to use infield shifts as an excuse for his low batting average, but he admits it does play a factor, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

"That's definitely taken some hits away from me," Bruce said. "I don't use it as an excuse. But the bottom line is it takes hits away. You smoke a ball up the middle and you think it's a hit. But the shortstop is playing right behind second base.

"It's definitely cut down on average. You look at a player like Mark Teixiera. He was a .300, .280 hitter. You put the shift on him. He's a guy who drives the ball, pull hitter. He uses the other side of the field some. But guys like that are hitting in the .250s."

Bruce added that beating the shift is difficult. 

"Everyone's like, 'Hit a ground ball to shortstop or hit one down the line.' Like you can do whatever you want." he said. "A lot of times, pitchers pitch to the shift. And shifts are getting more sophisticated. In New York, (shortstop Derek) Jeter was playing third, in on the grass. So you can't bunt. Ideally, you want to get a hit. It's hard to do."

Reds hitting coach Don Long said eventually hitters will be taught in the minors to beat the shift.

"Not everybody's going to be the perfect hitter and be able to do everything," he said. "But I think you're going to find guys who want to have the ability to hit to both sides of the field."