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Hit Parade for Week 19

Senior Fantasy Writer
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All stats are updated through Wednesday, July 31.

Catcher

Most Added Hitters (as of 8/2)
Player Name % change
1. Junior Lake, OF, Cubs 19
2. Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox 11
3. Chris Johnson, 3B, Braves 10
4. Yonder Alonso, 1B, Padres 10
5. Nate Schierholtz, OF, Cubs 10
6. Juan Lagares, OF, Mets 10
7. Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees 9
8. Jonathan Villar, SS, Astros 9
9. Marlon Byrd, OF, Mets 8
10. Nick Franklin, 2B, Mariners 7
Three catchers went down with injuries over the last week: Mike Zunino with a fractured hand, Miguel Montero with a strained back and, most notably, Yadier Molina with a sprained knee. Obviously, Zunino figures to miss the most time. For the others, you just need a short-term fill-in. Their direct replacements -- Wil Nieves for Montero and Tony Cruz for Molina -- probably won't cut it Fantasy, but if you can nab Wilson Ramos off waivers, you're golden.
Worth a second look: Alex Avila, Tigers
Avila might not be a terrible fill-in option at catcher either. He's not nearly as promising as Ramos, but he was a big deal in Fantasy before his knees wore out late in 2011. And since coming back from a DL stint (and time to rest his knees) a month ago, he's been decent, batting .269 (18 for 67) with three homers and an .818 OPS. Normally, I wouldn't think much of it, but with the Tigers one of just a handful of teams playing seven games week -- and with some decent matchups against the Indians and Yankees -- he's a sneaky play at a position of need.
Approach with caution: Evan Gattis, Braves
Though mostly in the outfield, Gattis has gotten a chance to play every day for the Braves since the All-Star break, which is huge for any catcher-eligible player, particularly one with his power potential. But with B.J. Upton due back over the weekend, Gattis figures to go back to spot duty, starting just three games a week while also serving as the go-to pinch-hitter. He's still useful in that role, but not so much this week, with Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann on tap.

No-brainers: Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, Joe Mauer, Mike Napoli, Brian McCann, Jonathan Lucroy
Advisable starts: Matt Wieters, A.J. Pierzynski, Russell Martin, Jason Castro
Shaky starts: Wilson Ramos, Wilin Rosario, Salvador Perez, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Alex Avila, J.P. Arencibia, Ryan Doumit, Evan Gattis, John Buck, A.J. Ellis
Strictly AL/NL-only: Carlos Ruiz, Nick Hundley, Josh Phegley, Devin Mesoraco, Derek Norris, Yan Gomes, Chris Stewart, Welington Castillo, Geovany Soto
Don't bother: Dioner Navarro, Hank Conger, Chris Iannetta, Tony Cruz, Erik Kratz, Rob Brantly, Tyler Flowers, Kurt Suzuki, Yadier Molina (knee), Miguel Montero (back), Mike Zunino (hand), John Jaso (head), Ryan Hanigan (wrist), Francisco Cervelli (hand), Travis d'Arnaud, Jesus Montero

First base

The few players who qualify only at DH now appear alongside the first basemen so that their owners might have some context for how to approach them this week. If you see an asterisk (*) next to a player's name, it means he's DH-only and not a legitimate first baseman.

The Twins have nothing to lose in 2013, so instead of toying around with Chris Colabello, giving him only sporadic looks in between trips back to Triple-A, they've decided to see what the minor-league masher can do. Considering he's already 29, his Triple-A numbers might just be the result of him beating up on less experienced competition, but for AL-only owners, he's worth the time of day.
Worth a second look: Adam Dunn, White Sox
With a .260 batting average, 19 home runs and .914 OPS since May 14, Dunn is clearly back on everyone's radar in Fantasy but doesn't seem like the most advisable start right now with just one home run in his last 17 games. He has shown signs of coming around lately, though, hitting safely in seven of his last eight games. He also plays seven games at home this week (where his OPS is 100 points higher than on the road), including four against the ghastly Twins rotation. Seems like a good time to get him active again.
Approach with caution: Nick Swisher, Indians
With his shoulder issue now behind him, the ever-streaky Swisher is due for a dramatic turnaround and has seemingly already begun one, batting .293 (29 for 99) with four homers and an .851 OPS in his last 26 games. But given the pitchers he'll be facing this week, activating him requires a huge leap of faith. He'll get a break with Jerome Williams at the end of the week, but he'll have to conquer Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer, Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson first.

No-brainers: Prince Fielder, Joey Votto, Paul Goldschmidt, Edwin Encarnacion, Chris Davis, Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz*, Allen Craig, Matt Carpenter, Buster Posey, Freddie Freeman, Michael Cuddyer, Eric Hosmer
Advisable starts: Mark Trumbo, Carlos Santana, Billy Butler, Anthony Rizzo, Joe Mauer, Mike Napoli, Victor Martinez, Adam Dunn, Kendrys Morales
Shaky starts: Daniel Murphy, Adam LaRoche, Brandon Belt, Nick Swisher, Yonder Alonso, Michael Morse, Adam Lind, Justin Smoak, Mitch Moreland, Justin Morneau, Logan Morrison, James Loney, Michael Young, Chris Johnson, Todd Frazier
Strictly AL/NL-only: Paul Konerko, Darin Ruf, Mark Reynolds, Chris Carter, Garrett Jones, Juan Francisco, Chris Colabello, Brett Wallace, Brandon Moss, Lyle Overbay, Ike Davis, Yuniesky Betancourt, Daniel Nava, Matt Adams, Todd Helton
Don't bother: Gaby Sanchez, Yan Gomes, John Mayberry, Travis Hafner*, Josh Satin, Matt Tuiasosopo, Mike Carp, Joey Terdoslavich, Jeff Keppinger, Jordan Pacheco, Nate Freiman, Albert Pujols (foot), Lance Berkman (back), Ryan Howard (knee), Kyle Blanks (Achilles), Kevin Youkilis (back), Lucas Duda (side), Mike Olt, Jonathan Singleton

Second base

Best Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Giants MIL4, BAL3
2. Red Sox @HOU3, @KC4
3. White Sox NYY3, MIN4
4. Royals MIN3, BOS4
5. Rangers @LAA3, @HOU3
Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said he wouldn't be surprised to see Omar Infante begin a rehab assignment over the weekend, which would give the second baseman a reasonable chance of returning at some point in Fantasy Week 19 (Aug. 5-11). He's the type of player who matters in mixed leagues only when he's at his absolute hottest, though, so the prospect of him coming back cold for a partial week isn't so enticing.

Worth a second look: Nick Franklin, Mariners
Though Franklin has battled inconsistency over the course of his rookie season, he seems to be in top form now, hitting four home runs over his last 10 games. This week, he's back home, where he has hit 50 points higher than on the road, and facing the vulnerable Blue Jays and Brewers pitching staffs. Considering he qualifies at the two thinnest positions in Fantasy, you don't have much excuse to sit him.
Approach with caution: Howie Kendrick, Angels
After getting off to the best start of his career, Kendrick was due for a course correction, and it has come in the form of a .233 (10 for 43) batting average (with zero extra-base hits) in his last 11 games. His season percentages are still among the best of his career, so he may still have more correcting to do. With matchups against Yu Darvish, Scott Kazmir, Corey Kluber and Justin Masterson, he's a candidate to sit this week if you have viable alternatives

No-brainers: Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Jason Kipnis, Matt Carpenter, Chase Utley, Brandon Phillips, Ben Zobrist
Advisable starts: Jose Altuve, Daniel Murphy, Nick Franklin, Neil Walker, Marco Scutaro, Brad Miller, Dan Uggla, Martin Prado, Jed Lowrie
Shaky starts: Howie Kendrick, Brett Lawrie, Aaron Hill, Anthony Rendon, Rickie Weeks, Jedd Gyorko, Brian Dozier
Strictly AL/NL-only: Gordon Beckham, Brian Roberts, Darwin Barney, Omar Infante (shin), Mark Ellis, DJ LeMahieu, Yuniesky Betancourt, Jurickson Profar, Dustin Ackley, Kelly Johnson, Donovan Solano, Brock Holt, Maicer Izturis, Eric Sogard, Emilio Bonifacio, Alexi Amarista, Ryan Raburn
Don't bother: Chris Nelson, Jordy Mercer, Omar Quintanilla, Mike Aviles, Daniel Descalso, Jeff Keppinger, Logan Forsythe, Chris Getz (knee), Kolten Wong, Jemile Weeks, Danny Espinosa, Josh Rutledge, Derek Dietrich

Third base

Though the Phillies' promotion of Cody Asche Tuesday is noteworthy in Fantasy, what the Red Sox ultimately decide to do at third base is of greater interest to mixed-league owners. Benchwarmer type Brock Holt gets the nod for now, but when the Red Sox decide they want more offense at the position, they'll turn to either Will Middlebrooks or Xander Bogaerts. Middlebrooks has some power potential but has struggled in his previous opportunities this year. Bogaerts is about as high-end as prospects get and figures to be a game-changer for years to come. To me, he's the more exciting stash.
Worth a second look: Mike Moustakas, Royals
Moustakas earns this designation for a second straight week. He's been a .300 hitter for about six weeks now, and with four homers in his last 65 at-bats, his power seems to have returned as well. At long last, the Royals seem to have righted the wrongs done by former hitting coach Jack Maloof. With three games against the Twins pitching staff in a seven-game week, Moustakas deserves your trust.
Approach with caution: Chase Headley, Padres
Like Moustakas, Headley's batting average has been trending up the last few weeks, but unlike Moustakas, he's still lacking the home runs Fantasy owners expect from him. In a five-game week, a high batting average likely won't cut it in mixed leagues, and considering some of his matchups in those games -- specifically, Bronson Arroyo, Tony Cingrani and Mike Leake -- he's no certainty for a high batting average anyway.

No-brainers: Edwin Encarnacion, David Wright, Adrian Beltre, Hanley Ramirez, Matt Carpenter, Kyle Seager, Evan Longoria
Advisable starts: Miguel Cabrera (abdominal), Ryan Zimmerman, Pedro Alvarez, Josh Donaldson, Manny Machado, Pablo Sandoval, Mike Moustakas, Martin Prado
Shaky starts: Brett Lawrie, Chase Headley, Anthony Rendon, Nolan Arenado, David Freese, Michael Young, Chris Johnson, Jedd Gyorko, Todd Frazier
Strictly AL/NL-only: Cody Asche, Trevor Plouffe, Lonnie Chisenhall, Mark Reynolds, Juan Francisco, Brett Wallace, Yuniesky Betancourt, Jurickson Profar, Luis Valbuena, Matt Dominguez, Alberto Callaspo, Kelly Johnson, Eric Chavez, Conor Gillaspie, Jose Iglesias, Brock Holt, Maicer Izturis, Adeiny Hechavarria, Alexi Amarista
Don't bother: Mike Aviles, Chris Nelson, Daniel Descalso, Jeff Keppinger, Placido Polanco, Jordan Pacheco, Aramis Ramirez (knee), Kevin Youkilis (back), Alex Rodriguez (hip), Wilson Betemit (knee), Will Middlebrooks, Nick Castellanos

Shortstop

Worst Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Cubs @PHI3, @STL3
2. Rockies @NYM3, PIT3
3. Yankees @CHW3, DET3
4. Padres BAL2, @CIN3
5. Indians DET4, LAA3
The Tigers' acquisition of Jose Iglesias at the trade deadline is notable in Fantasy for a couple reasons. Not only does it show they think Jhonny Peralta will be suspended for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, but it also suggests he won't appeal that suspension. Maybe the evidence against these players is so overwhelming that, like Ryan Braun, they'll all forego an appeal to avoid stiffer penalties. With those suspensions expected to come any day now, starting Peralta, not to mention Everth Cabrera or even outfielder Nelson Cruz, is a definite risk this week.
Worth a second look: Marco Scutaro, Giants
The failures of the Giants offense as a whole have severely limited Scutaro's productivity in Fantasy, making him only the 14th-best shortstop in Head-to-Head leagues despite a .315 batting average. He's clearly at his best right now, though, batting .455 (10 for 22) over his last six games, and with the Giants scheduled to face the bottom-feeder Brewers rotation in four of their seven games this week, he should get a little help from his teammates for once.
Approach with caution: Junior Lake, Cubs
Lake is clearly the hot hand at shortstop right now, so you could certainly make a case to start him this week, especially if you normally rely on Everth Cabrera or Jhonny Peralta at the position. But like Zoilo Almonte's first couple weeks in the big leagues, what Lake is doing right now just doesn't jibe with his minor-league track record or pedigree. I worry it might come to an end this week, given the Cubs' matchups. They're facing Kyle Kendrick, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Lance Lynn, Adam Wainwright and Joe Kelly.

No-brainers: Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Troy Tulowitzki, Jean Segura, Ian Desmond, Ben Zobrist, Elvis Andrus
Advisable starts: Nick Franklin, Asdrubal Cabrera, Starlin Castro, J.J. Hardy, Marco Scutaro, Brad Miller, Andrelton Simmons, Jed Lowrie
Shaky starts: Alexei Ramirez, Junior Lake, Jimmy Rollins, Alcides Escobar, Everth Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta, Erick Aybar, Brian Dozier, Derek Jeter
Strictly AL/NL-only: Stephen Drew, Yunel Escobar, Zack Cozart, Jonathan Villar, Didi Gregorius, Brandon Crawford, Jurickson Profar, Maicer Izturis, Adeiny Hechavarria, Eric Sogard
Don't bother: Jordy Mercer, Eduardo Nunez, Pete Kozma, Omar Quintanilla, Mike Aviles, Daniel Descalso, Pedro Florimon, Xander Bogaerts, Josh Rutledge, Derek Dietrich, Danny Espinosa, Dee Gordon, Billy Hamilton

Outfield

Carlos Gonzalez left Wednesday's game with a sprained right middle finger -- an injury that has had him in and out of the lineup for about a week now -- but is defiant in his refusal to go on the DL, saying a couple weeks off won't make a difference. The trainer seems to support his decision, which means you shouldn't be too concerned about him going on the DL. You shouldn't even be concerned about his performance with the injury considering he went 5 for 5 Monday. But you should be concerned with just how often the injury will keep him out of the lineup. If he sits even one of the Rockies' three games over the weekend, he's less than a must-start this week.
Worth a second look: Austin Jackson, Tigers and Raul Ibanez, Mariners
With a .266 batting average, six homers and six steals on the year, Jackson's performance has been lackluster, to put it mildly, yet in Head-to-Head leagues, the production is still there. For the year, he's averaging more Fantasy points per game than Justin Upton, among others. All his peripheral numbers make him a steady start from week to week, and he should deliver more than his usual allotment this week with matchups against Ubaldo Jimenez, Zach McAllister, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova. Ibanez has gone ice cold since the All-Star break, which was bound to happen given how hot he was before it. But this week, the Mariners have six home games against six mostly vulnerable righties, including R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, Todd Redmond, Tyler Thornburg and Wily Peralta. Two-thirds of his home runs have come against righties, which isn't a surprise, but two-thirds have come at home, which kind of is. Clearly, the matchups favor a turnaround for Ibanez this week. Knowing how much damage he can do in a short period of time, he's worth a roll of the dice.
Approach with caution: Michael Bourn, Indians and Curtis Granderson, Yankees
Bourn's dramatic decline in steals this year -- he's on pace for only 20 -- is one of the more under-discussed topics in Fantasy. He has actually been fairly productive since the All-Star break, but more because of home runs and RBI than contributions he might actually be able to sustain. As a base-stealer during that stretch, he's 0 for 2. I'm guessing the RBI opportunities dry up in a week he's facing the best the Tigers and Angels have to offer. Granderson is supposed to come off the DL Friday after missing virtually all of this season with a fractured right forearm, followed by a fractured left pinkie, but unless he puts on a show over the weekend, you should resist rushing him back into your lineup. He opens Week 19 (Aug. 5-11) against three left-handers -- Jose Quintana, Chris Sale and Hector Santiago -- after hitting only .218 against lefties last season, and the righties he's facing -- Rick Porcello, Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander -- are no slouch either. Not a good way to shake off the rust.

No-brainers: Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Jose Bautista, Jacoby Ellsbury, Chris Davis, Yasiel Puig, Giancarlo Stanton, Adam Jones, Allen Craig, Matt Carpenter, Jay Bruce, Carlos Gomez, Alex Rios, Matt Holliday, Justin Upton, Michael Cuddyer, Hunter Pence, Starling Marte, Wil Myers
Advisable starts: Carlos Gonzalez (finger), Carlos Beltran, Mark Trumbo, Shin-Soo Choo (ankle), Bryce Harper (hip), Alex Gordon, Desmond Jennings, Ben Zobrist, Jayson Werth, Josh Hamilton, Jason Heyward, Yoenis Cespedes, Austin Jackson, Torii Hunter, Alejandro De Aza, Norichika Aoki, Nick Markakis, Raul Ibanez, Brett Gardner, Dexter Fowler, Martin Prado
Shaky starts: Domonic Brown (concussion), Nelson Cruz, Shane Victorino, Colby Rasmus, Nick Swisher, Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd, Curtis Granderson (hand), Michael Brantley, Coco Crisp, Michael Bourn, Nate McLouth, Adam Eaton, Michael Morse, Andre Ethier, Carl Crawford, Evan Gattis, Eric Young, Carlos Quentin (knee), Denard Span, Melky Cabrera, Ichiro Suzuki, Logan Morrison, Christian Yelich, Leonys Martin, B.J. Upton (adductor), Gerardo Parra, Josh Reddick (headache), Ryan Doumit, Nate Schierholtz, Junior Lake
Strictly AL/NL-only: Michael Saunders, Dayan Viciedo, David DeJesus, Darin Ruf, Oswaldo Arcia, Chris Carter, Garrett Jones, Drew Stubbs, Jon Jay, Luke Scott, David Murphy, Brandon Moss, J.B. Shuck, Jake Marisnick, Kelly Johnson, Will Venable, Henry Urrutia, Daniel Nava, Lorenzo Cain, Seth Smith, Cody Ross, Caleb Gindl, Matt Joyce, David Lough, John Mayberry, Delmon Young, A.J. Pollock, Dustin Ackley, Rajai Davis, Gregor Blanco, Justin Ruggiano, Jason Kubel, Jose Tabata, Alexi Amarista, Emilio Bonifacio, Justin Maxwell, Jonny Gomes, Franklin Gutierrez (hamstring), Andy Dirks, Chris Denorfia, Ryan Raburn, Chris Young
Don't bother: Vernon Wells, Jeff Francoeur, Brandon Barnes, Kole Calhoun, Mike Aviles, Jarrod Dyson, Mike Carp, Juan Pierre, Matt Kemp (ankle), Angel Pagan (hamstring), Ben Revere (foot), Lucas Duda (side), Josh Willingham (knee), Zoilo Almonte (ankle), Peter Bourjos (wrist), Kyle Blanks (Achilles), Ryan Ludwick (shoulder), J.D. Martinez (wrist), Cameron Maybin (knee), Darin Mastroianni (ankle), Oscar Taveras, George Springer, Jackie Bradley, Aaron Hicks, Avisail Garcia, Anthony Gose

The Hit Parade is your guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming scoring period. Looking at matchups for the week ahead and considering other factors such as streaks, injuries and lineup changes, we sort all Fantasy-relevant hitters at each position into five categories: "no-brainers," "advisable starts," "shaky starts," "strictly AL/NL-only" and "don't bother."

These designations rate each player's Fantasy value for the current week only and have no bearing on his value for the season as a whole. Injuries are shown in parentheses.

Any players not appearing on these lists are presumed to be below "don't bother" status and are obvious sits in Fantasy.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Scott White at @CBSScottWhite . You can also e-mail us at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Orioles' Chris Davis calls using Adderall in 2013 'a moment of weakness'
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11:56 am ET) Orioles first baseman Chris Davis told reporters Saturday he was denied an exemption for Adderall in 2013 but he took it anyway.

"It was a moment of weakness," Davis said. He was diagnosed with ADD in 2008 and it isn't a performance enhancer for someone who needs it for medical reasons, according to Davis.

Davis has one game remaining on his 25-game suspension for amphetamines, which he test posted for in September last year. He finished with a .196 batting average with 26 home runs and 72 RBI.


Report: David Aardsma to throw bullpen next week for teams
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(10:07 am ET) Free-agent pitcher David Aardsma will throw a bullpen session for interested teams next week, according to his agent, Jamie Murphy.

"(Aardsma) is looking to showcase added velocity after a change in mechanics and an extremely intense offseason workout regimen," Murphy told FoxSports.com senior baseball writer Ken Rosenthal.

Aardsma missed the entire 2014 season after suffering a torn adductor muscle. He was last with the Mets in 2013 when he posted a 2-2 record with a 4.31 ERA and 36 strikeouts.


Orioles' Jonathan Schoop trying to cut weight for upcoming season
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(9:37 am ET) Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop wants to raise the level of his game for the 2015 season. The 22-year-old is hoping to be more mentally and physically prepared for the grind of the 162-game season.

"My weight is lower than last year. I want to have more range and be faster. Trying to steal some more bases and be faster for the team on the bases to help put more pressure on the defense." Schoop said. "I learned a lot from my teammates. They helped me a lot. One year of experience. I'm better than last year. Mentally and physically, everything. My ups and downs helped me a lot to know myself better too."

Schoop, who hit .209 with 16 home runs and 45 RBI in 2014, is also taking more advice from his teammates about his approach at the plate.

"Be patient. Don't chase too many pitches. Let them throw strikes and swing at strikes. Just have to work on getting better pitches to hit. See how they pitch you. If I can do that, I'll be better," he said. "I worked on everything (this winter). I want to get faster. You have to work on all of it, speed, defense. I want to be a better player than last year."


Twins' Byron Buxton named No. 1 prospect by MLB.com
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:00 am ET) Twins outfielder Byron Buxton was named the top prospect in baseball by MLB.com Friday.

Buxton played just 31 games in 2014 due to wrist and concussion issues and finished with a .240/.313/.405 line along with four home runs, 16 RBI and six stolen bases in 121 at-bats with high Class A Fort Myers. He also went 0 for 3 at the Double-A level. Buxton is making his second straight appearance atop MLB.com's top prospect list.

The rest of MLB.com's top-five prospects (in order) are Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, Astros shotstop Carlos Correa, Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor and Cubs shortstop Addison Russell. None of the quartet appeared in the top five of last year's MLB.com prospect list, though all four cracked the top 12.


Red Sox designate Drake Britton for assignment
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) The Red Sox designated pitcher Drake Britton for assignment Friday, clearing a roster spot for pitcher Alexi Ogando.

Britton appeared in seven games with the Red Sox in 2014, tossing 6 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out four batters and walking two. He posted a 5.86 ERA and 37:38 K:BB ratio in 58 1/3 innings with Triple-A Pawtucket.


Peter Moylan 'doing fantastic' in return from Tommy John
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) Free-agent pitcher Peter Moylan indicated Friday that he's "doing fantastic" in his return from his second Tommy John surgery, the Houston Chronicle reports.

"I’m doing fantastic, mate. Dropped 35 pounds," Moylan said. “My goal is to be 100 percent by end of spring. Ball is coming out great, though. Probably have to throw for some teams right around the start of spring to gauge interest, but there have already been some nibbles, which is encouraging."

Moylan underwent the procedure last March after receiving a non-roster invitation from the Astros. He's throwing from about 70 percent strength off a mound and in the process of deciding whether to sign a a deal in the near future or after the season begins. He hopes to resume pitching in the big leagues by midseason at the earliest.

Moylan has made 309 appearances since debuting in 2006, compiling a 21-9 record, 2.80 ERA and 213:121 K:BB ratio in 276 innings.


Braves' Shelby Miller: Sinker is 'going to take me to the next level'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) Braves starting pitcher Shelby Miller had an up-and-down season with the Cardinals in 2014. He began the season by going 6-2 with a 2.79 ERA before going 2-7 with a 5.11 ERA over his next 16 appearances (15 starts).

Miller, however, was able to finish the season on a high note, going 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA and .190 opponents' batting average over his final seven starts. Miller attributes his success down the stretch to incorporating a sinker into his repertoire, per FOX Sports South.

"I said I'm going to throw some of these, and we'll see where it's at," Miller said of a conversation he had with catcher A.J. Pierzynski before an Aug. 23 start against the Phillies. "It felt good so we just went with it. I started throwing it literally within three days. It's a good pitch that I picked up quick.

"I still need a lot of work with it. I need a lot of work with all my pitches. There's all sorts of ways to get better. But I think that's definitely a pitch that will help me be more efficient and take me deeper into games. That's [the sinker] going to be a huge pitch for me this year that's ultimately going to take me to the next level. Not only that but kind of mixing it all together, becoming more of a complete pitcher more than a thrower."

Miller added he will also begin to work more on his changeup, which he threw just 2.2 percent of the time in 2014, per FanGraphs.com.

"I know [Braves pitching coach] Roger [McDowell] has been known for changeups," Miller said. "A lot of great pitchers have come through this organization, [and] that's a pitch I would love to pick up. I want to be able to throw it more consistently, [and] have a little bit more confidence in it."


Scott Baker agrees to minor-league deal with Yankees
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) The Yankees agreed to a minor-league deal with pitcher Scott Baker, according to CBSSports.com Baseball Insider Jon Heyman. If Baker makes the major-league roster, he will be paid $1.5 million.

Baker made 25 appearances (eight starts) for the Rangers in 2014, going 3-4 with a 5.47 ERA. He had 55 strikeouts in 80 2/3 innings.


Rockies designate Jayson Aquino for assignment
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) After completing a two-team trade Friday, the Rockies decided to designate Jayson Aquino for assignment, the team announced.

Aquino spent 2014 bouncing around the minor league, pitching in 18 games with a 5.13 ERA in 107 innings pitched. He went 5-10 with 83 strikeouts in stints with both Double-A Tulsa and Class A Modesto.


Report: Red Sox express willingness to trade Edward Mujica
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) The Red Sox have expressed a willingness to trade reliever Edward Mujica, a source told FOX Sports. The right-handed reliever is set to make $4.75 million in 2015.

Mujica, who was an All-Star with St. Louis in 2013, went 2-4 with a 3.90 ERA and eight saves in his first season with Boston in 2014.


 
 
 
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