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The Fantasy Report: Beltran on top

Fantasy News & Notes

* Jeff Kent will be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Monday after having left oblique pain. He’s not 100 percent yet, but he looks like he’s eager to give it a try. Kent is expected to play first base until Nomar Garciaparra returns.

* Bartolo Colon, has right biceps tendonitis, also has a partial rotator cuff tear on an exam on Friday and will most likely miss the rest of the season. Colon’s recent elbow problems were the result of his shoulder, which has plagued him since last year. Instead of undergoing surgery, Colón will choose rehab and could have a comeback in September. However, Colón will not be 100 percent when he returns. “I have not received any formal direction from the medical department yet, but we will talk and they will have an evaluation,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “I know those things take some time. I would assume it will be long. And with about seven weeks left in the season, it seems doubtful that he will return. It would be a difficult task for him to go back and pitch this season.”

* Justin Verlander has “fatigue” in his right arm and missed Sunday’s start. Has Verlander hit a wall? Well, it’s that time of year when rookie pitchers start to get into trouble. Verlander, who became the league’s first 14-game winner earlier in the week, has already pitched five more innings (135 1-3) than in all of last year. There’s a chance the Verlander will skip a few more times before the end of the season, and it’s something Fantasy owners should be aware of.

* Rafael Furcal has extended his hitting streak to 13 games with one bunt for one hit on Sunday, then stole second place. Furcal has been red hot lately. Something the Dodgers have been waiting for a while.

* John Smoltz remains undefeated in his last 10 starts. It’s too bad the Atlanta Braves have struggled most of the year. Smoltz remains a must-start in all fantasy leagues.

Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Ben Sheets left Saturday’s start after one tackle due to a strain on a pectoral muscle. Is this really a surprise to fantasy owners? Sheets who started the year on the distribution list are likely to have a return trip before the weeks are out.

* I’ve been hitting Ken Griffey Jr. for the past few weeks due to his lack of hitting since the All-Star break. However, Griffey is starting to warm up and, as long as he’s healthy, he’s a viable option in the outfield.

* Joe Maddon, manager of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, said Scott Kazmir will pitch again on Friday. 11 against the Oakland Athletics. Kazmir entered the 15-day disabled list with left shoulder swelling retroactive to July 24.

* Francisco Liriano, who was bounced off a start Wednesday with a swollen forearm muscle, is scheduled to make his next start Monday in Detroit. This makes Liriano a 2-starter pitcher this week, and he should be ready to pitch in a great game against the Tigers.

* Jim Thome, who has been struggling lately and has been battling back pain, was 2-3 on Sunday and looks like he’s going to be fine. He’s a guy you’ll want to keep a close eye on this week.

* José Contreras (10-4) has lost his fourth game in his last five starts. His next start is against the Detroit Tigers. With this difficult start, I looked to seat Contreras.

* Derek Jeter has 3 HRs in his last 8 games. Finally, DJ is starting to give his owners some power.

* Alfonso Sorinano hit his eighth starting HR of the season to lead the majors.

* Francisco Cordero is now the closer in Milwaukee.


weekly planner-11

who shot who did not

Ryan Howard, leader of the National League in HR, is my pick for this week’s Who’s Hot award. Howard hit. 433 with 4 HRs, 14 RBIs and 5 runs in the last 7 days. It wasn’t like Howard was doing it against the bottom of the National League. Howard took his baton of power and hit the Florida Marlins, the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Mets. Howard, unlike Bobby Abreu, the winner of last year’s human resources contest, has not slumped this year. Howard is a passionate gamer and has unlimited potential. It’s a great start in 1B.

Fausto Carmona has lost his last four appearances and will likely be eliminated from Cleveland’s closer role. While the Cleveland Indians certainly aren’t going anywhere this season, they can’t afford to keep hitting these kids’ confidence. Giving up match-winning HR was Carmona’s theme this week. Earlier in the week, Carmona gave up the game winners against David Ortiz of the Boston RedSox, who did what Ortiz does best, hit a game-winning HR. Then on Saturday, Carmona yields a game winning two HR races to Iván Rodríguez. Cleveland needs to make a change to the closer role, and Carmona will likely be removed from that role. If you need to make adjustments to your team, do it now, and bench or even let go of Carmona.





JD Drew has favorable matchups this week against the Colorado Rockies and the San Francisco Giants. When Drew takes on the startem site of the Colorado Rockies this week, the 3 starters he faces (Kim, Francis and Jennings), Drew is hitting .452 against them.

Mark Loretta is hitting .333 (19-57) in his last 12 games with 9 runs. He will face the Kansas City Royals on the road and then at home against the Baltimore Orioles. The Royals have one of the worst pitching teams in the majors, while Baltimore is right behind the Royals. Loretta will set the table and hopes to have a great week.

Michael Barrett in his last 11 games has 3 HRs, 6 RBIs and a BA of .302 (13-43). Barrett is on the road this week in Milwaukee and then Colorado, both great matchups for Barrett. Barrett is a must-start this week.

Brandon Phillips has been red hot for the past 2 weeks. At .366 (15-41), 3 HR, 5 RBI and 6 runs, Phillips is beginning to regain his early season punch. An excellent option at 2B this week.

Felipe López is becoming a household name in SS. Not only has Lopez hit for power this year, but with his 30 SBs and 70 runs scored this year, Lopez ranks right there with Jose Reyes and Derek Jeter. This week, Lopez faces the Florida Marlins and the New York Mets, two teams he has fought against. This is Lopez’s statement week, and we hope he has two great series.

Chone Figgins, the Los Angeles Angels’ table setter has been anything but that for the past 2 weeks. Figgins is hitting just 184 (9-49), with 5 runs in his last 12 games. Figgins will be on the road this week and will face the Cleveland Indians and the New York Yankees. Figgins, who can play in various positions, should find a comfortable spot on his bench.

Brian Giles has been a huge disappointment this year for Fantasy Owners. It won’t be any easier for him this week either. Giles is out on the road this week to face the New York Mets and the Houston Astros. In most leagues, you can find Giles on the resignation wire, a place where he belongs. If you have it on your list, leave it on the bench, or better yet, put it where it belongs, on the resignation wire.

Aubrey Huff finally got his first RBI with the Astro on Saturday night. Huff has had problems since he came from the Devil Rays. Marbling Huff, at some point should come out of his slump, it just won’t be this week. Huff faces the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres this week, although both series are at home for Huff, until Huff starts to blow up, keep it reserved.

Richie Sexson, despite his .221 BA, is still on track to hit 35 HRs and 110 RBIs. Most Fantasy owners are frustrated with Sexson’s performance this year despite its HR power. Over the past 2 weeks, Sexson has hit .196 (9-46), with 5 of those hits being HR. If you are lacking in human resources, you have to start with Sexson, because you just don’t know when you will eliminate one. My thinking, Sexson is a fancy trick, and I would try to find a better option if possible.

Pedro Feliz has been struggling a lot over the last few weeks. His BA 167 (7-42) in his last 11 games is an indication of how bad Feliz has been. Feliz will be touring this week in Arizona and Los Angeles, two teams he has had only mild success against. Put Feliz on the bench this week, you’ll thank me later.

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