PLAYING TIME: Kershaw may miss rest of season

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Kershaw to miss at least one start, Lilly will not pitch again this season

The Los Angeles Dodgers were dealt some unfortunate news in the midst of their four-game series with STL. Clayton Kershaw (LHP, LA) will miss his scheduled September 16th start, and the team said he may need season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip. Kershaw missed his September 9 start due to a hip pointer, but was able to start two days later and pitched seven shutout innings. Kershaw will visit a hip specialist early next week to determine whether surgery is required.

Kershaw has been exceptional once again in 2012, reeling off PQS-DOMs in 15 of his last 16 starts, and holding a BPV value of 124. This will be the third starting pitcher the Dodgers have lost for the season, with Kershaw following Chad Billingsley (RHP, LA) and Ted Lilly (LHP, LA). The Kershaw news came just on the heels of news that Ted Lilly has been shut down for the rest of 2012. Lilly has not pitched since May 23rd, but his late-August expected return kept getting pushed back, and he will not pitch again this season.

Rookie Stephen Fife (RHP, LA) will start in Kershaw's place September 16, making his fourth MLB start. As noted by BaseballHQ.com analyst Thomas Kephart here, Fife has shown very poor skills in his first three starts.

LA has a mess on its hands regarding its rotation if Kershaw is out for the season. The only other current non-rotation member on the roster (besides Fife) with a major league start under his belt is Jamey Wright (RHP, LA), but that was all the way back in 2007. The Dodgers could call up Michael Antonini (LHP, LA), who was called up earlier this season, but did not see any game action. Antonini has been a starter for most of his minor-league career, but only projects as a #5 starter who lacks MLB experience.

NL short takes

Ben Sheets (RHP, ATL) was activated from the 15-Day DL on September 15th and appears to be headed to the bullpen, according to several media outlets. When Sheets went on the DL, ATL was using a six-man rotation, but reports are that the Braves will keep a five-man corps. If Sheets were to start, Tommy Hanson (RHP, ATL), would be the primary candidate to relinquish a spot given his recent struggles (see September 4th Facts/Flukes), but how Sheets will be used for the remainder of the season is still developing...

Brian McCann (C, ATL) left the September 15th game due to tendinitis in his right hamstring. He is listed as day-to-day. If McCann misses time, David Ross will be the PT beneficiary. Ross has been a backup most of his career, amassing only 300 AB once since 2002. He has shown decent pop in 2012 (7 HR in 146 AB), but underlying skills (.242 xBA, 66% ct%, 0.37 Eye) show little fantasy value worth rostering even if he gains significant PT...

Kenley Jansen has been given the OK to rejoin the Dodgers on September 18th, after missing time to take blood-thinning medication to help with an irregular heartbeat. Jansen last pitched August 27th, and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he will not be thrown back into closer duties immediately. Mattingly also stated Brandon League (RHP, LA) would continue to receive save opportunities until Jansen has re-acclimated himself to high leverage situations. League has pitched well of late (9.2 Dom, 3.09 xERA last 31 days) despite Ctl issues (5.2), and it appears he will have the opportunity to pick up another save or two in the short term...

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Betemit injures wrist, likely out for season

Less than a week after losing Nick Markakis (OF, BAL) for the season, BAL suffered another significant playoff-chase setback.  Wilson Betemit (3B/DH, BAL) re-injured his right wrist during batting practice on September 14th, and is most likely done for the season. Betemit missed time in August due to the same wrist. He will be looked at by a hand specialist in Florida on Monday, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter said, "I don't like our prospects of getting him back."

Betemit lost the starting 3B job to Manny Machado (3B, BAL) in early August, who interestingly enough has started 33 consecutive games at 3B since getting called up. As outlined in September 10 PTT, what Betemit lacks in BA he makes up for in power (121 PX) and versatility. When healthy, Betemit can play 1B, DH, 3B, and even some OF (started five games in LF this season).

Neither reserve OF Xavier Avery (OF, BAL) or Endy Chavez (OF, BAL) has made a start since Markakis went down a week ago, but their chances for PT have seemingly improved with yet another key cog in the lineup lost to injury. BaseballHQ.com analyst Kristopher Olson profiled their skill set and PT opportunities in the aforementioned September 10 PTT. It would appear though, that Chris Davis (DH, BAL), and Lew Ford (OF, BAL) will split the primary RF/DH duties the final two and a half weeks of the 2012 season.

Despite a dreadful ct % (66%) and batting Eye (0.19) over the last month, Davis has shown nice power (8 HR/234 PX) and BA (.291). This is due to hr/f well above league average (33%) during that span. Davis should remain a good source of power for fantasy owners, as his hr/f has returned to the 20% range of his 2008-2009 seasons. An odd combination of career averages for ct % (< 70%), h% ( >33%), and hr/f ( >20%), show that  if he makes contact, the ball has a good chance of leaving the yard. Davis could be a nice source of HR and BA down the stretch.

AL short take

Mike Napoli (C, TEX) returned from the DL on September 15th, and will provide some sorely needed depth for a TEX club hit hard by injuries recently. Napoli has struggled to do much besides hit 17 HR in 2012, but any semblance of a return to 2011 form should secure significant PT behind the plate. His replacement since August 10th has been Geovany Soto, who has a BPV of 8 over the last month supported by a .197 XBA, 70% ct% and 0% hr/f. Napoli's PT opportunities are not limited to C however, as he can spell Mitch Moreland (1B, TEX) at first and could DH when needed...


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.