Minnesota Twins: We have to start with the end…All-Star Closer Joe Nathan already had Tommy John surgery and is out this year. If you are in a keeper league, you may want to take a chance on rostering him on your bench with the hope that he’ll be back next year where he left off…Top 3 dominant closers in the league! That’s a big question mark though. Jon Rauch is the guy tabbed to be the closer to start the season. Journey man relief pitcher Clay Condrey has a hurt shoulder but should not land on the DL. Backup catcher Jose Morales to All-World Joe Mauer is on the DL and will resume his backup position when he comes back possibly at the end of April. Better left off your roster unless you’re in the deepest of leagues and they count bench time.
Chicago White Sox: Backup catcher Ramon Castro is hurting but not on the DL and will be back in action in a few weeks from a heel injury. Other than an occasional homer in limited duty, you’re probably not needing him anyway.
Detroit Tigers: Right handed relief pitcher Zach Miner and Lefty reliever Bobby Seay both are on the DL. Miner has tendinitis in his pitching elbow and is out until at least late April. Seay has a shoulder issue and will be sidelined for six weeks or so. Last year Seay had 6 vulture wins and Miner had 7, both with ERA’s in the 4’s. Better left for the scrap heap as you can almost always find a starter in the free agent pool that will give you at least these numbers if not better. Outfielder Carlos Guillen is dealing with a hamstring issue and is expected to be ready for the regular season. He was a lot more useful when he was a shortstop.
Cleveland Indians: Oft-injured closer Kerry Wood is out until at least late April with a strained muscle below his right shoulder. Wood states…”I’ll be ready sooner rather than later.” I don’t believe him or expect him to be healthy at all this year as he’ll have a setback. Youngster Chris Perez is taking over the closing duties while Wood is out. First Basemen Russell Branyan will start the season on the DL with a herniated disk in his back. I would not want to invest anything but a last round pick or $1 bid on Branyan. Former top prospect Anthony Reyes is on the 60 day DL with an elbow injury and will be out until July.
Kansas City Royals: Disappointing 3B Alex Gordon will start the year on the DL with a broken thumb and likely will be back mid-late April. Is this the year he finally fulfills his potential? Other third basemen Josh Fields will also start the season on the DL with a hip injury…23 homers in his rookie season of 2007 seems light years away from here. Pickup Alberto Callaspo as his batting average and run production I believe will be good…at least until he’s traded away to a contender at the deadline. Former first round pick Luke Hochevar took a ball off his ankle the other day but looks prepared to start the season in the rotation. Gil Meche is expected to be placed on the DL with shoulder tightness but the Royals are looking at April 11th as his return. I’m skeptical!
There you go! AL West up next!
P. Kelley - A.L. Maharishi
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