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Joe Nathan, Minnesota Twins
Matt Capps has pitched well, particularly in June, while Nathan goes through the ups and downs of recovery from Tommy John surgery. The plan all along has been to reinstall Nathan in the role once he demonstrates that he's in - or close to - pre-surgery form. The 36-year-old vet must convince Ron Gardenhire that his fastball is again effective, and that he can avoid prolonged struggles with location.
Nathan a stealth grab
On Tuesday, in his second appearance since returning from the DL for forearm issues considered normal for TJS patients, Nathan struck out two Los Angeles Dodgers in a perfect frame. The team's official site reported that his fastball averaged 93.2 mph, according to Pitch F/X data - a notable upgrade, approaching 2009 level. Instead of resorting to off-speed stuff frequently, Nathan trusted his fastball for most of the frame and wiped out the side.
The right-hander still has some distance to make up before rumblings about his old job begin, but this is very encouraging. There have been suggestions that Capps could be trade bait, too, depending on where the Twins sit as the deadline approaches. How reasonable is that tidbit? We'll see, but, Nathan is on the right track, and it's easier to stash him now than fight crowds later.
Shallow mixed: Acquire
Deep mixed: Acquire
Rich Harden, Oakland Athletics
The A's will activate Harden (shoulder inflammation) from the disabled list so that he can start on Friday in place of Graham Godfrey. That he's deemed healthy enough to pitch, let alone start, has no doubt stunned you to the point that you're unable to process what this means in your fantasy league.
Oakland has received some positive reports on the right-hander thus far, particularly about his velocity (it was around 94 mph for one of his outings, at least). In two rehab starts, he pitched a combined 7 2/3 innings and allowed three hits (one a homer), two walks and three runs while fanning 12. It's been awhile since we've heard about such a productive appearance from Harden at all.
You're going to hear a lot more jokes about Harden's fragility. Good - that keeps the sale price low. He'll be limited to about 90 pitches in this first one, and he faces the fairly strong Arizona Diamondbacks, so it's not a bad idea to let him ferment on your fantasy pine this week. The odds that he'll contribute to your roto run (or even makes it out of that start alive) aren't great, but who cares, if you don't risk much on the possibility that he does.
Shallow mixed: Watch
Deep mixed: Acquire
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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