With all their luck avoiding injuries last year, the Detroit Tigers had to
figure something would give this year, although they probably weren't expecting
that this soon. According to ESPNews, Tigers starting pitcher Kenny Rogers
(shoulder) underwent surgery Friday, March 30, to remove a blood clot from his
left shoulder and repair arteries in the area. The 42-year-old pitcher
will likely be kept from throwing for six-to-eight weeks and is expected to
be back in July at the earliest.
That will leave the Tigers with a hole in their starting rotation, which was one of the biggest surprises last year. Rogers was brought in to provide some experience before 2006 and that he did, posting a 17-8 record with a 3.84 ERA. Look for the team to use relief pitcher Chad Durbin to replace him, at least for the first couple starts. Manager Jim Leyland stated he prefers calling someone up from the minors for spot starts; however, this situation is different because the season has yet to start and Durbin has already been stretched out as a starter. Durbin, however, is no sure thing. In 78 career games he has a 17-30 record with a 6.14 ERA. It should be noted though, that the majority of those starts came with the Kansas City Royals.
If Durbin doesn't throw well, the next in line could be starting pitcher Zach Miner, currently with the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens. Miner threw in 27 games (16 starts) for the Tigers last year, going 7-6 with a 4.84 ERA. He also had one complete game.
The big question for you (unless you are a Tigers fan) should be how to replace to Rogers in your fantasy rotation. Rogers had likely been drafted in the late rounds of your fantasy draft so there is a decent chance this won't even affect you. However, if you have him, there are some good options to replace him. One would be Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jeff Francis. He went 13-11 with a 4.16 ERA last year. He also had 117 strikeouts, which would actually be a better return than Rogers would give you. And don't be scared that he plays in the hitter's paradise known as Coors Field. He had a better record at home (8-4) than he did away (5-7) and his ERA was comparable (4.30 at home to 4.05 on the road). He should be available in most leagues.
If you are looking for American League options, Texas Rangers starting pitcher Kevin Millwood would be a decent option. He went 16-12 with a 4.52 ERA and 157 strikeouts last year. Also consider Baltimore Orioles starting pitchers Daniel Cabrera and Adam Loewen. Both have great potential although they have yet to put it together at the major-league level on a consistent basis. Cabrera went 9-10 last year with a 4.74 ERA and 157 strikeouts in just 148 innings pitched. He also had two complete games. Loewen struggled a bit more, going 6-6 with a 5.37 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 112 1/3 innings. Both are a bit riskier picks than Francis or Millwood, but their potential should be higher. Finally, one player to keep an eye on would be Kansas City Royals starter Zack Greinke. He had a great spring and is the team's No. 3 starter. Greinke has great stuff, as he can touch the mid-90s as well as the low 60s with his changeup.
However you approach it, Rogers wasn't a fantasy force and there are lots of solid options out there for you to replace him with this early in the season.
About Bryce McRae
Bryce McRae is a Managing Editor with KFFL and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1999. He joined KFFL as a volunteer writer in March 2005 before becoming a Hot off the Wire Analyst in March 2006. He began working in his current capacity in September 2008. His work has appeared on fantasy sports sites such as Yahoo! and CBS Sportsline as well as in print. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2008 with a B.A. in History and U.S. Studies.
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