ESPNews reports Oakland Athletics designated hitter Mike Piazza (shoulder) was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday, May 4.
Piazza sprained his shoulder diving into third base in a game against the Boston Red Sox Wednesday, May 2. He is expected to be out until at least the middle of June. This season, Piazza is batting .282 with one home run and eight RBI.
Piazza's injury is a major concern for the Athletics. After designated hitter Frank Thomas left to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays in the offseason, the Athletics turned to Piazza to provide a power bat for their lineup. Last season, Piazza hit .283 with 22 home runs and 68 RBI in 126 games for the San Diego Padres. The Athletics hoped that moving Piazza from catcher to designated hitter would allow him to put up good offensive numbers and stay healthy.
With Piazza out, the Athletics will have to look elsewhere for a power-hitting, run-producing hitter. Until outfielder Nick Swisher is fully recovered from a sore hamstring, he will serve as the team's designated hitter. After that, it appears the Athletics will turn to newly acquired outfielder Jack Cust to fill the designated hitter role. The team wants to give him consistent at-bats in the majors, according to assistant general manager David Frost.
Piazza's fantasy value takes a considerable hit due to this injury. He's going to be out awhile, so his production will be missed by many. Since Piazza is still catcher-eligible in most fantasy leagues, many fantasy owners are left scrambling for a replacement at a position that is hard to fill in the first place.
Fantasy owners looking for a replacement at catcher should consider Pittsburgh Pirates catcher/first baseman Ryan Doumit. Doumit was called up from Triple-A April 26 and has hit the ball well. In 27 at-bats, he is hitting .407 with two home runs and six RBI. He is available in 98 percent of fantasy leagues polled. He is playing everyday and producing well.
Another option is Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz. In 70 at-bats, he is batting .300 with one home run and 11 RBI. He is available in just over 94 percent of leagues polled. He is starting on an everyday basis and performing well.
About Mike Barner
Mike Barner has been a KFFL Hot Off The Wire Analyst and KFFL contributing writer since 2007.
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