The Philadelphia Phillies have placed shortstop Jimmy Rollins (ankle) on the 15-day disabled list due to a sprained left ankle. It is the first time in Rollins' eight-year career that he has landed on the disabled list.
Rollins suffered the injury April 8 against the New York Mets when he slid awkwardly back into second base on a pickoff play. He had not started a game since being hurt but had made four pinch-hitting appearances, the most recent of which was Saturday, April 19, also against the Mets.
The reigning National League MVP is batting .308 this season with two doubles, two home runs, six RBIs and two stolen bases. He played in all 162 games last season and recently had a streak of 230 consecutive games snapped' it was the second-longest streak among active players at the time.
Infielder Eric Bruntlett is expected to continue to receive the majority of the playing time at shortstop for the Phillies in Rollins' absence. Despite Bruntlett's versatility - he has played every position except pitcher and catcher in his major league career - his offensive shortcomings do not make him a viable replacement for Rollins in your fantasy baseball lineup.
MVP-caliber shortstops are likely not available on your league's waiver wire or trading block, so it is probable that whoever fantasy owners get to fill in for him won't be able to duplicate his production. In NL-only leagues, the pickings are extremely thin.
The best replacement options for Rollins appear to be the Chicago Cubs' Ryan Theriot, the Cincinnati Reds' Jeff Keppinger and the Oakland Athletics' Bobby Crosby.
Theriot faltered at the beginning of the season when the Cubs asked him to be their leadoff hitter. However, in the past week, he has been on a tear while batting lower in the order, from second to near the bottom. He has 15 hits in his last 31 at-bats; Theriot has raised his average to .338, with five RBIs, 14 runs and four stolen bases.
Keppinger is filling in for the injured Alex Gonzalez (knee). He's hitting .329 with 10 RBIs and 10 runs while hitting in the heart of the Reds order. He began the season with an eight-game hitting streak and has a current one of six games.
Crosby, a disappointment for much of his fledgling career, has had a torrid start to the season. He's hitting above .300 with two home runs, 15 RBIs and 13 runs scored. Oakland was expected to have a poor offense, but thanks to surprises like Crosby, they have hung around the middle of the pack.
Fantasy owners can do little besides stash Rollins on their disabled list and wait it out. After his pinch-hit appearance, he likely won't be eligible to return for about two weeks, which means many fantasy lineups may be patchwork until then.
About Jared Byrd
Byrd has served as a Hot Off the Wire Analyst with KFFL since 2003,
covering both the NFL and MLB. A recent graduate of the University of
Pennsylvania, he has played fantasy football since 1997, and fantasy
baseball, basketball, and hockey since 2001.
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