Toronto Blue Jays OF Vernon Wells revisits the DL

by Tim Piotrowski on July 10, 2008 @ 13:20:34 PDT

 


Sportsnet.ca reports Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Vernon Wells (hamstring) has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a Grade 2 strain of his hamstring. He will miss four to six weeks.

The Jays did not immediately make a move to fill his roster spot but are expected to do so sometime before their weekend series against the New York Yankees, which begins Friday, July 11.

This is the second time this season Wells will miss an extended amount of time because of an injury. He suffered a fractured wrist May 9 and missed almost a month of playing time. This injury will keep him out probably until mid-August at the earliest.

Despite his injuries, Wells has put up some pretty good numbers when he has been healthy. In 64 games, he is hitting .287 with nine home runs and 42 RBIs. He has struck out 33 times and walked 16 times so far this season. Wells has been the cornerstone of the Blue Jays lineup for years and a solid fantasy asset as well.

Last season, Wells did not have to worry about injuries for the most part, but he did struggle during the season. He hit .245 with 16 home runs and 80 RBIs in 149 games. Besides last season, he has been pretty consistent stat wise. He has hit at least 23 home runs in five of the last six seasons and has driven in at least 97 runs in four of the last six campaigns.

From a fantasy perspective, this is just bad luck for Wells owners. He has been pretty durable over the last few seasons, playing at least 149 games five of the last six seasons. Owners should place him on the disabled list if they have room. If there is no space, they should stash him on their bench because he is a very valuable fantasy player when healthy.

The Blue Jays have a few options to fill Wells' spot in the lineup while he is out. The player that benefits most is outfielder Brad Wilkerson. The backup is hitting .231 with three home runs and 19 RBIs in 65 games. He has struck out 52 times with 28 walks. He has played nearly the entire season at either left field or right field.

Another choice is outfielder Matt Stairs, who is hitting .259 with eight home runs and 28 RBIs in 72 games. He has struck out 54 times and walked 27 times. He has spent the majority of his playing time as the designated hitter but has played in the outfield as well, so he could be mixed in to replace Wilkerson.

Outfielder Alex Rios likely would move to center field in Wells' absence, with Stairs or Wilkerson going to right field. Young outfielder Adam Lind is expected to stay in left field, but Stairs or Wilkerson could spell him, as well.

For owners, Stairs and Lind are more valuable in deeper mixed leagues. Owners in AL-only setups could look to Wilkerson as a replacement for Wells, but they shouldn't expect much offense from the career .249 hitter.

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About Tim Piotrowski

Piotrowski has been a Hot Off the Wire analyst since 2007.

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