Bill Plunkett, of The Orange County Register, reports Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim starting pitcher John Lackey (elbow) underwent an MRI Thursday, March 26, which revealed inflammation in his elbow. Manager Mike Scioscia said Lackey is unlikely to be able to pitch on Opening Day. Lackey tried to play catch Thursday and felt more discomfort in his elbow.
The team's starting pitching woes continue to take a turn for the worse. The Angels are already facing having starting pitcher Ervin Santana (elbow) and Kelvim Escobar (shoulder) begin the 2009 season on the disabled list. Lackey is the team's ace and posted a 12-5 record with a 3.27 ERA in 24 starts a year ago.
Lackey felt discomfort in his elbow during his last start Sunday, March 22, and has since been shut down. Scioscia was considering moving Lackey to the back of the rotation to begin the year, but even that option appears to be dimming.
Starting pitcher Joe Saunders will probably receive the nod to start on Opening Day. Starting pitchers Jered Weaver and Dustin Moseley will follow the southpaw. Pitcher Nick Adenhart, who is close to locking up the fifth spot in the rotation, will also be asked to step up in the wake of injuries. Another starting candidate is Shane Loux.
The latest setback to Lackey's season will cause his fantasy value to drop similarly to the way Santana's stock has fallen, although not as severely. The good news for owners of Lackey is that his MRI did not reveal any structural damage. It's unsafe to draft Lackey as more than a high No. 3 given the risk, unless you wait a long time for pitching.
The other pitchers in the Angels' rotation do not figure to be more than fourth or fifth fantasy options. Saunders appears due for a correction, but Weaver has some upside if he can avoid injury issues. Adenhart is one of the team's top prospects and has upside for AL players.
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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