Fantasy Baseball Diamond Mining: Curtis Granderson, B.J. Upton, Mike Morse, more

by Tim Heaney on March 28, 2012 @ 12:50:49 PDT

 


Ready to update your fantasy baseball cheat sheets? Before Diamond Market can sell the players in your rotisserie league's free-agent pool, Fantasy Baseball Diamond Mining polishes them for fantasy baseball drafts. It's time to dig for fantasy baseball sleepers and toss the busts.

An MRI on Curtis Granderson's bothersome right elbow came back negative. New York Yankees and fantasy owners of the four-category flooder: "Whew." Keep an eye out, but he should be ready for opening day.

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B.J. Upton, however, said he's realizing he probably won't be, thanks to his sore back. Considering the optimism from him and the Tampa Bay Rays so far, it doesn't sound like it'd be a long absence, but the residual effects of his collision a few weeks ago with Desmond Jennings linger.

It's a slight concern, but not one that should damn him completely in your eyes. That extra buck, on the other hand, might not be as blind a throw.

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It looks like Mike Morse (strained right latissimus dorsi) will begin the 2012 season on the disabled list, too. His plan was to throw Wednesday morning and afterward receive a sonogram for tears in the muscle. If the test comes out clean, he'll hit off a tee and ramp up activities, with minor league action coming by the weekend.

He probably won't see major-league rehab action because the Washington Nationals want to leave it open for him to return to the bigs as early as possible. This injury can drag on, but with proper rest, he shouldn't miss more than a few weeks, which still makes him worth a confident middle-rounds mixed selection.

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Boston Red Sox SS Mike Aviles
Aviles: in prime position?

To alleviate the soreness in his balky right shoulder that comes from when he's throwing at full strength, J.J. Hardy received a cortisone injection Tuesday. Buck Showalter said his shortstop could return to the Baltimore Orioles' spring lineup on Friday. Team docs examined Hardy yesterday and said the shot "should resolve it completely," which could put him on track to start on time next week.

Hardy has a reputation of being injury-prone. That's true to a degree, but much of his recent woes were caused by a bruised left wrist that saw an erratic recovery timetable. Either way, his shoulder mishap doesn't do much to alter his already low-end mixed SS stock, which typically includes a built-in regression from his 2011 revival. Of course, injuries often create bargains, so pay attention.

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Corey Hart is slated to take a few at-bats in a minor league contest Wednesday, his first game action since surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee three weeks ago. Joining the Milwaukee Brewers' first regular-season lineup looks unlikely, but Hart won't be out much longer than that if he avoids a setback.

This isn't an injury to take lightly, but Hart's progress is allowing for more fantasy optimism. Hart's price could drop in a skeptical room, making him a potential profit opportunity.

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More on Mike Aviles, the Boston Red Sox's starting shortstop: He might hit leadoff if skipper Bobby Valentine wants to slot Jacoby Ellsbury down in the order. Aviles, he of the .318 career on-base percentage, is hardly a prototypical option there, but he makes plenty of contact and has enough speed to fit the bill.

It's hardly guaranteed, especially whenever Carl Crawford (wrist) returns, but the lack of other viable options besides these two offers more reason to take a deep-mixed chance on Aviles. He's already eligible at second and third and will soon add shortstop.

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This spring, the Red Sox's Josh Beckett has shown productivity in building chemistry with starting backstop Jarrod Saltalamacchia, an issue that warranted examination in early March. The three starts the pair has worked have gone well, per reports, and Beckett was tinkering with his changeup Tuesday. Sure, he'll have a drop-off, but he still holds plenty of mixed value as a midrange SP and low-end AL ace.

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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