Fantasy Fare: Beachy havin' a ball

JOEL COLOMBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:51 PM ET

With less than a week to go before opening day, several teams already have settled on their starting rotations.

-- The Cinderella story of Brandon Beachy continues. The undrafted 24-year-old righty has won the fifth starter’s spot with the Braves, beating out the more hyped Mike Minor. Signed in 2008, it took him less than two years to climb from rookie ball to the Atlanta rotation last September, though he went 0-2 in three starts. Beachy, who fanned 16 in 16 spring innings, doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but his control (last September aside) is excellent.

-- The Yankees say RHP Ivan Nova, who has enjoyed a stellar spring (just 15 base-runners in 20 innings) has made the fourth slot in the rotation behind CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes. Freddy Garcia beat out Bartolo Colon for No. 5, despite the latter’s own amazing March.

-- Padres’ Tim Stauffer was going be a nice late-round sleeper, moving from relief to a September starting gig last season. However, he has now been given the opening-day assignment with ace Mat Latos having shoulder discomfort and a quality start will kill that sleeper status.

-- The Rangers officially returned Neftali Feliz back to his closer’s role, leaving young lefty Derek Holland as No. 3 and Matt Harrison as No. 4. Tommy Hunter had a rotation spot locked up, but hurt his groin Thursday and will be out four to six weeks.

-- Barring a late collapse, Michael Pineda, one of the top pitching prospects in the majors, will secure the fifth slot in the Mariners rotation. Erik Bedard’s comeback takes its next step as the M’s fourth starter. He is 3-0 with a 1.13 ERa in 16 spring innings.

-- A lot of closers could begin the year on the disabled list. Here is a list of potential fill-ins who could fetch you a few early saves for a few of bucks or a late-round pick: Ryan Madson (Phillies), Brian Fuentes (A’s), Brandon League (Mariners), Juan Gutierrez (Diamondbacks), Sergio Romo or Jeremy Affeldt (Giants), Jon Rauch (Blue Jays, though Octavio Dotel might get a chance if he returns before Frank Francisco)

-- Pencil in Sean Burnett as a candidate to gain a few saves for the Nationals. Drew Storen, the closer of the future, will be in the mix with Burnett.

-- Would have liked to see what ex-Yankee Juan Miranda could have done with extended at-bats at 1B for the Diamondbacks. But the addition of veteran Russell Branyan this week likely means a platoon situation.

-- The Phillies’ signing of Luis Castillo, who was released a couple of days earlier by the Mets, shows that Chase Utley’s knee is definitely a concern. We’d knock Utley down several pegs on the pre-season rankings but the club’s reluctance to risk surgery suggests this could be a season-long issue.

-- Astros' opening-day starter Brett Myers has surrendered 33 hits in just 18 innings so far this spring.

-- The White Sox will go with a rookie at third in Brent Morel. A well-regarded prospect, Though he hit three homers in a late-season callup in 2010, the big-framed Morel hasn’t displayede the kind of power you’d be looking for in a corner infielder. Three doubles in 60 at-bats is the extent of his extra-base production this month.

-- Former A’s 3B Eric Chavez, trying to make a comeback with the Yankees from back surgery, likely has a bench spot locked up after hitting .421 this spring.

DISABLED LIST

ON OR GOING

Zach Duke ARZ sp

Justin Duchscherer BAL sp

Homer Bailey CIN sp

Jake Peavy CHW sp

Grady Sizemore CLE of

Jon Garland LAD sp

Zack Greinke MIL sp

Johan Santana NYM sp

Brad Lidge PHIL rp

Domonic Brown PHIL of

Chase Utley PHIL 2b

Cody Ross SF of

Adam Wainwright STL sp

J.P. Howell TB rp

Tommy Hunter TEX sp

Brandon Webb TEX sp

Brandon Morrow TOR sp

Frank Francisco TOR rp

Stephen Strasburg WAS sp

LIKELY TO GO

Scott Downs LAA rp

Casey Blake LAD 3b

Kendrys Morales LAA 1b

Johnny Cueto CIN sp

Dayan Viciedo CHW 3b

Carlos Guillen DET 2b

Dioner Navarro LAD c

Corey Hart MIL of

Carlos Beltran NYM of

Andrew Bailey OAK rp

Rich Harden OAK sp

David Aardsma SEA rp

Brian Wilson SF rp

Scott Feldman TEX sp

Scott Podsednik TOR of

HOPE TO AVOID

Brad Bergesen BAL sp

Koji Uehara BAL rp

Bronson Arroyo CIN sp

Jair Jurrjens FLA sp

Jonathan Lucroy MIL c

Curtis Granderson NYY of

Chris Snyder PIT c

Mat Latos SD sp

Franklin Gutierrez SEA of

Adrian Beltre TEX 3b

Adam LaRoche WAS 1b

TRAINER’S ROOM TICKER

The Brewers already have 11 players expected to make the opening-day roster ailing or on the DL. The latest is Casey McGehee who bruised his knee … Bronson Arroyo has mononucleosis but reportedly will try to pitch through it ... Magglio Ordonez has been struggling through a hamstring injury … J.J. Putz (back) should be ready for opening day, but may be held out of a couple of early save situations until he has a few more innings under his belt ... Kyle Farnsworth tweaked a knee fielding a ball on Monday but hopes to be okay … Brian Wilson is trying to work through a strained oblique muscle but is unlikely to be ready for opening day … Scott Rolen has developed a sore left elbow … Joel Pineiro’s shoulder discomfort, which forced him out of a game this week, appears to be just a cramp … Cliff Pennington’s (shoulder) is feeling strong enough to return to switch-hitting.

HOCKEY BITS

Playoff poolies take note: With the post-season looming some injured impact players are hoping to get into a couple of regular-season games to regain their timing. Included in that list are Alexander Ovechkin, Patrick Sharp, Pavel Datsyuk, Chris Pronger, Mike Green, Ryan Malone and even Sidney Crosby who reportedly is skating well in on-ice workotus but has yet to practise … Zach Parise, out since November with a knee injury, also expects to be back next week, although his Devils won’t be in the playoffs ... Colin Greening has been a nice callup for the Sens. The big winger, a seventh-rounder back in 2005, is 3-1-4 in his past seven games … Marek Zidlicky is back practising … Isles D Andrew MacDonald (hip) won’t play again … Steve Downie returned Friday and was reunited with Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis … Speaking of Stamkos, he has just three goals in his past 20 games … Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau have 26 points between them in the Sharks’ past seven games.

GAMES THIS WEEK

4 GAMES

Anaheim, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Minnesota, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Tampa Bay

2 GAMES

Phoenix, San Jose,

Every other team plays 3 games


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