TORONTO - Drew Stubbs was replaced in the Reds starting outfield on Wednesday by Chris Heisey, who promptly hit three homers. And once again, Stubbs owners are looking at his high strikeout totals and falling average and wondering if they should be selling high. Resist the temptation. Stubbs, at the moment, is just plain unlucky. An average major-league hitter has a third of his balls put into play get through for base hits. Stubbs’ hit rate the past week is a paltry 7% which means he’s driving the ball right into opposition gloves. That will change. Bottom line is that Stubbs, despite his contact issues, is a rare power/speed combination who should continue to put together enough hot streaks to keep him a viable fantasy producer. As for Heisey, yes, he deserves more at-bats, and manager Dusty Baker said this week he will try to do just that, but ohopefully not at Stubbs’ expense.
--A’s 2B Mark Ellis came off the DL this week, but his rookie fill-in, Jemile Weeks, hitting .305 with six steals, will keep the starting job for now. Ellis meanwhile, will be reduced to a utility role and play everywhere in the infield, including 1B after Daric Barton was mercifully demoted this week.
-- Who fills in for Albert Pujols, out up to six weeks with a fractured arm? That’s the easy part. Lance Berkman, a career 1B, moves back in from the outfield to take over. And getting the at-bats in RF now appears to be Jon Jay. Andrew Brown was also mentioned as a platoon-mate, but Jay’s start out of the No. 2 slot in the lineup on Tuesday against lefty Cliff Lee has basically put that to rest.
-- With Jack Hannahan’s average in freefall for much of the past two months, the Indians have taken to giving Orlando Cabrera at few starts at 3B this past week. And while a platoon situation between the two would seem logical, Hannahan’s splits are anything but. A left-handed bat, he is hitting just .199 against righties and .300 versus southpaws.
-- Closer notes: After returning from a month-stint on the DL, Brandon Lyon gave up eight ERs in two innings and will now undergo season-ending biceps surgery. Mark Melancon will continue as the Astros closer … The Dodgers have told Jonathan Broxton he’ll get his old job back at some point … Fernando Salas has blown two of four save opps this month but, with Eduardo Sanchez on the DL, is in no danger yet.
-- Joe Mauer is just 3-for-25 since coming off the DL. The Twins, meanwhile, are trying him out at first and third to get him out from behind the plate occasionally but keep his bat in the lineup.
-- Roy Oswalt sounds as if he may have hit the end of the line. The Phillies SP had just lefty Thursday’s game after two innings because of more tightness in his back — remember, he was on the DL with back woes a couple of months ago — and now was hinting at retirement. The 33-year-old has struggled in his seven starts since returning from the DL and will have an MRI on his back on Monday. “You throw as long as you can and when you can’t … you don’t. If it’s at that point, you just have to accept it.”
-- The Giants are thinking of inserting Barry Zito into the rotation in place of Jonathan Sanchez, who simply can’t find the plate this season.
OL’ BLUE EYES
Rangers’ Josh Hamilton is hitting .122 in day games and blaming it on his eyes. Not his eyesight, but that his eyes are blue. During an interview on ESPN radio, he said: “I ask guys all the time … and guys with blue eyes have a tough time.” Of course, it doesn’t explain why he hit .286 in day games last season. Or why brown-eyed hitters wouldn’t have the same problem. But, alas, Hamilton has found a pair of sunglasses he used last year in the outfield.
Mike Stanton, FLA
222, 7 HRs
HOT AND NOT
Carlos Pena CHC
300, 4 HRs, 8 RBIs
Ty Wigginton COL
304, 3 HRs, 6 RBIs
Chris Getz KC
9-for-22, 3 SBs
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Eric Hosmer KC
2-for-23, 0 RBIs
Brett Wallace HOU
1-for-22, 0 RBIs
Justin Morneau will finally have surgery on that pinched nerve in his neck and be out until August … Shin-Soo Choo will miss about six weeks with a broken thumb ... Fellow Tribe OF Michael Brantley is also out with a sore shoulder ... Ike Davis will wait three weeks before a decision is made if he’ll have micro-surgery on his left ankle … Derek Jeter (calf) hopes to return any day now, but has been told he may not be symptom-free until the off-season … David Wright (back) is about two weeks away … Ryan Madson will miss a few more days with a sore side … Darwin Barney (knee) should be activated on Wednesday … Elvis Andrus will miss a few games with a sprained left wrist ... Torii Hunter (ribs) should be back any day now ... Tommy Hanson is expected back to start Tuesday.
With fantasy rating out of 5
The power potential is there, but so is his inability to make consistent contact. In a 70-AB trial last season, he blasted three HRs but managed only 10 other hits for a .186 average. That .235 average in triple-A this year is another reason to tread carefully.
Willy Mo Pena
Called up to be ’Zona’s DH this week, 29-year-old slugger showing that the improved plate discipline he found at triple-A this season didn’t follow him to the desert. He has two HRs in 15 ABs since his callup but eight Ks. He might be worth a spot in NL-only pools, but could still be sent back down following next weekend’s series in Oakland.
SP, Red Sox
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Former first-rounder is high-risk, high-reward. He is a strikeout pitcher who gets grounders and hurls for one of baseball’s best hitting lineups. On the downside, he occasionally has problems repeating his delivery and, when not right, can kill you on any given night. Still, we’ll say he’s worth taking a chance on.
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Lefty finally gets a shot at the rotation Sunday after posting some solid numbers — including 43 Ks in 39 innings —- out of the bullpen. He is filling in for DL’d Aaron Harang, whose return is still likely a couple of weeks away.
n Statistics do not include Saturday’s games