Around the League: N.L.

Should Jeremy Hefner have gained the trust of mixed league fantasy GM's? - USA TODAY Sports

Is Jeremy Hefner worth owning? Who will take over as Cubs closer if Kevin Gregg is traded? Who is closing in Arizona? Kevin Nielsen provides a National League update for call-ups, injuries, and other fantasy news.

Call-Ups

Carlos Martinez was added to the Cardinals bullpen but he’ll only have mixed league value if he’s moved to the rotation.

Jeff Francoeur will get some playing time in the Giants outfield and is worth adding in deep NL-only or really deep mixed leagues if you are really desperate for outfield help.

Jose Constanza will provide outfield depth for the Braves the time being but I don’t think he’s worth adding unless you are really desperate for steals and see that he’s in the lineup already.

Juan Nicasio was called up to replace the injured Roy Oswalt in the Rockies rotation and dominated the Dodgers last night. He is an okay matchup play in NL-only leagues but I doubt many fantasy experts would have recommended him for last night and for future games. Starting him will probably be a roll of the dice moving forward.

Notes

If Kevin Gregg is traded then it will probably be one of Blake Parker or Pedro Strop to take over as closer. Each are worth picking up right now if you have roster space and want to speculate on saves.

The Diamondbacks will go with a closer-by-committee plan for the time being. David Hernandez, J.J. Putz, and Heath Bell (in that order) are all worth owning. Also, keep in mind that team might trade for a closer. Hernandez got the save last night so it looks like he'll have the first shot at stringing together some saves.

Don’t look now but Jeremy Hefner now has a 3.33 ERA and 1.15 WHIP for the season. He's been aided by a .257 BABIP but his xFIP is under 4. I still don’t completely trust him but I'm getting there. His impressive production lately is worth noting and he should be owned in all NL-only leagues right now. If you have no better options and Hefner has a favorable match-up then you should consider picking him up in deeper mixed leagues. I would welcome and appreciate your thoughts and observations about him in the comments.

Injuries

The entire Braves starting outfield is suffering from leg ailments. Jason Heyward injured his hamstring, Justin Upton has a calf issue, and B.J. Upton is dealing with pain in his groin. It’s unclear at this point which of these players, if any, will need to be placed on the DL. Evan Gattis will return after the all-star break and Jose Constanza was called up to fill in for the rest of this weekend.

Marco Estrada should return to the Brewers rotation by the end of the month.

Chris Carpenter has a chance to join the Cardinals rotation in August and will be worth a pick-up in all formats if that happens.

Ryan Vogelsong could make his return around August 1st and should be stashed in NL-only DL spots. He’s obviously capable of pitching better than he did earlier in the season.

Ryan Howard underwent knee surgery and I think that if and when the Phillies are completely out of the playoff race they will shut down Howard for the rest of the season. The best-case scenario is a late-August return.

Roy Oswalt will likely be ready to come off the DL by the end of the month but it’s unclear whether he’ll have a rotation spot to return to with his poor performance thus far and the Rockies shopping for SP help.

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