Around the League - A.L.

Sonny Gray - Brad White

Kevin Nielsen provides an A.L. update for call-ups, injuries, and closer news. Is Chia-Jen Lo worth a pickup? Can Sonny Gray help solidify your rotation?

Call-Ups

Kevin Pillar was brought up to replace Colby Rasmus but at this point it's unclear if he'll be sent back down with rumors circulating suggesting that Anthony Gose will get the call this weekend. Pillar can help you fantasy team if he gets playing time. He's hit for average this season (.307) and has some power and speed. He hit 39 doubles with 9 HR in AA/AAA this season and was successful in 23 of 36 stolen base attempts. Anthony Gose is still far too raw a player to be trusted for fantasy but he'll be a legit stolen base threat if he does get called up and receive playing time. Unfortunately, it's extremely unlikely that he'll provide anything else. This is a situation worth monitoring only in really deep mixed leagues or AL-only formats.

Sonny Gray pitched well against the Blue Jays last Saturday and will face the Astros today. He should be picked up if you're looking for a talented streaming option with a favorable matchup. His next start after today will be at home against the Mariners, a decent matchup as well. Jason Hunt expressed his thoughts on Gray earlier in the season. Gray had a 3.42 ERA with a 2.74 FIP and a strikeout per inning at AAA this year.

Closer News

Chia-Jen Lo is in the mix for saves but he's had a long list of injury issues throughout his minor league career, has only pitched 6 1/3 major league innings, and it's unclear whether he has a closer-worthy skill-set. Since the beginning of the 2011 season Lo only has 7 2/3 IP at AA or above. In any case, he's worth adding if you're desperate for saves. Josh Fields is in the mix as well but it's a messy situation all around as far as the potential negative ERA/WHIP impact of the entire Astros bullpen and the fact that this just isn't a very good team. With setup-man and lefty-specialist Wesley Wright being dealt to the Rays earlier in the week, more than ever Bo Porter must navigate a relief minefield in order to even be able to put Lo or Fields into a game for a save opportunity.

Jim Johnson blew his ninth save of the season yesterday. One more within the next week and he will probably lose his closer job. Tommy Hunter is the favorite to replace him but consider Francisco Rodriguez the dark horse candidate due to his success as the Brewers closer earlier this season and overall closing experience.

Notes

Brett Lawrie struggled quite a bit before the all-star break but since then he's really turned things around. He has hit .333 with 4 HR and 3 SB in 26 games after the all-star break. One reason for his improved production seems to be his improved plate discipline. After taking only 9 walks while striking out 36 times in 147 SB before the all-star break he has 9 walks while striking out just 12 times since the all-star break. He's swinging at better pitches and I am already pegging him as a strong buy-low target for 2014. Many owners will avoid Lawrie in 2014 drafts simply because he's an injury risk.

Injuries

Desmond Jennings should return from his finger injury early next week.

Peter Bourjos could be activated within the next couple days but his wrist injury will likely negatively affect his production for the rest of the season.

Alexi Ogando is experiencing pain in his throwing shoulder and could end up back on the DL.

Clay Buchholz should be ready to make a rehab start within a week or so.

Brett Anderson will pitch out of the bullpen when he returns. He should be released in re-draft leagues.

Colby Rasmus will miss at least the next couple week with an oblique injury.

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