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Fantasy Baseball 2011: Chase Utley, Neftali Feliz, Jayson Werth and Other Spring Training Thoughts

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Chase Utley will start the season on the DL, and on Thursday we learned from ESPN's Jayson Stark the following:

A week or so ago, Utley seemed headed for knee surgery. But that was before he started collecting opinions from surgeons. If he'd gotten assurance from the doctors that surgery would fix what ailed his right knee over the long haul, Utley clearly was leaning toward saying, "Let's do it."

What he heard instead, from all indications, was that there were no guarantees that surgery would make him healthy again. So for now, he and the Phillies have decided to try a series of new rehab exercises -- because if the rehab doesn't work, he can always have surgery down the road.

But suppose he tries surgery and that doesn't work?

Uh-oh. Then he's Carlos Beltran, battling for months and years just to get back on the field.

Carlos Beltran. Grady Sizemore. Is this what Utley's fantastic career has come to? Phillies fans and Phantasy owners are praying Utley returns soon. But Utley's draft stock is dropping by the day. I heard that he went in the 20th round in a recent mixed league draft. I have 5 drafts next week, and will be interested to see where he is drafted, or how much goes for.

UPDATE: Brad Lidge to the DL-grab Jose Contreras or Ryan Madson

More after the jump:

Philies closer Brad Lidge gave up a HR yesterday and here are some quotes from Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, via Jayson Stark on Twitter:

 jaysonst Interesting answer from Charlie Manuel when asked if Brad Lidge has enough time to get ready: "We'll see what happens." #espnst #phillies

about 2 hours ago via web

Retweeted by Buster_ESPN and 8 others

Lidge owners should make sure they draft Ryan Madson in case he isn't ready next week.

Well, the Rangers officially announced the Neftali Feliz will close this year. Big news right? The question I have is will they go out and trade for a starting pitcher.

Nationals manager Jim Riggleman announced yesterday that outfielder Jayson Werth will bat second in the Nats lineup this year. Second? That's crazy. That will impact his fantasy value a bit as his RBI totals will drop, but with Ryan Zimmerman batting third, and Adam Laroche 4th, he should score plenty of runs this year. I really thought Werth would bat third, with Zimm 4th and Laroche 5th. Let's see how long this lasts. Will this result in more SB opportunities for Werth?

Many are asking whether Giants prospect Brandon Belt will make the club out of spring training. I think his chances improved with the injury to outfielder Cody Ross on Wednesday. He had an MRI on his right calf and Andrew Baggarly from the San Jose Mercury News reported the following via Twitter:

Cody Ross has a torn calf. Moderate strain, officially. Out three weeks. Will begin season on the DL. On crutches/boot another day or 2.

Ross' injury paves the way for Aubrey Huff to move to the outfield and opens up first base for Brandon Belt. Whether the Giants agree will be decided within the next week. And Baggarly had more on this decision:

Brandon Belt will stay with team to the end of spring. Giants officials haven't decided if he's on the roster.

The Rockies are listening to offers for second baseman Jose Lopez. So much for a bounceback from Lopez this season...well, assuming he is dealt. I have to think the Phillies have interest.

Great news for Twins first baseman Justin Morneau. He played two days in a row and no longer experiences post-concussion symptoms. He could move up my first base rankings should be prove healthy this season.

It appears that Brad Emaus has won the Mets second base job. He will provide some pop and some SBs, a little OBP, but not a high BA. Should he prove healthy, second base prospect Reese Havens appears poised to take the second base job in 2012.