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Fantasy Baseball 2011: Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer and Other Spring Training Thoughts

There has to be some serious doubt amongst fantasy owners who own Twins first baseman Justin Morneau as "there has been no timetable for his spring debut". The same story goes for Chase Utley, and it drives fantasy owners bonkers for sure. Nothing like leaving us in the cold. Not even a little hint that he "could play if this was the regular season". With Utley, that is probably the case, but I am not so sure about Morneau. Is he the next Casey Koskie? Certainly hope not.

Morneau's teammate Joe Mauer, who many know by now I am not high on, is recovering from offseason knee surgery. Not good for a catcher. Like Morneau, there is no timetable for his spring debut. But, like Utley, if this were the regular season, he would probably be in the lineup. 

Braves closer candidate Craig Kimbrel rebounded from a bad first outing with a scoreless inning on Wednesday while giving up one hit.

More thoughts after the jump:

Speaking of the Braves, does Jordan Schafer win the centerfield job over Nate McLouth this year? I think McLouth is a sleeper this year, but that goes out the window of Schafer beats him out for the job.

Astros pitching prospect Jordan Lyles pitched the 4th and 5th innings on Wednesday giving up a hit, 2 walks and no runs. He has a shot to win the 5th spot in the Astros rotation this year, but will probably start the season in AAA.

Speaking of the Astros, catching prospect Jason Castro will need knee surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee. No word yet on how long he will be out. Castro is only draftable in NL-only leagues and possibly very deep mixed leagues.

Marlins starter Josh Johnson got knocked around in his start on Wednesday giving up 5 runs on 5 hits and a walk, while striking out only one. Its early, but one has to wonder if his shoulder will be a problem for him this year.

More bad news on Phillies outfield prospect Domonic Brown from Buster Olney's blog this morning:

One talent evaluator's view of Domonic Brown's altered swing: "The athleticism has been taken out. What made him good as a hitter has been removed from his swing." 

I don't know about you but it appears that alot of teams are talking about running more this season. Maybe it is just spring training talk, but I want to see if it results in more SBs for teams like the Dodgers, Pirates, Padres among others.

Giants starter Matt Cain had an MRI on his right elbow which showed no structural damage but some inflammation, and he will miss at least one start in spring training, maybe more. Something to watch as draft day approaches.

Orioles closer candidate Koji Uehara was shut down after getting a cortisone injection in his right elbow. Hello Kevin Gregg, who should get the call should Uehara miss time once the season starts.