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Around the League - A.L.

Kevin Nielsen provides a fantasy baseball update for each American League team. Topics include injury updates, closer news, and call-ups.

Justin Grimm is worth a pickup in most leagues and will face the Minnesota Twins tomorrow night.
Justin Grimm is worth a pickup in most leagues and will face the Minnesota Twins tomorrow night.

From now on I will split "Around the League" into two separate pieces with the AL version coming out on Thursdays and the NL version on Saturdays. Also, I used a different format last week but am going back to the team-based format.

Los Angeles Angels

Erick Aybar should return to action by Monday but one must wonder if his heel injury will cut into his stolen base success. Michael Roth made his first MLB start yesterday against the Rangers and performed very poorly. I don't think he should be considered for any spot-starts even if he were to face the Astros. He may not even make another start because he was just filling in for Tommy Hanson who is on the bereavement list. Jered Weaver should return by the end of May.

Houston Astros

Brandon Laird would be an interesting pickup if you are in need of deep-league power. He already has 2 HR since being called up. Justin Maxwell fractured his hand and could be on the DL for a significant amount of time. Robbie Grossman was called up but I wouldn't add him unless he starts hitting and getting regular playing time which is certainly a possibility with both Maxwell and J.D. Martinez sidelined.

Oakland Athletics

Yoenis Cespedes should come off the DL this Sunday. He had a hand injury but he says he has been recovered for a few days now and I don't think the injury should affect him long-term. It's becoming more and more apparently that Bartolo Colon is an underrated fantasy asset. He has pitched very well this year. His 17 K to only 1 BB probably has something to do with that.

Toronto Blue Jays

I think right now is the time to buy low on Brett Lawrie. He has been terrible at the plate and should put it together at some point soon.

Cleveland Indians

Michael Bourn should be able to return next Monday. Brett Myers has a torn UCL but might not need Tommy John surgery. Still, things don't look promising and he's droppable in most 10-team mixed leagues if you need the bench space. Most people expect Vinnie Pestano to take over at closer if Chris Perez is traded or leaves after the season via free agency. I think that Bryan Shaw might be the dark horse in that scenario. He has 13 K to only 1 BB and his only run allowed on the year was a solo HR in 10 1/3 IP. He has a very nasty cutter and when his control is on he has closer-quality stuff.

Seattle Mariners

With Franklin Gutierrez injured, Michael Saunders will probably return next week and get the start in CF most of the time. Gutierrez has a hamstring injury and will miss at least a couple weeks. Roberto Andino will be the starter as shortstop with Brendan Ryan moving to a utility-infielder role. Neither have much, if any, fantasy value.

Baltimore Orioles

John Stinson got the spot start yesterday but Zach Britton has been called up to take his turn next time through the rotation. Jake Arrieta was sent down to AAA which is what resulted in the rotation vacancy. Dylan Bundy will be examined by Dr. James Andrews. This is never a good sign but I wouldn't panic until we know more but pay close attention to any updates.

Texas Rangers

Matt Harrison had back surgery and won't be back until at least mid-July. Justin Grimm should be picked up for favorable matchups in mixed leagues and for all matchups in AL-only formats. His next start will be against the Twins tomorrow which is a game that I would recommend picking him up for if your league is deep enough. He struck out 9 with only 1 BB and 1 ER in his last start against Seattle. Joakim Soria injured his pectoral and he's not expected to join the Rangers bullpen until just before the All-Star break. The good news is he didn't have a setback in his return from Tommy John surgery.

Tampa Bay Rays

Luke Scott should return early next week. This could push Shelley Duncan to lesser playing time or AAA. Yunel Escobar's back injury probably isn't too serious and he might return on Saturday.

Boston Red Sox

John Lackey might return Sunday against the Astros. Ryan Lavarnway was called up from AAA but it's unclear what his role will be, especially with David Ortiz back. Lavarnway is pretty much the 3rd catcher on the depth chart right now. Alfredo Aceves got lit up against the A's and has since been sent to AAA. This is a big disappointment for all owners who picked him up for the upcoming favorable matchup against the Astros. Shane Victorino will miss some time with a back issue but isn't expected to hit the DL. Joel Hanrahan should return to a setup role in a few days while Craig Breslow will be back in about a week or two.

Kansas City Royals

Lorenzo Cain, after a hot start to the season, is now batting 5th while Sal Perez has moved down to 8th after his slow start.

Detroit Tigers

Jose Valverde has returned as the closer. Bruce Rondon was called up from AAA and could work his way into a setup role.

Minnesota Twins

Brian Dozier is getting a look in the leadoff spot and has been hitting well lately. This should boost his value quite a bit, especially in terms of runs scored.

Chicago White Sox

John Danks should be pitching in AA or AAA games soon enough. He won't be back for at about a month and it remains to be seen how effective he can be after his shoulder surgery.

New York Yankees

Kevin Youkilis still isn't healthy enough to play after injuring his back last Saturday. The team really cannot afford another player on the DL and will probably wait it out as long as possible. Curtis Granderson has been taking batting practice and should return in 2 weeks. Derek Jeter refused to say when he thinks he'll be able to return and counting on him for anything this season would be a mistake. If he gets healthy enough to play but isn't 100% then he might not be able to produce at the plate the way he did last season.