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Around the League - N.L.

Kevin Nielsen provides a National League update for injuries, call-ups, and other fantasy news.

Francisco Liriano made his debut today for the Pirates and it will be interesting how he performs in his first year in the N.L.
Francisco Liriano made his debut today for the Pirates and it will be interesting how he performs in his first year in the N.L.

Unfortunately I will be out of town next week and there won't be any "Around the League" updates. Look for Ray to provide some extended coverage in his "Roto Roundup" pieces.

Atlanta Braves

As I mentioned last week, Brian McCann was tearing the cover off the ball on his rehab assignment. He is off to a fast start with a couple of HR since being activated and seems fully recovered from his shoulder injury. Jason Heyward began a rehab assignment at AAA and will likely return sometime next week. Brandon Beachy will begin his rehab assignment soon and should return sometime in June. He's worth stashing on your DL if he is somehow available in your league. Jonny Venters could be nearing a return if he doesn't experience any setbacks and he will be extremely valuable in leagues that count holds when he comes back.

Milwaukee Brewers

Francisco Rodriguez will begin to pitch in minor league games and could enter the late-inning mix for the Brewers later this month. Mark Rogers has been shut down and at this point it's unknown exactly how serious his injury is.

St. Louis Cardinals

Chris Carpenter has been pitching. Joining the Cardinals bullpen is a possibility sometime in June. Jason Motte had Tommy John surgery and will miss the rest of the season.

Chicago Cubs

Somebody will be bumped from the starting rotation soon with Matt Garza nearing his return. It seems to be between Carlos Villanueva and Scott Feldman. Kyuji Fujikawa is back and will be useful for holds in the near future and could potentially regain his closer job at some point. Ryan Sweeney has been called up and will get most of his starts against LHP replacing David Dejesus.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Heath Bell is the new Diamondbacks closer because JJ Putz was put on the DL with an elbow injury. Not everyone is high on Bell and some think that David Hernandez will eventually claim the 9th inning gig but Bell has outpitched Hernandez this year, has closing experience, and the Diamondbacks will need one of them to setup for the other anyway, therefore, I think Bell has a great chance to keep the job moving forward. Hernandez is definitely worth owning as a safety net in case Bell falters but I don't see it as automatic that a switch will take place. Putz will try to rehab his injury but it wouldn't surprise me if he ends up under the knife at some point.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Ted Lilly could be only a couple weeks away from making a return to the Dodgers rotation. If Chris Capuano continues to struggle then there will be a spot waiting for him. Craig Goldstein suggested that if neither is the answer then Zach Lee might get a shot at some point. Zack Greinke will replace Matt Magill in the rotation next Wednesday versus the Nationals. Magill was unimpressive in his starts and isn't a top pitching prospect. Hanley Ramirez isn't expected back until late June after his hamstring injury.

San Francisco Giants

Ryan Vogelsong has struggled thus far but much of that can be attributed to his 19.6 HR/FB%. That should normalize, resulting in a much better ERA/WHIP moving forward. His .367 BABIP has been unlucky as well. Vogelsong's K/9 is up but his BB/9 is a bit higher as well compared to his last two seasons. If he was dropped in your league then you may want to consider adding him once he puts together a decent start or two. Santiago Casilla could be out this weekend with a knee injury but will probably avoid the DL.

Miami Marlins

Derek Dietrich hit his first HR yesterday and should be added if you need a MI in an NL-only league. He is eligible at SS in most formats but will likely gain 2B eligibility at some point. Tom Koehler will replace Wade LeBlanc in the Marlins rotation but shouldn't be added in any fantasy leagues at this point. OF prospect Christian Yelich is tearing the cover off the ball at AA and could be called up at some point. When he does he'll be worth a pickup in any format. Logan Morrison will be back in June and will likely claim the starting 1B job upon his return.

New York Mets

Frank Francisco will probably be back within a week or two. He'll likely be the 7th or 8th inning guy upon his return and will make for interesting trade bait for the Mets once he establishes some value. Zack Wheeler has put together a couple of impressive outings in a row and the rumors are swirling regarding a possible promotion in the coming weeks. He has huge upside and is worth a pickup in almost all leagues immediately upon being called up.

Washington Nationals

Jayson Werth was placed on the DL with a hamstring injury but the move is retroactive to May 3rd and he might just need the minimum amount of time to recover. Bryce Harper missed last night's game after having toenail removed but he should be back in the lineup today. Obviously this isn't good news but it's probably not going to affect him too much moving forward.

San Diego Padres

Burch Smith will get the start today and is worth a pickup for spot starts as long as he's in the Padres rotation. He's filling in for Clayton Richard who should be back soon so Smith may just be up for a start or two.

Philadelphia Phillies

Tyler Cloyd pitched well last night against the Diamondbacks but was sent down to AAA with the Phillies not in need of a 5th starter for the next couple turns in the rotation. Jesse Biddle is also an option to be called up when the time comes. Roy Halladay will have shoulder surgery and miss at least a few months. He might not return this season.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Francisco Liriano will make his first start of the season today against the Mets. It will be interesting to see how he does in the NL after pitching for AL teams his entire career. Neil Walker will likely return sometime next week against the Brewers. Russell Martin may need to be placed on the DL with a neck issue leading to Tony Sanchez being called up. I'm not sure whether Michael McKenry or Sanchez would get more playing time if Martin hits the DL.

Cincinnati Reds

Chris Heisey should be back in about a week and would be a decent pickup if you need a power OF. Ryan Hanigan has returned and will likely split time with Devin Mesoraco moving forward. Johnny Cueto will need 1 or 2 more rehab starts before making his return. Either Mike Leake or Tony Cingrani will be removed from the rotation when Cueto is activated.

Colorado Rockies

Michael Cuddyer will miss some time with a neck injury and might need to be placed on the DL. Roy Oswalt is likely just a few weeks from joining the Rockies rotation. My guess is that Jeff Francis will lose his job at that point.