- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com Senior Writer
New York Mets left-hander Johan Santana left Thursday's game with the Atlanta Braves after five innings with a strained pectoral muscle. Santana threw 65 pitches and allowed three hits and one run. It was good enough to lower his ERA to 2.98, but with the Mets not contending, this injury could cause him to miss his next start, or more.
Santana wasn't the only star player to leave his Thursday game early. Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera was hitless in three at-bats, two of them strikeouts, then was removed in the sixth inning due to left biceps tendinitis. Hopefully fantasy's No. 3 player doesn't miss any games, but be prepared for the possibility.
Minnesota Twins right-hander Scott Baker made it through two innings against the Tigers Thursday before right elbow pain forced his premature exit. Baker is one of ESPN's most-added pitchers, coming off two strong outings and having not lost since mid-July. Don't expect the follow-up news here to be good.
New York Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson didn't start Thursday's game, but he finished it with a pair of home runs and three RBIs. Granderson will likely fall well short of season expectations, notably in batting average and stolen bases, but he'll be a 30-home run threat next season, so don't totally disregard him in drafts.
Boston Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka won his ninth game of the season Thursday, allowing six hits and four runs in 5 2/3 innings. Matsuzaka, scratched from his previous start with back stiffness, has allowed precisely four runs in each of his past four starts, and five out of six, which isn't exactly the kind of consistency fantasy owners crave. He tends to win games, but be cautious in adding him.
Philadelphia Phillies closer Brad Lidge walked the tightrope to save Thursday's game in Coors Field, but he did it. Lidge permitted an unearned run; since Aug. 1, the right-hander has allowed only one earned run in 14 1/3 innings, with 15 strikeouts. Rely on him down the stretch.