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J.J. Hardy enjoys big night

9/12/2012

Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy slugged a pair of home runs, knocked in five runs Tuesday and scored three runs. It's been a relatively disappointing season for Hardy, who hit 30 home runs in 2011, and has lost power and 30 points of batting average this year. Still, only four players eligible in the middle infield have more than his 21 home runs.

Washington Nationals outfielder Michael Morse was hitless in five at-bats Tuesday, and after the game the team announced he will miss at least a few days with a sore wrist, with an MRI and X-rays pending. Morse is hitting .273 in September, but the team's goal is October health. Look for Tyler Moore and Roger Bernadina to see more playing time, and each has deep-league value.

Cincinnati Reds right-hander Jonathan Broxton saved Tuesday's win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, his first with the Reds and 24th of the season. Broxton is filling in for lefty Aroldis Chapman, out for a few days with arm fatigue. Don't drop Chapman, fantasy's top closer, but Broxton should pick up saves this week and perhaps beyond.

Boston Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury delivered four hits Tuesday, knocked in a pair of runs for the second consecutive day and stole his 13th base, all on his 29th birthday. For Ellsbury, still 100 percent owned but unproductive in his 250 at-bats this season, it's a reminder what he's capable of. He'll come at considerable discount in 2013 drafts compared to this year, but the stolen base upside, at least, remains.

Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow was tuned up for 11 hits and four runs in 4 2/3 innings by the Seattle Mariners Tuesday, his worst outing since May. Morrow missed two months with an oblique injury, and in his first three starts prior to Tuesday he compiled a 2.59 ERA, but this was an obvious step back. Morrow should bounce back, but the Blue Jays could also shut his season down early.

Similarly, Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Matt Moore didn't have his best stuff Tuesday when he made it through only four innings at Baltimore, needing 94 pitches and giving up three runs (two earned) on four hits and three walks. Moore's ERA since the All-Star break rose to 2.57, which remains tremendous. Trust Moore for his next outing and hope his command returns.