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Bits: Jacoby Ellsbury returns from DL

8/5/2010

A nation can rest easy, as New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez mercifully hit his 600th home run Wednesday, breaking a drought of 12 games and 46 at-bats. Rodriguez was slumping, and surely some fantasy owners had panicked, but he remains on pace for 26 home runs and 134 RBIs. Buy low, if possible.

Boston Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury returned to the lineup, going hitless in five at-bats. Ellsbury, who broke ribs in early April and has played in 10 games all season, shouldn't be hampered, even in stolen bases. Activate him -- or sign him, since he's owned in 92.9 percent of ESPN leagues -- immediately.

Houston Astros left-hander J.A. Happ allowed seven runs in an inning-plus against the St. Louis Cardinals. His ERA rose from 1.27 to 4.01. Happ's problem continues to be walks, with 19 (three Wednesday) in 22 1/3 innings. The ball Albert Pujols hit 500 feet for a three-run homer was another problem.

Toronto Blue Jays catcher John Buck left Wednesday's game early with a right thumb injury and later was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Buck, who entered Wednesday sixth among catchers on the ESPN Fantasy Player Rater, is owned in fewer than half of leagues, but can be dropped now. Those in deep leagues should consider replacement J.P. Arencibia, hitting .303 with 31 home runs and 32 doubles at hitter-friendly Triple-A Las Vegas.

Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Vicente Padilla surrendered only two singles in shutting out the first-place San Diego Padres, lowering his ERA to 3.09. Padilla struck out nine and walked two. The Padres aren't offensive juggernauts, but still, give Padilla credit; owned in fewer than a third of ESPN leagues, he hasn't allowed a run in three of his past five starts, and his home ERA sits at 1.61.

Minnesota Twins right-hander Scott Baker has frustrated fantasy owners, but hopefully Wednesday's eight shutout innings in Tampa are a harbinger of better times. Baker allowed three hits and fanned seven. He's a noted second-half pitcher and worth owning based on track record.