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Bits: Thome makes Orioles debut

7/2/2012

Baltimore Orioles designated hitter Jim Thome was hitless in four at-bats in his Sunday debut with the team, doing so from the No. 5 lineup spot. Thome, acquired from the reeling Philadelphia Phillies Saturday, is expected to see regular at-bats and immediately becomes an AL-only add; Thome hit 15 home runs in 93 games in 2011 and 25 home runs in 108 games in 2010. A few weeks ago in interleague play, Thome had a six-game stretch with three home runs and 13 RBIs. He can hit 12 more home runs.

Chicago Cubs left-hander Travis Wood tossed 7 2/3 shutout innings Sunday, allowing three hits and no walks, lowering his ERA to 3.05. Wood, a helpful fantasy option in 2010, is pitching to that level again; he's made nine starts for the Cubs and only once has permitted more than three runs. A fly ball/strikeout pitcher, Wood has allowed one home run over six starts. He's a viable deep league option.

Minnesota Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe hit two home runs Sunday, giving him 18 on the season, a pace for 37, making him ownable in any format. Of course, Plouffe is not much help in other categories, but the power is legit. Plouffe has actually been dropped in 5.7 percent of standard leagues in the past week, which is odd for someone who will hit 30 home runs, though he might fall short of 75 RBIs and a .250 batting average.

Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman homered among his three hits Sunday and knocked in four. Zimmerman had a cortisone shot in his ailing right shoulder a week ago, and over the past week, hit three home runs, produced 12 RBIs and raised his batting average 18 points. Be wary of more injury setbacks with Zimmerman, but at least now, his owners can trade him if worried.

Boston Red Sox left-hander Felix Doubront allowed only one run in Seattle on Sunday, but was pulled after 4 1/3 innings because he had thrown 103 pitches. Doubront walked five and allowed three hits. The walks were unusual, since he had issued only six free passes in his previous six outings, but Doubront's June ERA was 5.83, and he's already topped his 2011 innings total. He's owned in more than half of ESPN's leagues, but risky to rely on.