Bits: Dan Haren dominates Mariners


Los Angeles Angels right-hander Dan Haren fanned 14 Seattle Mariners in his four-hit shutout Thursday, a dominating performance that lowered his ERA to 3.76 and gave his owners hope. Haren, the ninth pitcher and 38th player taken in ESPN average live drafts, has two wins in 10 starts but can and should be trusted to improve.

St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese homered, doubled and scored three runs Thursday and has 10 home runs and 33 RBIs on the season. Freese is owned in all leagues, but knowing his injury history -- 97 games is his career best -- he might be viewed as a sell-high option, especially because he's hitting .208 in May. Currently the No. 10 third baseman on the ESPN Player Rater, Freese should end up in that range.

The No. 9 third baseman is Miami Marlins speedster Emilio Bonifacio, but he wasn't in any box scores Thursday. His DL stint will last another month, at least, after the announcement he'll need thumb surgery Friday. So far, Marlins fill-ins are proving inadequate; Logan Morrison, Chris Coghlan and Kevin Mattison were 0-for-11 Thursday. In deep leagues, Greg Dobbs, who had two hits and an RBI on Thursday, is adding value.

Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau homered twice Thursday and in his past seven games has four home runs and four separate three-RBI performances. Alas, if we're wondering about Freese's durability, Morneau is a bigger risk. He seems to be past wrist, knee and concussion woes, but it's a wise time to float his name out there in trade talks.

Cincinnati Reds right-hander Homer Bailey held the Atlanta Braves to four hits and two runs in six innings Thursday, evening his record at 3-3. Bailey isn't looking like a future ace, but he has 13 strikeouts in his past two outings, and is on pace for a career-best 147. In 12-team leagues he's a sixth starter with upside, and it's worth noting his best career work has come after the All-Star break.

Cleveland Indians right-hander Justin Masterson outdueled the great Justin Verlander on Thursday, allowing one run in seven innings, but the five walks remain disconcerting. Masterson is on pace for 125 walks, which explains his 1.49 WHIP. He walked 65 hitters all last season. Until Masterson shows signs of throwing more strikes, don't bet on 2011 numbers.