- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com Senior Writer
Chicago White Sox first baseman Adam Dunn smacked his 12th home run of the season Monday, notable for a few reasons. For one, it came off Detroit Tigers left-hander Drew Smyly. Last season Dunn was historically awful and did not homer off a southpaw. Also, he's surpassed his 11 home runs from last year. Dunn is on pace for 54 home runs, and while that's optimistic, this is the fellow you drafted early in 2011 expecting 35-plus of them.
Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Jeff Niemann left in the second inning Monday after an Adam Lind grounder in the first fractured his right leg. He will miss at least a month, and fantasy owners in all formats can let him go. It's a shame, as Niemann was off to a strong start, with what were career bests in ERA, WHIP and strikeout rate. Look for Alex Cobb to join the rotation, not Wade Davis, but Cobb is worth a look only in AL-only formats.
Cleveland Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, struggling with a .236 batting average, singled and drove in the winning run in four at-bats Monday. However, the story was Choo hit leadoff, the first time he had done so this season and only the third time in his 573-game career. Perhaps this will invigorate Choo; he is taking walks and stealing bases. Don't give up on him yet. As for Johnny Damon, the struggling leadoff hitter the previous few weeks, he hasn't hit and could be running out of time.
Washington Nationals left-hander Sean Burnett earned his first save of the season Monday, relieving a wild Henry Rodriguez after he loaded the bases with walks. Rodriguez allowed a walk-off grand slam to Joey Votto Sunday and earned a vote of confidence from manager Davey Johnson on Monday, but it's likely that Burnett or Tyler Clippard gets the next save opportunity. Meanwhile, former closer Drew Storen (elbow) could return in early June.
Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Rod Barajas homered Monday, his second in the past week and of the season, and while it might seem like there's no reason to consider the veteran, note that he has averaged 18 home runs the past three seasons. That's good for a catcher. Barajas doesn't hit for average, but the power is legit, and he probably has 15 more home runs in him for those in deep formats.