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Bits: Harper hits third in Nats lineup

5/4/2012

Washington Nationals prodigy Bryce Harper batted third Thursday night, going 1-for-3 with an RBI double. Harper, 19, certainly looks like he belongs in the big leagues so far, and after hitting in the No. 7 lineup spot for four games, ESPN Fantasy's most-added player stands to get more RBI chances now.

Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Joe Blanton tossed a three-hit shutout at Atlanta on Thursday, his first complete game since 2007, issuing no walks and fanning six while throwing only 88 pitches. Blanton is a forgotten member of Philly's rotation fantasy-wise -- he's owned in only 2.1 percent of leagues -- but after missing most of 2011, he looks rejuvenated, with a 2.83 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. Those numbers should rise, but he definitely has win potential.

Pittsburgh Pirates left-hander Erik Bedard fanned 11 St. Louis Cardinals over five innings Thursday, allowing two runs to earn his second win. Bedard might not stay healthy for long, but he has 27 strikeouts in his past three starts, covering only 17 innings, and he hasn't allowed more than two runs in any of his six starts.

Seattle Mariners outfielder Mike Carp singled in four at-bats Thursday, getting his first hit and RBI of the season. Carp was starting for the first time since coming off the DL this week. He missed a month because of a shoulder sprain. After hitting 12 home runs in roughly a half-season in 2011, Carp was a 23rd-round pick in ESPN average live drafts, but he's down to 19.4 percent owned. He's worth adding in 12-team leagues.

Chicago Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster tossed a gem in his first start off the DL Thursday, allowing three hits over eight shutout innings. Alas, shoddy bullpen work cost him the win, but Dempster lowered his ERA to 0.95. He remains winless in four starts, but at least he's healthy again, and he has 29 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings.

Cleveland Indians right-hander Justin Masterson won his first game of the season, allowing three runs over 6 1/3 innings at U.S Cellular Field on Thursday. Masterson's ERA (5.20) and WHIP (1.51) remain inflated from his poor April, but he's a decent buy-low choice after thriving most of 2011. Masterson's walks remain a problem, but he induced 12 ground ball outs against the White Sox, his fifth time in double digits in six starts. It's a good bet he'll drop more than a run off his current ERA soon.

Have a great weekend!