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Insider

Darvish wins debut; Infante powers up

4/10/2012

Texas Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish struggled initially in his first big league start Monday, allowing the light-hitting Seattle Mariners to score five runs over the first two innings. Then the Japan native settled down to throw four scoreless frames. Darvish lacked command early, but fantasy owners shouldn't be concerned after one outing. He'll win a lot and pile on the strikeouts. Buy low, if possible.

• Meanwhile, San Francisco Giants left-hander Barry Zito shut out the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on Monday! This is why they play the games. Zito, who hadn't tossed a shutout since 2003, allowed four hits and no walks, fanning four. In spring training, he allowed 32 hits and 12 walks in 19 1/3 innings. Sell high. The spring Zito is the real one, and you don't want that one.

• Speaking of selling high, Miami Marlins second baseman Omar Infante smacked a pair of solo home runs Monday. He has three home runs already, after hitting seven in 148 games in 2011. Unless defensive prowess matters in your league, Infante isn't much of a fantasy asset; the last time he hit double-digit home runs was 2004.

Chicago White Sox left-hander Chris Sale won his first big league start Monday, allowing three hits and one run over 6 2/3 innings. Sale, a starting pitcher in college, fanned 111 hitters in 94 1/3 relief innings his first two seasons, and he offers more value for fantasy owners in the rotation. Just be prepared for growing pains and potential fatigue as the season progresses.

New York Mets rookie outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit his first big league home run Monday, a two-run shot off right-hander Edwin Jackson. Nieuwenhuis, currently platooning in center field while Andres Torres serves a disabled-list stint, is an interesting power/speed option for deeper leagues in April, and perhaps beyond if he hits.

• In the crazy world of closers, beleaguered Boston Red Sox right-hander Alfredo Aceves indeed earned another save chance Monday, and after a tough weekend, he finally did the job after Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Sergio Santos again struggled. Keep Aceves and Santos owned. Also, don't expect John Axford to pitch Tuesday after he threw 53 pitches the past two days. For those in daily leagues craving saves, Francisco Rodriguez is a reasonable pickup for today.