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Insider

Stephen Strasburg impressive in return

9/7/2011

&#8226 Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg tossed five shutout innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday in his first big league start of the season after recovering from Tommy John surgery last year. Expect two, or perhaps three, more outings this month, and you'll want Strasburg, ESPN's most-added pitcher, active for them.

&#8226 Detroit Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello, five months younger than Strasburg but already in his third season, delivered 6 1/3 strong innings Tuesday, allowing three hits and one run to earn his 13th win. Porcello isn't the safest September option, however; his ERA in August was 6.82. Be careful trusting Porcello.

&#8226 Meanwhile, Porcello easily beat Cleveland Indians right-hander Fausto Carmona, who allowed seven runs while retiring just four hitters Tuesday. Forget about Carmona's flashy 3.19 ERA since the All-Star break; that number has risen to 4.15. Carmona, with eight outings this season of six or more runs allowed, is just not worth the risk in fantasy.

&#8226 Texas Rangers outfielder David Murphy homered, doubled twice and knocked in four runs Tuesday, his second four-hit game in a week. Murphy, playing regularly with Nelson Cruz on the DL, has raised his batting average 20 points already in September. He's one of ESPN's most-added hitters, but he's still available in 75 percent of standard leagues.

&#8226 Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia smacked his 15th home run of the season Tuesday and notched his fourth multi-RBI game in his past eight starts. Saltalamacchia remains available in 92.5 percent of ESPN leagues despite the home runs and his reasonable .250 batting average.

&#8226 Speaking of catchers, the Colorado Rockies unveiled Wilin Rosario on Tuesday. The 22-year-old went hitless in three at-bats, though he walked and scored a run in his big league debut. Rosario hit 40 home runs over the past two minor league seasons, and the lure of Coors Field is attractive. Keeper-league owners take note.