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Insider

Derrek Lee homers twice in Pirates debut

8/2/2011

&#8226 Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Derrek Lee enjoyed his return to the NL Monday, homering twice for his new team. Lee, hitting cleanup in front of fellow weekend acquisition Ryan Ludwick (he was 0-for-3) while Andrew McCutchen returned to leadoff duties, hit six home runs for the Baltimore Orioles in July with 19 RBIs, so his power has been trending up. The Pirates -- and NL-only owners -- are pleased to see it. Lee is owned in 43.4 percent of leagues.

&#8226 Shortstop Rafael Furcal made his first start for the St. Louis Cardinals, leading off and getting a single and a walk in four official at-bats. Furcal actually raised his batting average one point to .197. OK, so he hasn't had a good season, but Furcal did have three multi-hit games and two stolen bases last week for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He's not a bad gamble for fantasy owners or the Cardinals.

&#8226 Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered, doubled, scored two runs and knocked in two more Monday night, reminding mixed-league owners he should be owned in far more than 9.3 percent of ESPN standard leagues. Saltalamacchia enters Tuesday as the No. 2 catcher on the Player Rater during the past month, behind only Mike Napoli.

&#8226 Atlanta Braves right-hander Jair Jurrjens allowed five runs in five innings in Washington Monday, losing for the first time in eight outings. However, Jurrjens sports a 6.26 ERA since the All-Star break. Regression was predicted from his sub-2.00 ERA, but this is a bit much. Fantasy owners might have waited too long to sell high.

&#8226 Those who bought low on Florida Marlins right-hander Javier Vazquez are being rewarded; Vazquez threw seven innings of one-run ball at Citi Field Monday, lowering his ERA to 4.88. Most of the season hasn't been pleasant for Vazquez, but he was 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA in July.