<
>
Insider

Bits: Morneau on track to play in opener

3/29/2011

Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau singled in three at-bats Monday, but more importantly, he's been in the lineup for four consecutive games. Morneau's concussion symptoms might not be completely past him, but he'll likely be in the lineup when the Twins open their season this week. Perhaps you can still draft him at a discount.

Detroit Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer had a miserable outing Monday, allowing 12 runs (11 earned) while retiring only seven Baltimore Orioles. Scherzer's final spring training ERA was 10.38. "It is what it is," he told reporters. "Spring training is over and it's time for the season. I wished I had a better spring training, but I didn't." Fantasy owners shouldn't panic here. Scherzer claims he's healthy, and remains a top-25 starting pitcher option.

• Roster spots are at a premium, which is why we're seeing late-March trades. The Texas Rangers sent backup catcher Matt Treanor to the Kansas City Royals on Monday. Why does this matter in fantasy? Mike Napoli becomes the sole backup catcher to Yorvit Torrealba. Napoli, with 66 home runs the past three seasons for the Los Angeles Angels, was fighting for at-bats at first base (Mitch Moreland) and designated hitter (Michael Young), so this deal helps him. Don't let Napoli slip out of the top 10 draft-day catchers.

• Third baseman Josh Fields, who hit 23 home runs in 100 games as a Chicago White Sox rookie in 2007, was dealt from the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Colorado Rockies for cash or a player to be named. Fields might seem a remote possibility to contribute, but Ian Stewart has been dealing with knee problems. Those in NL-only leagues might want to make Fields a reserve option.

• Those seeking cheap speed in NL-only leagues couldn't have been pleased to see the Washington Nationals trade utility man Alberto Gonzalez to the San Diego Padres on Monday. Due to this deal, shortstop Everth Cabrera will play regularly at Triple-A Tucson rather than run occasionally in the majors.