<
>
Insider

Bits: Pettitte, Ichiro have 'vintage' days

9/20/2012

New York Yankees lefty Andy Pettitte made a triumphant return to the mound Wednesday with five scoreless innings, allowing four singles and striking out five. Pettitte hadn't pitched since June after suffering a broken ankle on a line drive. His ERA after 10 starts is 2.97, with a strikeout per inning, and he comes recommended for his next outing against the Twins.

• That other New York team received an excellent performance from its younger starter: New York Mets right-hander Matt Harvey allowed one hit and one run over seven terrific innings. Harvey, 17 years Pettitte's junior, will be shut down for the rest of 2012. He finishes with a 2.73 ERA in 10 starts and figures to be very much in demand next season, perhaps a top-30 starting pitcher.

Oakland Athletics lefty Brett Anderson left his Wednesday outing after 2 1/3 innings because of a strained right oblique muscle. Anderson had allowed three hits, three walks and three runs. In Anderson's first 32 innings this season, as he returned from Tommy John surgery, he permitted two earned runs. In his last three innings, however, he was charged with eight. Anderson is owned in 85 percent of leagues, but this injury will likely end his regular season.

• Yankees outfielder Ichiro Suzuki had an amazing Wednesday, getting hits in seven of eight at-bats and stealing four bases, all of the steals in the second game of the doubleheader. Suzuki raised his season batting average to .277 and has 25 steals, good enough to vault him back into the top 50 outfielders on the Player Rater. Suzuki isn't a must-own, but he still can help fantasy owners.

San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval smacked a three-run homer in the first inning Wednesday, then later stole his first base of the season. Sandoval has missed time because of hand and hamstring injuries, the former likely affecting his power, as he has only nine home runs in 95 games. Still, a healthy and perhaps slimmer Sandoval will be a worthy buy-low option for 2013.

Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp homered and scored three runs in the second game of Wednesday's doubleheader. Kemp is clearly fighting shoulder woes, and he hasn't delivered first-round fantasy value, but he's going right back into my top 5 for 2013. Kemp is hitting .304 with 19 home runs and nine steals, so it could be worse. Invest again with confidence.