How to deal with Bautista, Lawrie injuries 

June, 23, 2014
Jose Bautista, Brett LawrieGetty ImagesJose Bautista's (left) injury may wind up being minor, but Brett Lawrie's has him headed for the DL.

Injuries are often the great equalizer in the standings for real teams and the fantasy versions, and Sunday’s unlucky squad was the Toronto Blue Jays. Several key offensive pieces of the AL East leaders missed the end of the 4-3 loss in Cincinnati and at least one of them figures to miss considerable time.

Let’s start with the most valuable option; slugging outfielder Jose Bautista left in the third inning with left leg/knee tightness after running out a bunt attempt, and an MRI is pending. For now it doesn’t sound so serious, which is important since Bautista entered Sunday’s action as the No. 17 option on the ESPN Player Rater, among the leaders in the power categories, though he has been awfully quiet the past few weeks. For now we hold our collective breath Bautista, who missed 124 games the previous two seasons with various injuries, is just fine because his absence is not only a real bummer but could also affect first baseman/cleanup hitter Edwin Encarnacion, currently the most valuable Blue Jay on the Rater. If a disabled list stint is warranted, among the outfielders with power, playing well of late and available in more than half of ESPN’s standard leagues include J.D. Martinez of the Detroit Tigers and Steve Pearce of the Baltimore Orioles, and if you need speed it’s James Jones of the Seattle Mariners. Outfield isn’t so deep; Brock Holt of the Boston Red Sox is actually owned in more than 50 percent of leagues.