Commentary

Returning stars heat up playoff races

Boston, Philadelphia and Atlanta can expect a boost from returning injured stars

Updated: August 19, 2010, 1:32 PM ET
By R.J. Anderson | FanGraphs
With Chase Utley and Ryan Howard back, the NL East race will go down to the final weekend.

With the trade deadline long passed and the waiver process being complicated, and occasionally inaccessible, due to overzealous rivals, teams must look for alternative avenues of upgrading their roster for the stretch run. Sometimes those improvements come in the way of a farm system producing talent and other times an upgrade is as simple as getting an injured player back. This week in particular is full of the latter for four teams battling for playoff positioning. And in some cases, it's remarkable that these clubs were able to survive without their stars.


To read more about how the return of inujured stars to the Braves, Red Sox and Phillies will affect their playoff odds, you need to be an ESPN Insider.