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Sports Data APIs for Individuals!
Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes (shoulder) is not in the starting lineup on Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays. Hayes injured his shoulder during a slide into home plate on Thursday, but the injury isn't believed to be serious, and fantasy managers should consider him day-to-day for now. There's a chance that he's available off Pittsburgh's bench against Tampa. With Hayes out Friday, Hoy Park will start at third base and bat ninth against Rays left-hander Jeffrey Springs. The left-handed-hitting Park should be avoided in DFS against a southpaw, and he's gone just 6-for-31 (.194) with a home run and five RBI in his first 14 games with the Bucs in 2022.
Houston Astros outfielder Michael Brantley (shoulder) has been away from the organization for some time. Now, it has been revealed that Brantley is seeking a second opinion on his left shoulder, according to bench coach Joe Espada. The 35-year-old has been sidelined since late June due to a lingering right shoulder issue. It sounds like Brantley is making slow progress, which is not great for fantasy managers. Hopefully, the team will get an update on Brantley after this second opinion. Until then, Mauricio Dubon and Trey Mancini will try and help cover the loss of Brantley.
Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Rowan Wick has been the favorite option in the ninth inning since the trade deadline. On Wednesday, Wick was asked to get a four-out save against the Washington Nationals. He gave up a single to the first batter he faced, but retired the rest of the hitters he saw. The 29-year-old has now put together 10 straight scoreless appearances for Chicago. He'll likely continue getting save chances down the stretch of the season. Fantasy managers who are in need of saves should check to see if Wick is available.
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Ryan Pepiot has been recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City. The 24-year-old will take the mound against the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday. He's posting an impressive 2.76 ERA with 19 strikeouts over 16 1/3 innings in four starts at the MLB level. The Dodgers are without Clayton Kershaw (back) for a few weeks, so Pepiot could stick in the rotation. Pepiot could be an interesting streaming option and is someone who could be worth snagging off the waiver wire while Kershaw is out.
Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Whit Merrifield (rest) is out of the starting lineup for Wednesday's game against the Baltimore Orioles. Fantasy managers don't need to panic as this appears to be a routine day off for Merrifield. Raimel Tapia is starting in his place in center field and batting seventh against right-hander Dean Kremer. Tapia has been fairly decent this season, but doesn't have great streaming appeal. Fantasy managers should expect Merrifield back in the lineup for their next contest.
Minnesota Twins outfielder Byron Buxton (rest) is out of the starting lineup for Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. This appears to be a routine rest day, which seems to happen quite often to Buxton. Nick Gordon will play center field and bat sixth versus right-hander Ryan Pepiot on Wednesday. Fantasy managers should expect Buxton back in the lineup for their next contest. He should continue to see regular rest days down the stretch of the season.
Boston Red Sox skipper Alex Cora said there's a good chance that starting pitcher Michael Wacha (shoulder) returns from the 15-day injured list this weekend against the division-rival New York Yankees. With Wacha returning, left-handed veteran Rich Hill, who started on Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves, will be available out of the bullpen this weekend. Wacha threw 79 pitches in his final minor league rehab start for Double-A Portland on Tuesday and struck out five in 4 1/3 innings, so he shouldn't be on a short leash against New York. The 31-year-old right-hander has been great for Boston this year (6-1 with a 2.69 ERA and 1.11 WHIP), but he'll be a shaky fantasy play in his first start back against the first-place Yankees.
Cincinnati Reds closer Hunter Strickland will be removed from the closer's role after he blew his fourth save of the season in Sunday's win over the Milwaukee Brewers, according to manager David Bell. The skipper said he'll look for different opportunities for Strickland outside of the ninth inning to help him regain his form. Strickland had allowed eight hits and seven runs in his last four innings of work before striking out two in a perfect inning on Wednesday in a 10-2 loss. Bell didn't say exactly who might close out games moving forward, but Alexis Diaz is the best bet for the Reds and fantasy managers in need of saves at this juncture. Diaz has four saves on the year and a great 1.94 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 53 K's in 41 2/3 innings, but searching for saves in Cincinnati won't be a lucrative business in fantasy.
Houston Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. (forearm) will make his season debut on Saturday and start against the Oakland Athletics. McCullers will be activated from the 60-day injured list and make his first start since last postseason. With his return, the Astros will move to a six-man starting rotation. The 28-year-old had a 6.75 ERA, 1.72 WHIP, 17 strikeouts and seven walks in 13 1/3 innings over four minor league rehab starts with Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Sugar Land. He got up to 86 pitches in his final rehab start last Sunday, so McCullers shouldn't be limited in a great matchup against the A's in his first start. McCullers led baseball with 76 walks in 2021, but he also had 185 K's, a 3.16 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in 28 starts. He could be a difference-maker for fantasy baseball squads the rest of the way.
The Oakland Athletics designated veteran second baseman Jed Lowrie for assignment on Wednesday. The 38-year-old has had a rough year at the plate in Oakland, slashing just .180/.245/.263 with three home runs, 16 RBI, 14 runs scored and one stolen base in 184 plate appearances over 50 games played. In 139 games in 2021, Lowrie hit .245/.318/.398 with 14 home runs, 69 RBI and 55 runs scored in 512 plate appearances. At this point in his career, it's unlikely that another team will attempt to claim him off waivers, so there's a chance he'll either return to the A's or become a free agent.
Baltimore Orioles pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez (lat) threw off a full mound on Wednesday for the first time since landing on the minor league injured list in early June. As long as Rodriguez doesn't suffer any setbacks from here on out, the Orioles are optimistic that he'll pitch in games again in 2022. The No. 3 overall prospect in baseball, per MLB Pipeline, Rodriguez was 5-1 with a 2.09 ERA, a 0.84 WHIP and an 80:14 K:BB in 56 innings over 11 starts at Triple-A Norfolk before his injury. He was knocking on the door to join the Orioles rotation, but it remains to be seen if he'll make his MLB debut later this season. Rodriguez should already be stashed in all dynasty/keeper leagues.