Pensive Strasburg (USAT)It's a casual Friday, all bullets, all the time.
• The Washington Nationals were the consensus NL favorite when the season opened, so a 28-27 record to this point (and a minus-22 run differential) has to be seen as a disappointment. And it could be a while before this team is firing on full cylinders.
Washington was able to score a 3-2 victory over the Braves on Friday, but the win came at a cost. Ace right-hander Stephen Strasburg was forced out of the game after just two innings and 37 pitches. It turns out he's battling a strained right oblique muscle.
You can spin this particular injury in a couple of directions. On one hand it seems likely he'll need a disabled list stint, and the timetable for an oblique healing can be an elusive thing. But on the positive side, at least this setback isn't related to Strasburg's arm, elbow or shoulder. It's pesky news for a roto owner, but it could have been a lot worse.
(Saturday PM Update: Upon evaluation Saturday, it was revealed Strasburg actually has a lat strain and it's merely a Grade 1 lat strain, the least severe. He might be able to pitch next week. Stay tuned.)
Strasburg will have someone to keep him company in the rehab room: Washington's other signature star, Bryce Harper, isn't healthy either. A sore knee has kept Harper out of play since Sunday, and the Nationals will probably put him on the DL this weekend. At least the move can be backdated, which means we could see Harper return by the second week of June. Harper's bat and power have been terrific in the opening third of the year (.287/.386/.587), though he hasn't been anything special on the bases (2-for-4). When he's at full health, this is probably one of the Top 12 offensive commodities in fake baseball.
• If you're looking for a plug-and-play outfielder, perhaps Josh Reddick can help you. Oakland welcomed back its right fielder and facial-hair leader for Friday's game against the White Sox, and Reddick wound up driving in the deciding run with a scorched double in the eighth inning. Let's not fret over Reddick's awful .158 start; he was dealing with a wrist injury from the first week of the year. He's capable of hitting 20-plus homers the rest of the way, and he's proven to be handy on the bases as well (16-for-17 since the opening of 2012; five swipes this year). You'll find him free to grab in two-thirds of Yahoo! leagues.
Read More »from Closing Time: Stephen Strasburg hurting again; Josh Reddick, zero to hero