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Closing Time: Yuniesky Betancourt hacks into our hearts

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Casual Wednesday rules apply and we'll move straight to the bulletry:

Whatever Yuniesky Betancourt(notes) is having for breakfast these days, pour me a bowl of it too. The much-maligned hacker hit his fifth homer of August in Wednesday's victory over Cleveland, and he's got a zesty .535 slugging percentage since the All-Star break. No one expects this to last much longer, but I'll be the sucker who tries Betancourt for the rest of the week, just for grins (and by the way, Yuni, that's a winning smile you've got there). Remember, we're dealing with the Great Power Outage of 2010, you take the homers where you can get them.

Nothing really played to form at St. Louis, where Randy Wolf(notes) outpitched Adam Wainwright(notes) and John Axford(notes) couldn't slam the door in the ninth. Enter Trevor Hoffman(notes), who got a friendly save assignment – just retire Brendan Ryan(notes) and we'll shower you with the spoils of victory. The Hoff came through with a strikeout, good for save No. 598. Here's hoping the Brewers can get Hoffman to 600 fairly soon, so the ninth can go back to the Axman show. It was the first home loss for Wainwright, incidentally; he's now 11-1 at home with a 1.42 ERA and 0.89 WHIP, just whiffle ball numbers.

Coco Crisp(notes) is starting to look like this year's Rajai Davis(notes), the leadoff man who goes off in the second half of the year and pushes fantasy teams over the top. Cereal Crisp gave us three hits, a homer and a steal on Wednesday afternoon, and he's at .296 in the second half with 14 steals and 20 runs over 29 games. Please don't get hurt, kid. Maybe you can make sense of Crisp's 13-percent ownership tag in Yahoo! leagues; I don't understand it at all.

Has Miguel Cabrera(notes) outgrown the rest of the Tigers? The Motown Masher clubbed a couple of homers in The Bronx – that's 29 and 30 on the season – but it didn't matter much as the Yankees battered Jeremy Bonderman(notes) around and collected nine runs. Curtis Granderson(notes) may have woken up from his season-long slumber, homering in three of his last five games.

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Carlos Gonzalez(notes) has been toying with the National League for most of the summer, so the last thing we wanted to see was Cargo running into a wall in Los Angeles. Gonzalez made the catch, took the hit, and now has a right knee contusion to worry about. We'll see how the club spins this on Thursday.

The Rockies could have a couple of outfield slots to fill come the weekend, as the team was planning to release Brad Hawpe(notes) prior to Thursday's game. It's a mutual decision between player and club – Hawpe's production is way down in 2010 and he's looking to move on anyway. AL-only fantasy owners have their fingers crossed; at this time of the year, you take anything you can get.

Here's hoping we haven't seen the last of Billy Wagner(notes) – he's having a ridiculous year at age 39. He picked up his seventh victory in Wednesday's victory over Washington, he pushed his strikeout total up to 75, and for the campaign he's got 29 saves, a 1.71 ERA and a 0.7 WHIP. Somehow seven blown saves have snuck into the mix (he's only allowed 10 earned runs all year), but nonetheless this has been a dominating season. This particular win had a familiar tint – the Braves won it with a walk-off hit in the ninth, with Jason Heyward(notes) doing the honors.

Jerry Manuel did what he could to lose a ballgame down in Houston, leaving R.A. Dickey(notes) in too long, but ultimately his bullpen bailed him out. Dickey surrendered a game-tying homer to Geoff Blum(notes) in the bottom of the ninth, but from that point on the New York bullpen dominated – Hisanori Takahashi(notes) put down five batters in a row, Bobby Parnell(notes) was perfect for two innings, and Elmer Dessens(notes) and Manny Acosta(notes) both worked a scoreless inning. The post-Rodriguez pecking order remains the same for now, with respect to saves anyway: Takahashi is the leader of the committee, Parnell is second, and then comes everyone else.

I'm stunned that Jonathan Broxton(notes) is getting dropped in some leagues; if that's the case in your group, take advantage of that crazy decision. Broxton worked another scoreless inning on Wednesday – that's three in a row since his demotion – and looks like a safe bet to be back in the ninth inning shortly. Octavio Dotel(notes) was tagged with the loss against Colorado, done in by wildness (three walks, one intentional) and a wild pitch.

The plucky Red Sox might not be going anywhere when October rolls around – the Yankees and the Rays will be hard to catch – but you have to tip your cap to the Olde Towne Team for a respectable year in the face of several injuries. The Red Sox overcame another so-so John Lackey(notes) effort on Wednesday (7 IP, 10 H, 5 R), in part because Adrian Beltre(notes) and Bill Hall(notes) went deep. Daniel Bard(notes) worked a scoreless eighth despite a couple of walks, and Jonathan Papelbon(notes) had a much-needed breeze in the ninth (three strikeouts).

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Injury Blog: Justin Morneau(notes) (post-concussion) took some hacks in the batting cage Wednesday but the Twins have't set a return date on him yet. Post-concussion injuries are always tricky to negotiate. … Ryan Howard(notes) (ankle) is looking at a Monday return. … Jeff Niemann(notes) and Wade Davis(notes) both did throwing in the Tampa bullpen Wednesday, bad news for the Jeremy Hellickson(notes) owners out there. Hellickson is guaranteed to make one more start, nothing past that. … Nyjer Morgan(notes) (hip) should be back with the Nats on Thursday. … Jacoby Ellsbury(notes) (rib) insists he has a chance to return in 2010, but I'll be flabbergasted if he gets back on the field and actually starts stealing bases again. … Michael Young(notes) says his neck is getting better but it's not clear when he'll play again. … Geovany Soto(notes) (shoulder) is expected to be back when first eligible on Sunday.

Speed Round: Derrek Lee(notes) was traded to the Braves for three minor league pitchers, a key addition for Atlanta now that the slumping Troy Glaus(notes) is on the disabled list. … The Reds will add Aroldis Chapman(notes) to their bullpen on Sept 1. … So much for the J.P. Arencibia(notes) excitement – he's been returned to Triple-A. … It's a shame the Rangers won't give Taylor Teagarden(notes) more playing time; he's got four homers in his last eight starts, but it took him three weeks to get those hacks in. … Matt Kemp(notes) got another Joe Torre day off, incredibly frustrating given that the Dodgers play late games more often than not. I wish I had moved Kemp before the Yahoo! trading deadline; he's just 16-for-30 on the bases this year and you never know when Torre will pull the rug out from under him. … Who is Lorenzo Cain(notes) and what's he doing hitting .389 for the Brewers? He's stolen a couple of bases, too. … The Jonny Gomes(notes) story has run out of steam in the second half. He's at .217 since the break, with just six runs batted in.

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