Sun Apr 03 05:50pm EDT
So this was really not a good day for the Tampa Bay Rays. The team placed Evan Longoria(notes) on the 15-day disabled list with an oblique injury, originally suffered on Saturday. Early reports suggest that Longoria will miss at least three weeks. Sean Rodriguez(notes) got the start at third on Sunday, and he figures to get all the work he can handle over the next month (and earn new position eligibility). Rodriguez is a power/speed threat, definitely on the radar for mixed leaguers. But, obviously, he doesn't fully replace Longoria's projected contributions.
If you're a Longo owner about to visit the free agent pool for a short-term pickup, here are a few options, each available in more than 65 percent of Yahoo! leagues (so David Freese(notes) doesn't quite make the list):
Chase Headley(notes), SD, 24 percent owned
Jose Lopez(notes), COL, 9 percent (he would have hit fifth on Sunday, but the game was PPD'd)
Edwin Encarnacion(notes), TOR, 15 percent
Alex Gordon(notes), KC, 29 percent
Jhonny Peralta(notes), DET, 28 percent
Chris Johnson(notes), HOU, 15 percent
Danny Valencia(notes), MIN, 15 percent
To be perfectly honest I didn't really want to include those last four, but otherwise it would have barely qualified as a list, so there you go. Let's get back to talking Tampa.
The other reason this was a lousy day for the Rays is that the Orioles completed a series sweep against them. Tampa Bay lost 5-1, as Zach Britton(notes), a 23-year-old left-hander, looked awfully sharp in his major league debut (6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K). But the odd thing is, everyone has looked sharp against the Rays so far. The team has scored just three runs in three games — facing Jeremy Guthrie(notes), Chris Tillman(notes) and Britton — and they fielded an ugly lineup on Sunday. While Longoria is sidelined, you might actually consider picking on the Rays in fantasy. You probably can't do it this week, though, because most of the starters scheduled to face Tampa are already owned (Weaver, Haren, E. Jackson, Danks).
Bonus topic: Britton is a terrific prospect coming off an excellent spring (1.35 ERA in 20.0 innings) , but I'm not really in the habit of recommending young AL East starters for mixed league fantasy purposes. He doesn't figure to be a high-K starter in the bigs (7.3 minor league K/9); if he breaks out this year, he'll be another expert's success story.
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