Closing Time: Another of 1999's brightest stars has fallen

We'll end each day of the MLB season with a review of performances, injuries, and closer implosions that have fantasy significance. This wrap-up will be called "Closing Time," and it will usually happen late. Sorry, it's for vindicated juicers only.

First RJ, then Pedro, then Sheff, and now the deepest cut of all...

Mike Hampton is back on the DL.

'Duk interviewed the filmmaker, Mac Thomason, back in February. This quote was particularly moving:

Mike Hampton represents us all. All of us are doomed to decay and death, but made unaware, save for brief moments, by their slowness. Hampton, in the sudden disasters that afflict him, allows us to perceive our inescapable doom.

And now Hampton has an injured pectoral muscle.

You? Still doomed.

But try not to focus on that right now. You've got a rotisserie team to manage...

* Nate McLouth began the fantasy season owned in only 5.8 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Today he went 2/4 with a double, one RBI, and his first stolen base of the season. The Pirates' leadoff hitter is 7/18 after five games. Xavier Nady had his usual 2/4 day, since it's April.

After going 3/4 with a homer, the 4.8 percent-owned Ryan Doumit is now hitting .533. He's making a strong case to be a starting fantasy catcher in mixed leagues.

There are no other Pirate hitters of distinction at the moment.

* Shaun Marcum pitched a terrific game against the Red Sox today: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K. We addressed his odd pre-draft ranking in this article. Marcum entered the year 44.3 percent-owned.

* The Giants' lineup picked a lousy day to have a four-run outburst. The Brewers scored 13 today, seven of them charged to Jonathan Sanchez (4.0 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 8K). The 38.3 percent-owned Bill Hall homered twice and drove in six. He should officially qualify at 3B in Yahoo! leagues next week. Salomon Torres had a three-inning save, but that's the least of your worries, Gagne owners.

* Carlos Quentin went 2/5 with two RBI and a homer today, but he'll lose any fantasy relevance when Jerry Owens returns from the DL next week. The 6.0 percent-owned Owens will steal bases, and he'll likely be a liability in every other category. I don't consider those "cheap steals," but many do.

Scott Linebrink looked great for the White Sox today. He pitched a perfect eighth, striking out two.

* Huge start for the 4.0 percent-owned Micah Owings: 6.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K. Head-to-head streamers should keep him in the rotation. Justin Upton went 3/5 with his second home run of the season -- and his first came off the immortal Johnny Cueto, savior/bane of your fantasy season. Upton is still available in roughly 20 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

* Ramon Hernandez woke up, but Adam Jones' player photo has not.

* Two more steals and a 3/4 night for Twins' centerfielder Carlos Gomez. He bunted to reach base in the first inning, and the play wasn't at all close. Gomez began the year 1.7 percent-owned. Scott Baker allowed three early runs today, but recovered well. He's widely-available, and worth situational starts.

The broadcasters spent a lot of time discussing Billy Butler's physical appearance in the first inning today. Not quite like Evans does it, but still. There's something magical about Butler that stirs a certain type of dude.

* Not a bad line for the 1.3 percent-owned Justin Duchscherer tonight: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K.

* But an even more impressive line from the 56.6 percent-owned Hiroki Kuroda, making his major league debut: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. Chad Billingsley relieved him since the Dodgers had a six-run lead. You can't really argue with the way Billingsley has been deployed this year, can you? He was available because of that odd, unsuccessful third-of-an-inning earlier in the week.

* Two semi-important names to the DL: Michael Cuddyer (dislocated finger) and Chad Cordero (shoulder). The move with Cordero was retroactive to March 27, and Jon Rauch will continue to close.

* Sounds like Miguel Batista will start for Seattle on Saturday, crushing the hopes of those of us who wanted a closer with SP eligibility, even for a little while. I'm not dropping Batista until it officially happens, though.

* The Rangers' David Murphy stubbornly refuses to stop hitting. He stole a base tonight, but he's not really a serious threat to do that very often.

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