The Athletics are in a miserable 12-35 funk right now and could be the AL's worst team. They've got the worst offense in the majors. There's not a ton to be optimistic about.
Oh, except the schedule. The A's played a double-header Thursday and get another one Saturday, a boon to fantasy players looking to double-dip at this time of the year. A run here, an RBI there, a sneaky steal, these things decide fantasy championships.
Doubleheader streams were on the menu in the Y! Friends & Family League into Thursday, as Rajai Davis, Jack Cust, Mark Teahen, Eric Patterson and Bobby Crosby all got a 24-hour contract. The Oakland side of that was a bit frustrating for fantasy players because Bob Geren submitted two very different lineups (stripping us of the extra at-bats), but you get the idea Geren will be less rest-conscious with Saturday's twin-bill in Baltimore, given that the A's have Sunday off.
I was the guy who rostered Davis, and I'll give him some run through the Baltimore series. He played just one game Thursday but it was a productive effort (two runs, a hit and a walk, one steal), and he's been surprisingly valuable over the last three weeks (15-for-50, seven steals). This isn't a long-term play, but one of the fun parts of mixed-league roto, to me, is the burners, the grab-use-dump guys you have a short dance with. This is one of those times.
• B.J. Upton has a torn labrum in his left shoulder, an injury he's prepared to play through, the St. Petersburg Times reports. He'll need surgery in the offseason. "At this point there's nothing I can do about it, especially with Carl (Crawford) and Evan (Longoria) already out," Upton said. "It's a little too late in the year, especially with the position we're in, for me to pull up lame." Since the shoulder popped out in May, he's got five homers over 387 at-bats and a mediocre .388 slugging percentage. As for Longoria (wrist), he will travel with the club on the road trip that starts Friday, but there's no timetable for when he might be able to play.
• The other scalpel dropped with Ian Kinsler; he's going to have season-ending surgery on his sports hernia. We're still waiting for that elusive full season from Kinsler, who's missed at least a month in each of the last three years.
• Kevin Gregg (knee) hopes to return to the Marlins a week from Friday, albeit he admits that's an "optimistic goal." In the meantime it's a full-fledged committee here, with Matt Lindstrom and Joe Nelson the main characters.
• This entire CT has taken an Injury Lap shift, but wait, there's more: Justin Duchscherer (hip) had a setback in his bullpen session Thursday and won't pitch this weekend. With the Athletics nowhere near playoff contention, you have to wonder if we're at "shut it down" time . . . Carlos Quentin (forearm) might be back Friday, but it will be a longer wait for Carlos Zambrano; he has rotator cuff tendinitis and isn't expected back until Sept. 14 at the earliest. Sean Marshall picks up for Z this weekend in Cincinnati. Random fact: Carlos apparently means "Free Man" in Spanish . . . Kevin Youkilis (back) remains day-to-day into the Texas series which begins Friday . . . Chipper Jones (laundry list, including a sore knee) got back into the lineup Thursday and reached base four times. We all love Chipper, but he's pretty much day-to-day for the balance of the year . . . Bobby Abreu (wrist) and Hideki Matsui (day off, perhaps in part due to Scott Kazmir) were held out of Thursday's play . . . Ronnie Belliard suffered a pretty bad groin strain Thursday and is probably done for the year.
• Speed Round: Casey Kotchman got back to the Braves Thursday after an 11-day absence for personal reasons. He went 0-for-3 with a walk. Let him clear his head a bit before you roll with him . . . I don't know what's wrong with Craig Hansen, but something sure is. He took the loss in a messy appearance at Cincinnati (three runs, retired just one batter) . . . Jeff Keppinger had a grand finale to the Pittsburgh series, putting up a 2-1-1-2 line and drawing a walk. He's swung the bat a lot better the last two weeks . . . Kenny Rogers is so easy to hit, even Gary Matthews can do it (four knocks, raising the average to .236) . . . Travis Snider hit his first big-league homer Thursday and has six hits over the last two days, so maybe it's time for the Jays to give him a better batting slot . . . Mike Babcock insists he won't play Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg on the same line this year. Wait, it's not hockey season yet - but it will be soon.
• Handshakes: Francisco Cordero (27) didn’t have great command, but he meandered through a scoreless inning (stranding two runners) . . . The Padres aren’t going anywhere but don’t blame Trevor Hoffman (28), who’s been great in the second half . . . Mike Gonzalez (9) converted again, and this cat hasn’t blown a save chance since June of 2004 (that’s 39 in a row). Bring that question to trivia night and you should drink for free . . . Joakim Soria got the win in the opener for Kansas City, so Ramon Ramirez (1) was needed for the rogue save in the nightcap. Ramirez has been somewhat useful for the Royals in 2008 (2.86 ERA, a strikeout per inning), though he’s dodging control issues (29 walks in 63 innings) . . . Dan Wheeler (11) got the final out for Tampa when Jason Hammel fell apart.