Happy Labor Day everyone, and as we say goodbye to summer, it is important to remember not to say goodbye to your fantasy baseball team as we roll through the last month of the season. Tonight we have a couple of returning players, one young one that I have all the hopes in the world for to finish the year strongly, the other is an older player that I gave up on long ago and took a lot of grief over my rankings of him before the season started. We have news on a couple of the more exciting young players in the majors, as well as an injury not for the Red Sox. But there is so much more than that as we come into the home stretch of the season so please don't miss Rounding The Bases.
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Stephen Strasburg will be returning to the mound for the Washington Nationals the next day that it doesn't rain in DC. Strasburg is scheduled to pitch on Tuesday, but apparently the forecast does not look good, and even if the game does go on, don't expect him to take the mound unless the conditions are optimal. Strasburg had Tommy John Surgery on September 3rd, 2010, so he is returning nearly exactly one year to the day from his procedure. I definitely think he is worth an addition down the stretch as even though the Nats are likely to baby him in his few outings, he could be something special and I would add him to my roster if you were looking for some late pitching help.
Brett Lawrie ended the game in style today for the Toronto Blue Jays, as the rookie third baseman hit a walk off homer to beat the Boston Red Sox, 1-0. That was Lawrie's eighth home run to go with 21 runs driven in and he has only been with the club for 30 games. This kid might be overvalued next season when it comes to draft day he has been so impressive to start his career. I really, really like Lawrie going forward, but just be careful not to stretch too far for him in drafts in 2012, I know it is enticing, but he will be a top seven to nine at his position.
James Shields was remarkable again as he went the distance against the Texas Rangers as he collected his amazing 11th complete game of the year. I know that some of you who might be a little higher in age can remember when pitchers always went the full nine innings, but in today's day and age for a guy to throw this many complete games is something to notice. Shields won his 14th game of the year as he allowed just one run while walking two and striking out six. I have to tell you that I will be avoiding Shields in drafts next year like he has the plague. I can see people drafting him as their number one starter in 2012, and I don't buy a repeat performance. Let someone else make that mistake in your leagues.
Grady Sizemore returned from his latest two month stint out of the lineup today for the Cleveland Indians, and he picked up right where he left off as he went 0-4. I warned you guys in the beginning of the season that this guy has had too many serious injuries to be counted on anymore, and he has proven that to be true as he has only played in 62 games this year, and even when he was in there, he wasn't overly productive. I once LOVED Grady Sizemore's talents and abilities, but sometimes outside factors derail a player's career, and Sizemore is waaaaaay off of the tracks.
I talked about Jesus Montero on Saturday and he made his presence known on Monday at Yankee Stadium as he hit his first career home run against the Baltimore Orioles. But oh no, Montero wasn't done yet as later in the game he cracked his second major league tater, and probably solidified himself some regular playing time over the next week. The Yankees need to find a way to get this kid into the lineup or trade him for next year and he could be a top seven performer as far as fantasy is concerned for catchers, he is that good with a bat in his hands.
Josh Beckett left the game in the fourth inning for the Boston Red Sox with an ankle injury after appearing to catch it on the ground in front of the mound. Beckett also said that he had slipped and fell on a mound before the game in the bullpen, but didn't see that related to why he left the game. This really doesn't sound like anything much to me, although Boston might skip a turn of his with the playoffs approaching and a spot in that tournament already all but assured. Keep an eye on the news from Bean Town to see if you might be without one of your critical starters at perhaps the most critical time of your fantasy baseball season.
A double from Danny Valencia was the only thing between White Sox rookie Zach Stewart and the history books. Stewart allowed just that one hit to the Twins as he struck out nine in an incredibly impressive performance on Monday. I thought Stewart had a chance to be something for Chicago after being traded from the Blue Jays earlier this year, and while he hasn't been very good at all, a performance like this shows you that he is capable. I would watch Stewart's next start before adding him unless you are really desperate for pitching, and how he finishes the season will determine his status for next year.
Casper Wells is day to day with a wrist injury after being hit by a pitch on Sunday. Wells had cooled off significantly, but he was bashing out homers for the Mariners in bunches a couple of weeks ago and he is a guy that I have on my sneaky sleeper list for 2012 if he stays in Seattle. The kid has some power and should hit for a decent average and I think in the right situation he could be a viable fantasy producer. Hopefully he won't be out long and he can have a strong September and open up a few eyes along the way.
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