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Starting Pitchers: April 12th

The season is just a week old, so most starters haven’t gotten a chance to pitch their way out of a job or get hurt yet. Let’s check in on the status of some rotation spots around the league.

Jeff Niemann. The 6-foot-9 Rays’ hurler took a line drive off his pitching shoulder last week, but is on track to make his next start on Tuesday at the Orioles. Baltimore has a .308 wOBA as a team through their first six games, but that’s probably not going to last. I’d keep Niemann on the bench until we’re sure the shoulder isn’t an issue.

Gil Meche. The Royals’ highest paid player returned from some spring shoulder issues to predictably get his brains beat in by the Red Sox on Sunday. Gilgameche hasn’t been an effective pitcher since last June and is owned in just 2% of Yahoo! leagues, so he’s not worth your time. Resist the temptation of his 2007-2008 success.

Chris Young. San Diego’s highest paid player was placed on the DL with shoulder tightness yesterday after having surgery on the joint last year. The team has yet to announce his replacement, but the early favorite is fellow shoulder injury All Star Tim Stauffer, who had a good spring and has been strong in two long relief outings (5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K). The 27-year-old is owned in exactly 0% of Yahoo! leagues, but if you’re in an NL-only or deep mixed league, the Petco factor might make him worth a pick up

The Nationals have swapped Garrett Mock for Livan Hernandez, but that move shouldn’t have any fantasy impact for any league anywhere. Maybe Livan is worth a shot if your league counts bulk innings and bats not missed, but otherwise don’t bother.

One starter yet to make an appearance this year is Phil Hughes of the Yankees, but he’s scheduled to get to call on Thursday to start at home against against the Angels. You’ll probably want to sit him and his 43.2% career FB% in that game, but his next start would come in Oakland, which is always a favorable matchup from a stadium and a quality of lineup faced perspective. Hughes is owned in 65% of Yahoo! leagues, and if he’s still available in yours, gobble him up. That goes double if you’re in an AL-only or deep mixed league. The Yankees are going to score a ton of runs for the 23-year-old, and their bullpen is good enough to preserve a lead for four innings. Just make sure you pick your spots with him until he gets in a groove.