Brandon Webb – Strained Ligament In Right Shoulder – Brandon is looking to come back at the end of April from his injury. Yahoo has his Average Draft Position at 162 (14th round) with names like Zambrano, Oswalt, Kuroda and Slowey being taken around him. I think this is about right for him to be drafted. If you need to take a chance to win, you may draft him a few rounds earlier to make sure he is around. If healthy, he could be one of the games best pitchers, but he has not had good luck getting this shoulder healthy. Here are some pitchers that are available that can be inserted until Brandon is healthy: Andy Pettitte (48% owned), Clay Buchholz (44%), Paul Maholm (30%) and Shawn Marcum (22% – I like putting him on bench normally and see how he performs).
Gil Meche – Stiff Lower Back – If he is available for the start of the season, I would be surprised. This back injury could continue for a while knowing Gil and his history of injuries. In the game he was removed, he didn’t make it 56 pitches until the pain set in. Once he does start a game, you may want to sit him and see how he does. If you planned on Gil’s innings, you may want to search the waiver wire now for a replacement. Look at some of the pitcher recommended under Webb.
Chien-Ming Wang – Torn Right Shoulder – Chien-Ming is currently recovering from surgery. I don’t think he can be counted on this season, even though right now he is looking to return mid-May. He is only owned in 2% of all leagues, so when he goes officially on the DL, he can be stashed away awaiting his recovery.
Daisuke Matsuzaka – Tight Back – Dice-K finally debuted this last Thursday. There was no apparent problems with this outing, but it was just his first real outing and he has been known to hide injuries before. It looks like he will begin the season on the DL, but should return within a couple of weeks if everything goes fine. Stash him on the DL, find a replacement listed above and when he does come back, maybe wait a start or two to see how he is pitching.
Joe Nathan – Torn Right Elbow (Ulnar Collateral Ligament) – He had surgery this past Friday and the best return date will be opening day 2011. If you are in a non-keeper league, drop him. In a keeper league, I may stash him on DL in a AL-only or deep league. Hopefully you will be able to find a few keepers better than an injured Nathan, maybe not. For replacements, it looks like Jon Rauch will be getting the first crack at saves in Minnesota with Matt Guerrier next in line if Jon can’t cut it. Some relievers that are available that should get some saves are Chris Perez (46% owned), Matt Capps (43%) and Matt Lindstrom (31%).