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Sunday 17th Dec 2017

If you somehow managed to make it through this past week without getting hit by injury, my cap is off to you.

I am guessing the bottom line is otherwise, and there are so many that let's cut to the chase and look at the injured, and who might benefit with some playing time as a result.

The Orioles have a huge hole at first, but were still confident enough in the wake of Chris Davis going down to release the closest thing they had to a first sacker in Steve Pearce. Nick Markakis has filled in so far, and though David Lough has gotten outfield at-bats, Delmon Young, hitting .306-1-4, should benefit. Super utilityman Steve Lombardozzi might follow the Alberto Callaspo path, and get some time in at first as well. Ryan Flaherty becomes viable as well, but the reality is of all those mentioned, Young and Lombardozzi are the pair whom I would hand time to.

Conor Gillaspie getting hurt in Chicago comes at a lucky time, as the White Sox just got Gordon Beckham back. That means Marcus Semien will continue to see playing time. Semien is an OK play in an AL-only format, and is a nice future play in a mixed league.

Brayan Pena, hitting .286-0-2 with a pair of swipes, becomes the beneficiary in the wake of Devin Mesoraco going down till at least mid-May with a hamstring strain.

Chris Stewart, just activated himself, will get the playing time with Russell Martin also down with a bad hammie. Stewart is not really much of an offensive threat, although his career strikeout-to-walk total is 59 walks to 99 punchouts, which is actually pretty good. If he can hit .250, Stewart can post a .330 or so OBP, though that too might be a stretch.

Chase Headley is out for a bit with a calf strain, and some combination of Alexi Amarista and Jedd Gyorko will cover, most likely with Gyorko, who moved to second from the hot corner last year, moving there and Amarista, who has played six games at third in 2014 for San Diego, more likely a second baseman. Amarista was an interesting minor league player, but he has not really hit with any authority in the Majors, so look elsewhere for now.

Mark Trumbo and Cody Ross played DL yin/yang much like Gordon Beckham and Conor Gillaspie. Trust Ross for sure, although he could be a tad rusty getting back into a groove. But, if available, Ross is as good a sub as you will get and at this time of the year would be a good pick off the reserve list in a mixed format anyway.

Michael Cuddyer also has a hurting hamstring, and that likely means that Charlie Blackmon gets to keep it going, as will Corey Dickerson in the outfield, while Justin Morneau will get everyday play at first. Drew Stubbs could be a gamble, but I like Jordan Pacheco, who was the team's platoon first sacker last year, was their third sacker the year before, and who is the #2 catcher right now as a flexible pick-up who also might get some added playing time. Pacheco has a career .287 average over 254 games and a .353-0-2 line this year over six games.

Bryce Harper addded to his frustrating season by spraining his thumb, again fortuitously just as Denard Span returned from his own injury issues. Washington has Nate McLouth in their outfield, but he has hit an anemic .097-0-0 so far over 19 games, and Tyler Moore, who raised eyebrows in 2012 (10 homers over 156 at-bats) and lowered them last year (.222-4-21 over 167 at-bats). The guy I would watch is Kevin Frandsen, who has played seven games in the outfield, boasts a little speed, and at .267-0-3 boasts the best resume this year of the group.

Jean Segura had the misfortune of walking, face first, into a Ryan Braun practice swing but the Brew-crew will try to make due with Jeff Bianchi during their shortstop's absence. Scooter Gennett did play some short his first year in the Minors, but the question is why would Milwaukee move him in deference to the still lousy hitting Rickie Weeks (.172-0-0) when Bianchi can cover and hit no worse? Segura needed stitches, but is day-to-day.

Anibal Sanchez is down with a laceration on his middle finger, which moves Drew Smyly up the rotation food chain. Smyly is a good addition if available, and the Tigers brought Justin Miller back but really, the bullpen man who has the most experience is Phil Coke. However, Coke is at best mop-up right now. Aside from grabbing Smyly, if available, leave this hole alone.

However, I might take a chance on the Astros' Collin McHugh, who shut out Seattle over 6 2/3 innings, striking out 12 earlier in the week, then came within an out of shutting out Oakland to finish the week. Now 2-0, after starting his career 0-8, McHugh has a minor league resume of 37-28, 3.36, over 652.6 innings with a 1.263 WHIP and 631 strikeouts to 199 walks and 625 hits. He is the guy I would grab this week, even over the White Sox Scott Carroll.

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