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MLB News and Notes: Week of April 16

In early April, no sample size is too small. We’re just a few games into the 2018 season, and some fantasy owners are already reading way too much into everything.  Take a gander at social media or listen to sports/fantasy baseball radio. Players who’ve started slow are wastes of space, while players who’ve started hot are this year’s fantasy MVPs. There are still about 150 more games to play, so a lot’s going to happen. It’s way, way early. Resist the urge to view the early goings through a pessimist’s lens. But what you can do is be diligent about following what is going on in the world of fantasy and MLB.

One of the biggest factors that MLB fans and fantasy owners have had to deal with this April is the weather. Four MLB games had been postponed before noon ET on Sunday. In total, six games were postponed on Sunday. The last time six MLB games were postponed was Sept. 12, 2008.  The Tigers and Yankees had all of their weekend games postponed. Imagine if you are a Giancarlo Stanton or Aaron Judge owner, especially in a league that does weekly lineups.  That is not to mention the fact that some of these games are still played in awful conditions.

However, this is a good time for fantasy owners to target certain players that may have started out the season slow. Take a look at your opponents’ rosters to see if you can make a deal for a struggling player. Let them be the one who panics; not you.

The Baltimore Orioles placed second baseman Jonathan Schoop on the 10-day disabled list Saturday with a right oblique strain. Schoop felt discomfort in his right side after a swinging strikeout to end the top of the seventh inning, and he felt it again when fielding a grounder in the field in the bottom half of the frame.  Tim Beckham moved over from third base to second for Saturday’s game, and Danny Valencia got the start at third base. Also, the Orioles recalled pitcher Alex Cobb. Cobb started Saturday’s game and was tagged for eight earned runs in 3.2 innings pitched. Even though this start was against the red-hot Red Sox, Cobb will have to show more to be fantasy relevant.

Mookie Betts left Saturday’s game against the Orioles early, but an X-ray revealed nothing more than a bruised foot. He sat out Sunday’s game and may return as early as Monday, so monitor his situation. The Red Sox put J.D. Martinez in the outfield for this game and slotted Hanley Ramirez as the DH.  The Red Sox have also indicated that Drew Pomeranz felt good after his second rehab session and could return to the rotation within a week. Manager Alex Cora said Saturday that Pomeranz is likely to start either the final game in Anaheim on Thursday or the first game in Oakland on Friday. Pomeranz would be a nice addition if he’s still available in your league.

Anthony Rizzo is scheduled to return from the DL on Monday. Rizzo has been dealing with a stiff lower back since earlier this month. He’s been taking swings in the batting cage since late last week, and manager Joe Maddon said Rizzo is “feeling really well.” However, with Monday’s forecast showing snow in the morning and chilly low 30-degrees at first pitch at 6:05 p.m local time, the Cubs won’t hesitate to pull him out of the game if the situation warrants.

Taijuan Walker was pulled from Saturday’s start with right forearm tightness. As of now, there are currently no exams scheduled. However, the Diamondbacks have placed him on the DL.  Arizona hasn’t named who will take Walker’s rotation spot, but Braden Shipley appears to be the top candidate.

Don Mattingly said Sunday that he expects J.T. Realmuto (back) to be activated from the disabled list this week. Welcome news for catching starved fantasy lineups.

Realmuto has also been linked to trade rumors involving the New York Mets.

The Brewers’ Ryan Braun had to exit Saturday’s contest with back tightness. He didn’t start on Sunday but did appear as a pinch-hitter. He should be back in the starting lineup soon.

Dodgers third baseman Logan Forsythe, who had been playing through some weakness in his right shoulder for six weeks, was put on the disabled list Sunday. Enrique Hernandez started at third base for the first time this season and should see most of the playing time there.

Kevin Kiermaier will undergo an MRI on Monday on his injured right thumb and is likely headed for the disabled list. Johnny Field and Rob Refsnyder could be in line to see more time in the Rays’ outfield as Keirmaier’s replacements.

Johnny Cueto will rejoin the Giants’ rotation on Tuesday in Arizona. His tender ankle held up well in Saturday’s rehab session. Cueto has started well this season, allowing only one earned run in two outings.

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