Week 4 Fantasy Hitting Planner

The Fantasy Baseball Hitting Planner is the essential guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming week. Every week, we provide you with news and notes for each team, tracking hot and cold players, injuries and lineup changes.

All statistics are up to date as of Friday, April 23.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Schedule: @COL3, @CHC4
Heating Up: Stephen Drew is looking like the extra-base machine he was in 2008, batting .500 (6 for 12) with two doubles over his last four games. He also seems to have improved his plate discipline, boasting a .383 on-base percentage. He's a must-start at a weak position. Mark Reynolds seems to have bounced back from a slow start, batting .600 (6 for 10) with two homers and a stolen base over his last three games.
Cooling Off: Chris Young , who looked like he might have finally turned the corner with his hot start this season, is back to his old tricks, going 1 for 22 over his last six games. Facing three left-handers might warm him up, but he's looking like a risky start. Justin Upton has yet to get going this year, carrying an 0-for-14 slump into Friday, but you wouldn't consider benching a stud like him.
Injury Concerns: Reynolds missed Wednesday's game with a quadriceps injury, but the team thinks with the off day Thursday he should be fine for this weekend. He played through the injury Tuesday and hit a three-run homer, so you wouldn't want to bench him in Fantasy if he does return to the lineup.
Platoon Possibilities: The Diamondbacks face three left-handed pitchers this week. Fill-in starter Gerardo Parra could sit for Cole Gillespie or Rusty Ryal in one or two of those games, but the team has yet to designate him a platoon player.
Lineup Changes: Parra is back starting for the Diamondbacks with Conor Jackson (hamstring) on the DL. He has some extra-base pop, but unless he develops more patience at the plate or emerges as a base-stealer, he probably won't have much mixed-league appeal.

Atlanta Braves
Schedule: @STL4, HOU3
Heating Up: Chipper Jones , who slumped to .236 in the second half last year, is starting to look like a .300 hitter again, batting .429 (9 for 21) over his last six games. We all know what he can do when his body allows him. Better get him active while he's healthy. Martin Prado is the one Brave who has hit consistently from the beginning of the season. He's batting .357 (10 for 28) over his last seven games and is still an advisable option in mixed leagues despite his lack of pop.
Cooling Off: Yunel Escobar , who entered the season a career .301 hitter, has looked nothing like one so far, batting .111 (2 for 18) over his last five games. Unfortunately, you don't have many alternatives at the weak shortstop position. Troy Glaus also continues to struggle with just one hit in his last 23 at-bats. He has yet to give you a reason to use him in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Braves face two left-handed pitchers this week. Matt Diaz will for sure start those games, and Nate McLouth will for sure sit those games, but how much the Braves work Melky Cabrera into the mix is still a mystery. All three are hitting under .200, making them not worth using in mixed leagues.
Lineup Changes: None.

Baltimore Orioles
Schedule: NYY3, BOS3
Heating Up: Ty Wigginton , who wasn't even a starter at this time a week ago, is suddenly a sleeper after batting .281 (9 for 32) with five homers over his last nine games.
Cooling Off: Adam Jones struggles from the second half last year have carried over into this year. He's 3 for 26 (.115) over his last six games and isn't worth starting in mixed leagues. Luke Scott is getting the benefit of everyday at-bats but is only 1 for 19 over his last five games. Keep the streaky slugger reserved.
Injury Concerns: Miguel Tejada missed his fourth straight game Wednesday with a strained hip adductor, but the Orioles expect to have him back after the off day Thursday. He's no longer a stud, but because he still qualifies at a weak position like shortstop, his doubles power comes in awfully handy.
Platoon Possibilities: The Orioles face one left-handed pitcher this week. Nolan Reimold will definitely be in the lineup for that game, and Luis Montanez definitely won't be. You can expect Reimold to start some against right-handers too, though.
Lineup Changes: Felix Pie shoulder injury opens the door for Montanez to make a few starts and likely makes Scott an everyday player. The latter is slumping now, but if he gets hot, he'll matter in mixed leagues. The Orioles had gotten so frustrated on offense that they were playing Wigginton at second base before Tejada got injured, which means his bat will remain in the lineup even after Tejada returns. Don't sleep on him if you need middle infield help.

Boston Red Sox
Schedule: @TOR3, @BAL3
Heating Up: After hitting under .250 much of the season, Victor Martinez is finally heating up, going 5 for 7 over his last two games. You'd never consider sitting a catcher with his offensive ability.
Cooling Off: After shocking the world (or at least the Fantasy-playing community) with five homers in his first 11 games, Dustin Pedroia has cooled off a bit with one hit in his last 20 at-bats. He remains a must-start, though. J.D. Drew season is getting worse before it gets better. He's batting .114 (4 for 35) over his last 11 games and should only be starting AL-only leagues until he gets going.
Injury Concerns: After insisting all week Jacoby Ellsbury didn't have broken ribs, the Red Sox learned Thursday he actually has four. No telling yet if he'll still return when eligible Tuesday, but considering the news here has only gotten worse and worse, you should probably play it safe and bench him.
Platoon Possibilities: The Red Sox face two lefties this week, which means if they continue to set their lineup the way they have been, David Ortiz will sit twice for Mike Lowell . Jeremy Hermida and Josh Reddick will also sit twice for Bill Hall and Darnell McDonald , but those platoons only exist because Ellsbury and Mike Cameron (abdominal) are on the DL.
Lineup Changes: With Ellsbury out of the lineup, the Red Sox have shuffled their batting order, moving Marco Scutaro to the leadoff spot, Drew up to second, Pedroia down to third and Victor Martinez down to fifth. The big winners here are Scutaro and Drew, who stand to get far more at-bats and score far more runs in their new roles. They might even get hot enough to matter in mixed leagues.

Chicago Cubs
Schedule: WAS3, ARI4
Heating Up: After some inconsistency early, Marlon Byrd is suddenly unstoppable, batting .524 (11 for 21) over his last five games. He's worth activating in mixed leagues. So is Geovany Soto , who still isn't hitting for much power, but who is getting on base plenty with a .500 (9 for 18) batting average and 10 walks over his last seven games. At a weak position like catcher, that's plenty good enough. Alfonso Soriano has gotten hot against a series of left-handers, batting .417 (10 for 24) over his last seven games. Get the streaky slugger active again.
Cooling Off: Aramis Ramirez , who has been batting under .200 all season, is only getting worse, going 0 for 16 over his last four games. You'd hate to sit someone with his upside, but this is getting ridiculous. Derrek Lee isn't quite struggling enough for you to consider sitting him, but he's batting .100 (2 for 20) over his last five games.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Cubs face just one left-hander this week, so Kosuke Fukudome and Mike Fontenot will both get close to a full week of at-bats. They usually sit for Xavier Nady and Jeff Baker against lefties.
Lineup Changes: None.

Chicago White Sox
Schedule: @TEX3, @NYY3
Heating Up: Juan Pierre is batting .294 (5 for 17) with four steals over his last four games. Not impressed? Sorry, that's about as hot as it gets for this team.
Cooling Off: Carlos Quentin went hitless again Thursday, making him 0 for his last 23. He plays in two great hitter's parks this week, though. If you sit him, you risk missing out on a four-homer week, but that's always the case with players of his caliber. A.J. Pierzynski has just one hit in his last 18 at-bats and is batting .163 (8 for 49) overall. If you play in a 10- or 12-team mixed league, you can probably find better options on waivers.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The White Sox face two lefties this week, but they've started Andruw Jones each of the last three games, suggesting his platoon with Mark Kotsay is over.
Lineup Changes: Manager Ozzie Guillen loves to tinker with his lineup, so you can bet he'll still figure out ways to get Kotsay in there. As long as Jones is playing more or less every day, he's a viable option in mixed-leagues.

Top 10 Hitters Added
Player % Change
1. Ty Wigginton , 2B, Orioles 33
2. Jose Guillen , OF, Royals 31
3. Ivan Rodriguez , C, Nationals 30
4. Ike Davis , 1B, Mets 29
5. Josh Willingham , OF, Nationals 21
6. Alex Gonzalez , SS, Blue Jays 21
7. Cameron Maybin , OF, Marlins 17
8. Scott Podsednik , OF, Royals 14
9. Alberto Callaspo , 2B, Royals 13
10. Chase Headley , 3B, Padres 12

Cincinnati Reds
Schedule: @HOU3, @STL3
Heating Up: Joey Votto is finally looking like the elite player you drafted him to be, batting .444 (8 for 18) with two home runs over his last five games. He had been holding you over with a surprising number of stolen bases, so hopefully you hadn't felt compelled to bench him. Jay Bruce still isn't making consistent contact, but he has three homers in his last four games and has the benefit of facing six right-handers this week. Might be time to start him.
Cooling Off: Brandon Phillips is batting .167 (5 for 30) over his last eight games, but he tends to be a streaky player. You wouldn't want to risk missing out on a monster week from a potential 25-25 guy.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Reds don't face a single left-handed pitcher this week, so how they plan to rotate Drew Stubbs , Chris Dickerson and Jonny Gomes between two outfield position is anybody's guess. You can bet all three will start at some point this week, though.
Lineup Changes: None.

Cleveland Indians
Schedule: @LAA3, MIN3
Heating Up: Asdrubal Cabrera seems to be getting more comfortable in the leadoff spot, batting .417 (10 for 24) over his last six games. He hasn't been stealing bases, but he's still a worthy low-end starter in Head-to-Head leagues because of his extra-base pop.
Cooling Off: Grady Sizemore early-season slump continues, with him picking up just one hit in his last 14 at-bats. Because you invested an early-round pick in him, you can't afford to miss out on his numbers once they come. Just cross your fingers and keep him active. Jhonny Peralta has been even worse in the early going, batting .091 (3 for 33) over his last 10 games. He'll eventually get hot enough for mixed-league use, but you shouldn't touch him right now.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Indians face two left-handers this week, which means Austin Kearns will probably start twice for Russell Branyan . As a platoon player, Branyan would have to get especially hot for you to use him in mixed leagues.
Lineup Changes: One of Michael Brantley and Matt LaPorta had to go to the minor leagues once Branyan returned from a herniated disc, and it ended up being Brantley. As the starting left fielder, LaPorta still has the potential to make an impact in mixed leagues, but considering he has yet to homer this season, he should only be starting in AL-only leagues.

Colorado Rockies
Schedule: ARI3, @SF3
Heating Up: After a slow start, Troy Tulowitzki is finally showing why so many Fantasy owners drafted him in the first round, batting .344 (11 for 32) over his last eight games. Start him in all leagues. Ian Stewart and Brad Hawpe are both justifying the Rockies' decision to play them every day. Stewart is batting .412 (7 for 17) with two home runs over his last six games, and Hawpe is batting .421 (8 for 19) with one homer over his last five.
Cooling Off: Dexter Fowler has surely already slumped his way out of your Fantasy lineup, and if he continues to perform this way, he'll surely slump his way out of the Rockies lineup as well. He's batting .169 (10 for 59) on the season with only one multi-hit game.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rockies face two left-handers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

Detroit Tigers
Schedule: @TEX1, MIN3, LAA3
Heating Up: Johnny Damon is showing he still has plenty to offer in mixed leagues, batting .469 (15 for 32) over his last nine games. Miguel Cabrera has eight RBI over his last five games, batting .381 (8 for 21) with two home runs during that stretch. He's an obvious must-start.
Cooling Off: Magglio Ordonez has slowed down from his hot start, batting .179 (7 for 39) over his last 10 games. Considering he still managed to hit .310 during his down year, this little slump is no cause for concern. Brandon Inge is looking more like the player who hit .186 in the second half last year, batting .136 (3 for 22) over his last seven games.
Injury Concerns: Carlos Guillen strained his left hamstring Thursday and will likely go on the DL, perhaps opening the door for Ryan Raburn to get regular at-bats. Considering he hit 16 homers in 261 at-bats last year, he's worth a flier in AL-only leagues.
Platoon Possibilities: The Tigers face three lefties this week, which only helps Raburn's chances of playing, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: None.

Florida Marlins
Schedule: SD3, WAS3
Heating Up: As weird as it looks, Dan Uggla is still batting over .300 for the season after going 12 for 27 (.444) with two home runs over his last seven games. Keep the thumping second baseman active. Jorge Cantu isn't nearly as hot as he once was, but his hitting streak dating back to last season has reached 20 games.
Cooling Off: Chris Coghlan has struggled all year and only seems to be moving in the wrong direction, batting .067 (2 for 30) over his last seven games. Since he doesn't offer much power or speed, no sense starting him now. Cody Ross is back on the wrong side of streaky, batting .111 (2 for 18) over his last five games. His poor peripherals make him only worth using when hot, so sit him now.
Injury Concerns: Ronny Paulino has been out all week with a strained right quadriceps, but the Marlins think he can return over the weekend. Even if he does, he has virtually no Fantasy appeal as the lesser half of a platoon with John Baker .
Platoon Possibilities: The Marlins face two left-handed pitchers this week, so Paulino, assuming he can play, will start twice for Baker.
Lineup Changes: With Coghlan struggling, the Marlins decided to drop him behind Cameron Maybin in the batting order, making Maybin the leadoff hitter. It's a subtle change for Fantasy purposes, though it could increase Maybin's opportunities to steal bases now that he's no longer batting directly in front of Hanley Ramirez . His potential as a power-speed threat makes him worth owning in Rotisserie leagues.

Houston Astros
Schedule: CIN3, @ATL3
Heating Up: Hunter Pence is the closest thing the Astros have to hot, not that anyone is feeling particularly inspired by a .333 (5 for 15) batting average over his last four games. I still don't know if I'd be ready to start him in a mixed league.
Cooling Off: Pretty much every Astro could fit into this category, but the coldest of the cold is Kazuo Matsui , who has just one hit in his last 24 at-bats. He'll continue to lose playing time to Jeff Keppinger , rendering both just low-end NL-only options.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Astros don't face a single left-handed pitcher this week, but with the return of Lance Berkman from a knee injury, they don't have any lefty-righty platoons anyway.
Lineup Changes: Berkman is back from the DL and playing first base every day. He says the knee isn't quite 100 percent, which puts him at somewhat of a risk for a relapse, but considering his elite potential, you have to get him back in your lineup. Geoff Blum goes back to the bench with his return.

Scott's top sleepers for Week 4
Player Start %
1. Colby Rasmus , OF, Cardinals 51
2. Lance Berkman , 1B, Astros 59
3. Hideki Matsui , DH, Angels 63
4. Alberto Callaspo , 2B, Royals 30
5. Alcides Escobar , SS, Brewers 56
6. Jay Bruce , OF, Reds 57
7. Mike Napoli , C, Angels 40
8. Marlon Byrd , OF, Cubs 35
9. Marco Scutaro , SS, Red Sox 52
10. Justin Smoak , 1B, Rangers 3
* Sleepers are players started in less than 65 percent of CBSSports.com leagues

Kansas City Royals
Schedule: SEA3, @TB4
Heating Up: Jose Guillen is doing his best to make people forget about his miserable 2009, batting .435 (20 for 46) with six home runs during his 11-game hitting streak. He's officially worth starting in mixed leagues. So is Scott Podsednik , who's batting .457 (21 for 46) with seven stolen bases on the season. Jason Kendall has yet to go hitless in a game this season, batting .352 (19 for 54) during a 14-game hitting streak, but his complete lack of power still makes him hard to recommend.
Cooling Off: Rick Ankiel has impressed with his power numbers so far, but he's 0 for 15 over his last four games. You should probably sit him until he comes back around.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Royals face three left-handed pitchers this week, which is bad news for their left-handed-hitting outfield of Ankiel, Podsednik and David DeJesus , not that any consistently sit against lefties. It's good news for Alberto Callaspo , though. He hit .361 against lefties last season.
Lineup Changes: Alex Gordon (broken thumb) is off the DL and starting at third base, but the injury to Chris Getz (oblique) allows Callaspo to remain in the starting lineup at second. His extra-base pop makes him worth a flier in mixed leagues. Gordon has far more upside, but until he begins to show it, he's more of an AL-only option.

L.A. Angels
Schedule: CLE3, @DET3
Heating Up: Hideki Matsui looks right at home as the Angels' cleanup hitter, batting .333 (9 for 27) with two homers and six RBI over his last eight games. He's normally a fringe starter in mixed leagues, but you want him active now. Kendrys Morales seems to be coming around after a slow start, batting .500 (6 for 12) with a homer over his last three, but most likely, you wouldn't have considered benching a player with his power potential.
Cooling Off: Brandon Wood has just one hit in his last 20 at-bats and is batting .087 (4 for 46) overall. He can't keep starting at this rate, can he?
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Angels face one lefty this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Mike Napoli has taken over as the everyday catcher with Jeff Mathis on the DL with a fractured right wrist. Napoli has the power to hit 20-plus homers, but Mathis had always prevented him from getting regular at-bats. Now that he's getting them, he's a sleeper in all Fantasy leagues.

L.A. Dodgers
Schedule: @NYM3, PIT4
Heating Up: Rafael Furcal , who struggled all of last year as he worked his way back from back surgery, continues to look reborn this year, batting .394 (13 for 33) with four steals over his last eight games. At the weak shortstop position, why wouldn't you take a chance on him? Andre Ethier continues to sock the ball since returning to the starting lineup April 13, batting .410 (16 for 39) with five home runs. He's an obvious must-start. Matt Kemp is batting .356 (16 for 45) during his 11-game hitting streak, showing his seven homers aren't all he can do.
Cooling Off: Casey Blake is batting .158 (3 for 19) over his last five games. Considering the Dodgers like to rest the 36-year-old periodically, he's barely worth using in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: On Thursday, Manny Ramirez aggravated the calf strain that sidelined him much of last week. He'll apparently be able to pinch hit over the weekend, but if he doesn't return to the starting lineup, you can't risk starting him in Fantasy. The Dodgers will probably take a cautious approach with him, especially since he didn't give the injury enough time to heal in the first place. Garret Anderson and Reed Johnson will most likely platoon in his absence.
Platoon Possibilities: The Dodgers face three left-handers this week. Blake DeWitt might sit out a game or two for Ronnie Belliard or Jamey Carroll , but that's not a clear platoon.
Lineup Changes: None.

Milwaukee Brewers
Schedule: PIT3, @SD4
Heating Up: Who isn't hot after the team's 20-run outburst at Pittsburgh on Thursday? Alcides Escobar is batting .379 (11 for 29) over his last seven games, finally looking like a viable mixed-league option. Ryan Braun and Casey McGehee are both working on 10-game hitting streaks, batting .452 (19 for 42) and .385 (15 for 39) respectively. Both are must-starts. Jim Edmonds has limited appeal as a platoon player, but he can still hit at age 39, batting .458 (11 for 24) with a homer and six doubles over his last five games.
Cooling Off: Prince Fielder is batting .158 (3 for 19) over his last five games, but he did finally hit his first home run Thursday. You wouldn't sit a player with his potential.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Brewers face four left-handed pitchers this week, making it a bad time to start Edmonds. He'll sit against lefties, allowing Carlos Gomez and Corey Hart to play at the same time. The two will continue to split time against righties
Lineup Changes: None.

Minnesota Twins
Schedule: @DET3, @CLE3
Heating Up: Michael Cuddyer is batting .359 (14 for 39) with three home runs over his last 10 games and has done nothing but solidify his place as a must-start Fantasy option. Denard Span has finally gotten some hits to go along with his walks and steals, batting .385 (10 for 26) over his last seven games.
Cooling Off: Jason Kubel has just one hit in his last 22 at-bats even though the Twins have faced mostly right-handers. His OPS potential makes him a worthy third or fourth outfielder in mixed leagues still. Delmon Young looked like he might have renewed his mixed-league appeal with some hot hitting earlier this season, but he's batting just .056 (1 for 18) over his last five games.
Injury Concerns: Nick Punto , who splits time with Brendan Harris at third base, missed his fifth straight game with a sore groin Thursday. He's such a light hitter, though, you shouldn't bother with him even in AL-only leagues.
Platoon Possibilities: The Twins face two left-handed pitchers this week. Young will surely start instead of Jim Thome in those games, though he plays against plenty of right-handers as well. Leave both for AL-only leagues.
Lineup Changes: None.

N.Y. Mets
Schedule: LAD3, @PHI3
Heating Up: Jose Reyes looks like he's finally coming around after beginning the season on the DL with a thyroid issue, batting .462 (6 for 13) over his last three games. He remains a must-start. Luis Castillo is batting .303 (10 for 33) over his last eight games, but since he offers zero power and little speed, he's just an NL-only option.
Cooling Off: Here we go again with Jeff Francoeur . After the initial excitement over him "finally turning the corner" at age 26, he's batting .038 (1 for 26) with only one walk over his last six games. Suddenly, his stats look rather pedestrian, making him just a borderline starter in mixed leagues.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Mets face one left-hander this week, which means rookie first baseman Ike Davis will likely sit once in favor of Fernando Tatis .
Lineup Changes: The Mets will reportedly hit Reyes third this weekend, dropping him from the leadoff spot. It's an odd move since his speed is greater than his power, and all it can do is decrease his number of stolen-base opportunities. Still, as we've seen with Hanley Ramirez , it likely won't have a huge impact on his Fantasy value. Continue to start him for his elite potential at a weak position. The Mets designated Mike Jacobs for assignment earlier in the week and called up Davis to play first base against right-handed pitchers. He has good power potential but isn't so much of a prospect that you have to rush out and grab him in mixed leagues.

N.Y. Yankees
Schedule: @BAL3, CHW3
Heating Up: Brett Gardner is batting .438 (7 for 16) with four stolen bases over his last six games and is quickly gaining mixed-league appeal. Alex Rodriguez is batting .467 (7 for 15) with two home runs over his last five games, but you should have never had any doubts about him.
Cooling Off: Nick Johnson is hitless in his last 19 at-bats, but he has nine walks during that stretch, keeping his bat in the lineup. He's a potential .300 hitter, so he has to get going sooner or later, but his lack of pop makes him a potential sit in Fantasy. Nick Swisher is batting .091 (2 for 22) over his last six games, but slumps are nothing new for him. You can bench him when he's struggling, but he'll get hot at a moment's notice.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Yankees face three lefties this week, but Gardner and Johnson have both started against the last two lefties, leaving the Yankees without any clear platoons. Both Marcus Thames and Randy Winn could get a start or two this week, but you can leave them for deeper AL-only leagues.
Lineup Changes: None.

Oakland Athletics
Schedule: @TB2, @TOR4
Heating Up: Eric Chavez still has yet to homer, but he's looking like he might not be a complete waste of time, batting .300 (6 for 20) with three doubles over his last six games. You can still leave him for AL-only leagues.
Cooling Off: After hitting well over .300 in the second half last year, Rajai Davis is hitting only .140 (6 for 43) over his last 11 games. But he still has five steals during that stretch, showing why you might not necessarily want to bench him in Rotisserie leagues.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Athletics face two lefties this week, meaning Chavez will sit twice for Jake Fox . The injury to Travis Buck has opened up a platoon in left field, with Gabe Gross and Eric Patterson splitting time against righties and Matt Carson starting against lefties.
Lineup Changes: The Athletics also had to find a replacement for Mark Ellis , who went on the DL with a hamstring injury, and opted for Adam Rosales . The 26-year-old has moderate pop that can make him useful in AL-only leagues, but he's relatively unproven.

Best Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Dodgers @NYM3, PIT4
2. Red Sox @TOR3, @BAL3
3. Brewers PIT3, @SD4
4. Marlins SD3, WAS3
5. Cubs WAS3, ARI4

Philadelphia Phillies
Schedule: @SF3, NYM3
Heating Up: Jayson Werth may have only one home run on the season, but that doesn't mean he's struggling. He's batting .333 (7 for 21) over his last six games and .327 (17 for 52) for the season. Start him in all leagues.
Cooling Off: Shane Victorino had a brief surge in production when the Phillies first moved him to the leadoff spot, but he has cooled off again, batting .111 (2 for 18) over his last four games. Considering he has yet to double and has stolen only one base, he's not beyond sitting in mixed leagues if you have an especially deep bench.
Injury Concerns: Jimmy Rollins , on the DL with a calf injury, has resumed baseball activities and has a chance of returning from the DL as soon as Wednesday. Then again, the Phillies might wait until they return home Friday to activate him, so you shouldn't expect to get more than half a week from him. Better play it safe and keep him reserved one more week. Placido Polanco , who took a pitch off the elbow Wednesday, missed Thursday's game but should be fine for this weekend. Considering his hot start, you have to keep him active.
Platoon Possibilities: The Phillies face three lefties this week, which might help Victorino come around. The team doesn't have any lefty-righty platoons, though.
Lineup Changes: None.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Schedule: @MIL3, @LAD4
Heating Up: Andrew McCutchen is the only player close to hot for the Pirates, batting .318 (7 for 22) with four steals over his last six games. His combination of power and speed makes him a must-start.
Cooling Off: The entire middle of the order is struggling. Garrett Jones is batting .158 (3 for 19) over his last seven games, Jeff Clement is batting .087 (2 for 23) over his last seven, and Ryan Doumit is batting .143 (4 for 28) over his last nine. None are beyond sitting, though Doumit is a little harder to justify since he plays such a weak position.
Injury Concerns: Andy LaRoche missed a fifth straight game Thursday with back spasms, but the Pirates think he'll return Friday. Even if he does, he remains a perpetual disappointment not worth activating in mixed leagues. His usual replacement, Bobby Crosby , has been sidelined with an injury of his own, so Delwyn Young will be the one going back to the bench once LaRoche returns.
Platoon Possibilities: The Pirates face two left-handers this week, so you can expect Clement to sit twice for either Crosby or Young.
Lineup Changes: None.

San Diego Padres
Schedule: @FLA3, MIL4
Heating Up: Chase Headley continues to swing a hot bat, batting .350 (7 for 20) over his last six games to lower his season batting average to .368. He hasn't hit for much power, but he did steal four bases in two games earlier in the week. He's not beyond starting in mixed leagues.
Cooling Off: Moving to the leadoff spot hasn't woken up Everth Cabrera bat. He's batting .176 (3 for 17) over his last five games, so you shouldn't bother starting him unless you're desperate for steals.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Padres face two left-handed pitchers this week, but now that Scott Hairston has seemingly overtaken Tony Gwynn as the primary center fielder, they don't have any lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Gwynn got a start Wednesday, but Hairston started each of the previous five games, suggesting the Padres are ready to trust him with everyday at-bats again. Hairston hit .299 with 10 homers and eight steals in 197 at-bats as an everyday player for them last year, so don't let him go unowned in NL-only leagues.

Worst Five Hitting Schedules
Team Schedule
1. Orioles NYY3, BOS3
2. Royals SEA3, @TB4
3. Padres @FLA3, MIL4
4. Blue Jays BOS3, OAK4
5. Indians @LAA3, MIN3

San Francisco Giants
Schedule: PHI3, COL3
Heating Up: Juan Uribe is doing his best to prove he should remain in the starting lineup even after Freddy Sanchez (shoulder) returns from the DL. He's batting .321 (9 for 28) with two home runs over his last eight games and has become a viable stopgap in mixed leagues.
Cooling Off: After a hot start, Edgar Renteria is beginning to show his age again, batting .132 (5 for 38) over his last nine games. Don't bother with him in mixed leagues. Bengie Molina is 0 for 12 over his last four games, but he was so hot before that stretch that you almost have to ignore it.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Giants face three left-handed pitchers this week, but they don't have any lefty-righty platoons now that Nate Schierholtz has taken over for John Bowker in left field.
Lineup Changes: Bowker just wasn't doing anything at the plate, so the Giants reverted back to Schierholtz as their starting right fielder. He'll have to show more power to matter in mixed leagues, but he's worth a flier in NL-only formats. With Aaron Rowand on the DL with a fractured cheekbone, Eugenio Velez takes over as the center fielder and leadoff man. He has yet to record any stolen bases, but his potential for them makes him worth owning in NL-only Rotisserie leagues.

Seattle Mariners
Schedule: @KC3, TEX3
Heating Up: Casey Kotchman has homered twice in his last four games, showing some long overdue power at age 27. It doesn't necessarily mean anything yet, but it bears watching. He's batting .400 (6 for 15) during that stretch. Ichiro Suzuki is finally playing like the batting title contender everyone knows him to be, hitting .414 (12 for 29) over his last seven games.
Cooling Off: Chone Figgins is hitless in his last 16 at-bats and batting .192 (10 for 52) overall. You might have trouble finding a viable replacement at third base, but you should look into it, at least until he gets going. Jose Lopez is 1 for 16 over his last four games, but streakiness is nothing new with him. Either you drafted him to start every week or you didn't.
Injury Concerns: Milton Bradley , who missed Wednesday's game with tightness in his left calf, should return over the weekend, according to manager Don Wakamatsu. He has shown some signs of life recently, batting .286 (6 for 21) over his last eight games.
Platoon Possibilities: The Mariners face two left-handed pitchers this week. Ken Griffey will surely sit out that game for either Mike Sweeney or Eric Byrnes , but Kotchman might get to play considering his recent hot streak.
Lineup Changes: Adam Moore has gotten to play more recently, but he's still splitting time with Rob Johnson . Not like either is hitting well enough for mixed-league use.

St. Louis Cardinals
Schedule: ATL4, CIN3
Heating Up: Ryan Ludwick has taken off since the Cardinals moved him to the two hole, batting .432 (16 for 37) with three home runs over his last nine games. He'll cool off eventually -- even during his monster 2008 season, he was maddeningly streaky -- but he's a must-start now. Colby Rasmus is further demonstrating his prowess against right-handed pitchers, bouncing back from a poor week against three lefties to hit .438 (7 for 16) with three home runs over his last four games. In a righty-loaded week, you want him active.
Cooling Off: For all the runs the Cardinals scored over their last four games, Albert Pujols hit only .118 (2 for 17), which goes to show he's not a one-man team anymore. He's still a one-man Fantasy team, though. Keep him active.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Cardinals don't face a single left-handed pitcher this week, which means Rasmus should continue to rake. Skip Schumaker should get to play a full week, but his lack of power and speed limits his appeal to NL-only leagues.
Lineup Changes: None.

Tampa Bay Rays
Schedule: OAK2, KC4
Heating Up: Not only has Carl Crawford found his legs over the last week, stealing five bases in his last seven games, but he has also fine-tuned his stroke, batting .533 (8 for 15) over his last four. Start him.
Cooling Off: Ben Zobrist was 3 for 26 (.115) heading into Thursday's game, but then he went 3 for 5 with two doubles. Chances are he'll break out soon, so keep him active. After a hot start, Carlos Pena has slowed down, batting .182 (4 for 22) over his last seven games. The streaky slugger is one of those Adam Dunn or Dan Uggla types who you have to ride through the cold streaks for fear of missing out on the hot ones.
Injury Concerns: None.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rays face one lefty this week, so Gabe Kapler will spend most of his time on the bench. He usually forces Ben Zobrist back to the infield against lefties, bumping one of Sean Rodriguez and Reid Brignac from the starting lineup.
Lineup Changes: Rodriguez, who hit six home runs this spring, went 3 for 5 with a homer Wednesday, but the Rays went right back to Brignac on Thursday. As long as the two split at-bats, you shouldn't bother with either in mixed leagues.

Texas Rangers
Schedule: DET1, CHW3, @SEA3
Heating Up: Michael Young is finally starting to look like the .312 hitter he had been over the last seven years, batting .310 (9 for 29) over his last seven games. If you benched the 33-year-old when he got off to a cold start, time to activate him again.
Cooling Off: Elvis Andrus , who recently took over leadoff duties from a struggling Julio Borbon , has himself struggled since moving into the top spot, batting .176 (3 for 17) over his last six games. You can start him for steals, but nothing more. Taylor Teagarden is a complete failure as the team's starting catcher, going 0 for 22. Expect to see more of Matt Treanor until Jarrod Saltalamacchia returns from the DL.
Injury Concerns: Ian Kinsler , out with a high ankle sprain, is set begin a rehab assignment in the next day or two and potentially return by the end of Fantasy Week 4 (April 26-May 2). But because he wouldn't play more than a game or two, you should keep him reserved one more week. Saltalamacchia (back) has already begun his rehab assignment, but the Rangers haven't set a clear timetable for his return. Considering he still hasn't established himself as a clear-cut starter, you can keep him reserved.
Platoon Possibilities: The Rangers face two left-handers this week, but with Chris Davis going down to the minors, they don't have any clear lefty-righty platoons.
Lineup Changes: Buried the lead there, didn't I? After watching him hit .188 with no homers over his first 48 at-bats, the Rangers had finally had enough of Davis, sending him to the minors in favor of top prospect Justin Smoak . Smoak has had a high walk rate throughout his minor-league career, making him a more polished player than Davis even though he has yet to play a major-league game. He's still growing into his power potential, but given his upside, he's worth a flier even in deeper mixed leagues.

Toronto Blue Jays
Schedule: BOS3, OAK4
Heating Up: Vernon Wells is doing his best to match his 2009 numbers in the month of April alone. He remains as hot as ever, batting .357 (10 for 28) with two home runs over his last seven games.
Cooling Off: Travis Snider has two homers over his last six games, but he's still batting just .190 (4 for 21) during that stretch. He has plenty of potential, but without consistency, he's worthless in mixed leagues. John Buck has just one hit in his last 16 at-bats, confirming his place as an AL-only option.
Injury Concerns: Aaron Hill , who has been out since April 7 because of a hamstring injury, is set to come off the DL on Friday. As long as he gets through the weekend without incident, he's a must-start in Fantasy. Hard to replace his 30-homer power at a position like second base. The platoon of Mike McCoy and John McDonald will go back to the bench once he returns.
Platoon Possibilities: The Blue Jays face three lefties this week. Randy Ruiz might replace Snider for a couple of those games, but until his role becomes clear, you should avoid him in AL-only leagues.
Lineup Changes: With Edwin Encarnacion going on the DL with a shoulder injury, Jose Bautista has moved in from the outfield to play third base, and Fred Lewis has taken over as the everyday left fielder. Lewis has some extra-base pop and serviceable speed, but you can leave him for AL-only leagues, especially since he's hitting just .188 (3 for 16) so far.

Washington Nationals
Schedule: @CHC3, @FLA3
Heating Up: Ivan Rodriguez , getting the majority of the playing time with Jesus Flores still recovering from shoulder surgery, has suddenly emerged as a viable mixed-league option, batting .449 (22 for 49) with multiple hits in nine of his first 13 games. Ryan Zimmerman had a nice streak going in between hamstring injuries, batting .455 (10 for 22) with two home runs. If he recovers from this most recent one in time, you'll want him active.
Cooling Off: The ever-streaky Adam Dunn has yet to get going, batting .167 (4 for 24) over his last seven games. He's the kind of player who could explode for five homers in a week, though, so you can't afford to bench him.
Injury Concerns: Zimmerman, who missed five games earlier this year with a strained left hamstring, now has a strained right hamstring. This injury apparently isn't as bad as his first, leaving the door open for him to return as soon as Saturday, but you never know with hamstrings. If he still isn't back in the lineup by Sunday, you might want to look into other options.
Platoon Possibilities: The Nationals face two left-handers this week, so you can expect Justin Maxwell to start twice for Willie Harris . Neither matters outside of NL-only leagues.
Lineup Changes: None.

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Senior Fantasy Writer

Raised in Atlanta by a board game-loving family during the dawn of the '90s Braves dynasty, Scott White was easy prey for the Fantasy Sports, in particular Fantasy Baseball, and has devoted his adulthood... Full Bio

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