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O's hitters thrive, Yanks batters plummet

Posted: Tuesday May 3, 2005 2:01PM; Updated: Tuesday May 3, 2005 4:33PM
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Jason Ellison
Jason Ellison has added a spark to the Giants' veteran lineup.
Harry How/Getty Images

Injuries continue to wreak havoc on bullpens around baseball, while Baltimore Orioles hitters continue to shred American League pitchers. Here's the latest on who's stock is rising and who's is sinking.

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1. Jason Ellison, Giants: San Francisco's outfielders have had injury problems, and Ellison has made the most of the opportunity. Batting leadoff, he's hitting .447 with four steals. He's picked things up lately, going 10 for his past 18. With Moises Alou and Barry Bonds showing the effects of their age, Ellison should get plenty of playing time throughout the season.

2. Derrick Turnbow, Brewers: It's his turn as Milwaukee's closer. So far, so good. He's picked up three saves since April 24 and hasn't allowed an earned run since April 12.

3. Derrek Lee, Cubs: The slugger never has driven in 100 runs in a season, but he's on pace to end that trend. With Sammy Sosa in Baltimore and Nomar Garciaparra on the shelf, Lee is Chicago's No. 1 power threat, and he's taking advantage of the Friendly Confines.

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4. Justin Duchscherer, A's: Octavio Dotel has settled down in the closer's role, but Duchscherer has been lights out (0.54 ERA) and could pick up some spare saves and late-inning wins, especially since he has seven appearances of more than one inning.

5. Khalil Greene, Padres: San Diego's shortstop will take on a rehab assignment this week. If all goes well, he will return to the lineup early next week.

6. Justin Morneau, Twins: Nobody could've expected Morneau to return from his concussion and play this well. In eight games since coming back he's hit two homers, driven in nine and batted .424.

7. O's hitters: Brian Roberts is still on fire. Miguel Tejada is showing why he may be the best hitter in the game. Melvin Mora has erased a poor start. Imagine what could happen if Sosa returns to form.

8. Jody Gerut, Indians: Gerut began a rehab assignment Monday for his torn ACL. He's expected to return to the big club in 10-14 days. It'll be interesting to see how Gerut responds after a disappointing 2004.

9. Lyle Overbay, Brewers: It's amazing what a few big games can do for a batting average this time of year. Overbay was hitting .262 on April 23. A string of solid games -- capped by a 5-for-5 effort on Sunday -- has Overbay sitting on a .355 mark.

10. Bruce Chen, Orioles: With the Orioles hitting the cover off the ball, all of their starters should benefit. Chen has helped himself, though, turning in only one bad outing this season -- and that was against Boston. The left-hander has tossed at least six innings in each of his five starts and has a solid 23/9 K/BB ratio.

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1. Bernie Williams, Yankees: Someone had to pay for New York's slow start. For some reason, it's Williams, who has lost his job in center. Expect him to DH against left-handed pitchers, since he's batting .345 from the right side. Of course, in the AL, southpaws are few and far between.

 2. Jim Thome, Phillies: This is not good. Thome has been troubled by a bad back all season. He aggravated the injury Saturday and looks to be headed to the DL. Even before the flare up, Thome was batting .203 with one homer, 12 RBIs and 23 strikeouts in 24 games. My No. 1 fantasy rule when it comes to injuries is beware of any back problem. Players never seem to be the same after suffering one.

3. Wilson's on the Pirates: Both had solid years in 2004, but that seems to have been an aberration. Jack is batting .163, Craig .250. The duo has combined for no homers, two doubles and four RBIs.

4. Jake Westbrook, Indians: After a career year in 2004, Westbrook has been hurt by inconsistency and poor run support. He's had three starts in which he's given up two earned runs or fewer. In his other two outings, he was tagged for 16 earned runs 

5. Chipper Jones, Braves: A minor bone bruise has turned into something bigger. Jones hasn't started since April 23 and he's since been limited to pinch-hitting duties. And with the Braves in Florida this week, he'll have to shake off the rustiness against some top-flight hurlers.

6. Ryan Franklin, Mariners: Throughout his career, Franklin's ERA and ratio's haven't been terrible, but he can't rack up wins. The same thing has happened this year. He started the season with three terrific outings, but has been bombed in his past two games, allowing 12 earned runs in 9 1/3 innings, and sits at 1-3.

7. Jim Brower, Giants: Well, that was fast. Brower was supposed to help fill in for Armando Benitez and pick up some saves. In his second opportunity to do so Monday night, Brower blew the save. He picked up a save in his first shot last Saturday, but still allowed an earned run. Expect this experiment to end quickly.

8. Roy Oswalt, Astros: Houston's bats finally are heating up, but Oswalt could miss his next start Friday after spraining his right foot Sunday.

9. Jason Giambi, Yankees: Unfortunately for the himself and the Yankees, Giambi has picked up where he left off in 2004, when he batted .208. With all eyes on him, the former MVP is hitting .228 and has looked even worse at the plate. Giambi, who never was healthy last season, left Saturday's game with an arm cramp and was out of the lineup Sunday and Monday.

10. Juan Rincon: Take him out of your lineup immediately. He's out for 10 days after violating baseball's drug policy.

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