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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fantasy baseball: Second base replacement options

The likes of Robinson Cano, Dan Uggla, Rickie Weeks, Ty Wigginton, Kelly Johnson, Juan Uribe, Martin Prado and Howie Kendrick have made up for the fact that three of the preseason top five players at second base have suffered major injuries.

Twelve players who are eligible at second base in many leagues have hit at least nine home runs this season, 14 have compiled 35 RBI or more, and 11 have scored at least 42 runs.

This week, however, was not one for feel-good stories, puppies and long walks on the beach.

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is on the disabled list with a broken left foot. The injury won't require surgery, but the 2008 American League MVP likely will miss about six weeks. That leaves his return in the Aug. 7 range -- the end of Week 18 of the regular season.

The Phillies' Chase Utley joined Pedroia on the DL on Tuesday, and Thursday it was disclosed Utley has a broken thumb that could sideline him for eight weeks. That might mean Utley will be out of your lineup through Week 21.

Then there's the case of Baltimore's Brian Roberts, whose infrequent injury updates get more gloomy each time. At best, he'll be back in August, but I wouldn't plan on Roberts helping you the rest of the season.

If you're among the affected, the players mentioned in the first paragraph were drafted or are long-gone waiver-wire acquisitions.

That leaves you searching for a bargain. Here are 10 players who could be decent starters in deeper mixed and AL- and NL-only leagues. All stats are through Wednesday:

1. Sean Rodriguez, Rays (owned in 22 percent of the leagues on The third-year player earned regular at-bats by hitting .289 with four homers, 15 RBI, 12 runs, five steals and an .828 OPS in June.

2. Carlos Guillen, Tigers (40.7 percent): He moved to second base upon returning from the DL on May 28. The switch made Guillen relevant in fantasy again, as he batted .293 with three homers, 12 RBI and an .803 OPS in June. He's no longer a stolen-base threat, but Guillen can help you in batting average, homers and RBI.

3. Clint Barmes, Rockies (19 percent): He's playing shorstop in Troy Tulowitzki's absence, and he's a powerful option no matter which middle-infield spot you select. Barmes had 23 homers and 76 RBI in 2009, and he hit .313 with 14 RBI and an .858 OPS in 80 June at-bats. For the season, he has six homers and 38 RBI, but beware his batting average (.247).

4. Gordon Beckham, White Sox (37.7 percent): He's been a bust thus far -- .207 average, two homers, 20 RBI and 29 runs in 246 at-bats. In 2009, Beckham batted .270 with 14 homers, 63 RBI, 58 runs and seven steals in 378 at-bats. He seems to regaining that form of late. Beckham is 6-for-18 (.333) with five runs scored, one homer, two doubles, a triple and four RBI in his last six contests.

5. Mike Aviles, Royals (29.1 percent): He will be a boost to your batting average and runs scored, but not much else. Aviles, a career .300 hitter, batted .317 in May and .333 in June. But he hasn't homered since May 9 and has 12 RBI and two steals in 180 at-bats.

6. Freddy Sanchez, Giants (19.8 percent): A .299 career hitter, Sanchez has similar assets as Aviles. Since he was activated from the DL on May 19, he is hitting .291 with 18 runs, one homer, 19 RBI and zero steals in 141 at-bats.

7. Cristian Guzman, Nationals (29.4 percent): He's also eligible at shortstop, and was surprisingly productive in 2008 and '09 (combined averages of .301, eight homers, 54 RBI, 75 runs and five steals). Guzman struggled in June (.236) and has only one homer and 21 RBI on the season.

8. Felipe Lopez, Cardinals (3.5 percent):
Since he is filling in for an injured David Freese at third base, Lopez likely would be a temporary aid. In his last four games, he is 7-for-16 (.438) with four runs. In 2009, Lopez batted .310 with nine homers, 57 RBI and 88 runs with Milwaukee and Arizona.

9. David Eckstein, Padres (4.6 percent): This would strictly be a desperation move. Eckstein is a decent hitter (.281) and might steal 10 to 15 bases (he has five this season).

One really long shot

Tribe shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera hasn't played second base since 2009, but he is eligible there in some leagues and his broken forearm caused many owners to drop him. He's available in more than 73 percent of the ESPN leagues.

He could return in late July -- just in time to help you for a month until Utley comes back.

For fantasy updates, follow Kevin Kleps on Twitter.

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