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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.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fantasy baseball: David Ortiz and other difficult interleague decisions

I was amazed at how undervalued David Ortiz was in three of the drafts in which I participated prior to the season.

Maybe owners forget about him when they look over their rankings during the draft because the Red Sox designated hitter doesn't have another position.

Or maybe it's times such as these that scare most of you away.

Ortiz and the Red Sox will play three games at Philadelphia to close Week 6 of the fantasy season -- this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

That's three games in which Ortiz likely will be limited to pinch-hitting duties.

That's three games that could result in you benching a player who is batting .348 with seven homers, 25 RBI, 24 runs and a 1.026 OPS in 132 at-bats.

I wouldn't sit Ortiz unless you are loaded with utility options. The reason: The Red Sox play a pair of home games against Seattle, followed by two contests at Tampa Bay prior to the weekend, meaning Ortiz will still get four starts this week. Combine that with the likelihood he will get two or three at-bats in Philly as a pinch hitter, and Big Papi should, at worst, compile 18 to 20 at-bats this week.

If you go by Ortiz's season numbers, he would tally roughly seven hits, a homer, four RBI and four runs in 20 at-bats.

Start him.

Let's look at how the May 18-20 interleague schedule will impact other notable American League hitters:

-- Adam Dunn, White Sox: The White Sox play three games across town at Wrigley Field this weekend, likely meaning Dunn will play at least one game at first base. I would sit him because of his batting average (.250) and horrifying strikeout numbers (50 in 120 at-bats), but if you need power, you should keep playing Dunn. The big slugger has 11 homers and 26 RBI.

-- Kendrys Morales, Angels: He's been strictly a DH this season, and he's batted .313 in his comeback from a scary leg injury in 2010. The problem: Morales has mediocre-to-poor numbers everywhere else -- three homers, 11 RBI, 10 runs and a .791 OPS. Combined with the Angels' three games at San Diego's pitcher's haven (Petco Park), Morales is a risky play in most weekly leagues. Sit him.

-- Ryan Doumit, Twins: Doumit has played a combined 21 games at catcher and right field this season, so the Twins' weekend series at Milwaukee won't affect him as much as other part-time designated hitters. In deeper leagues, I'd keep him in my lineup at catcher. Doumit has four homers and 21 RBI on the season, and he's driven in nine runs in his last eight games.

-- Jesus Montero, Mariners: Seattle plays at Coors Field this weekend, which could limit Montero to about five games this week. But he's played enough at catcher (13 games) and provided sufficient pop (five homers and 17 RBI) to start him behind the plate in deep mixed leagues and AL-only formats.

-- Michael Young, Rangers: Don't even think twice. The Rangers will find a spot in their lineup for at least two of their three games at Houston for Young, who has played first, second and third base this season.

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