Let’s welcome back Ben Revere.
The speedy center fielder completed a five-game minor league rehab assignment on Tuesday night at Triple-A Syracuse -- playing a full nine innings in his fifth rehab game -- and the Nationals are expected to activate him from the disabled list ahead of Thursday night’s series opener at Wrigley Field.
Revere was 3-for-16 (.188) on his rehab assignment with just one stolen base, but there is no lingering discomfort in or around the oblique muscle that he strained in the Nationals’ regular-season opener back on April 4 and he should get everyday playing time right out of the gate as manager Dusty Baker tries to get some semblance of production out of the leadoff spot.
Entering play Wednesday, leadoff hitters in Washington were sporting a combined .181/.220/.302 batting line for the season. And then Michael Taylor went 1-for-6 (.167) as the Nationals’ leadoff man and fill-in center fielder on Wednesday afternoon in Kansas City.
Taylor should remain on the Nationals’ major league roster, with Matt den Dekker probably heading to the minors, but Taylor’s playing time is going to take a serious cut and he’s only a borderline stash in standard mixed fantasy leagues. Including his 1-for-6 on Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium, the 25-year-old outfielder is slashing .184/.221/.296 across 104 plate appearances this season. Taylor might be able to steal some starts in left field from veteran Jayson Werth if he can get it going offensively in his new part-time role.
Revere’s fantasy stock remains sky-high as a guy who can still steal 25-plus bases and score 80-plus runs at the head of a very good Nationals lineup. He hit .306/.342/.377 with 31 steals and 84 runs scored in 152 games last season between the Phillies and Blue Jays before getting traded from Toronto to Washington in January for reliever Drew Storen.
Revere racked up 49 steals and an NL-high 184 hits in 151 games with Philadelphia in 2014.
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O’s Closer Britton On Quick Mend
We can also welcome back another big fantasy name in the D.M.V. area.
Orioles closer Zach Britton has been sidelined since April 30 -- last Saturday -- because of a sprained left ankle, but he was able to throw a 10-pitch bullpen session Wednesday afternoon without issue and manager Buck Showalter even suggested that the left-handed stopper might be available for Wednesday night’s game against the Yankees. Britton did not wind up appearing in the 7-0 loss, but we will probably see him in Thursday’s series finale even if there is no save opportunity.
Britton, 28, owns a 2.70 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, and 13/2 K/BB ratio in 10 innings this season out of the Baltimore bullpen and he is 6-for-6 in save chances. He owns a sensational 1.84 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and 154 strikeouts in 152 innings since the beginning of the 2014 campaign, tallying 79 saves in that span. Darren O’Day will return to a setup role after vulturing one save on Tuesday night versus New York. He also earned a save on April 7 against the Twins with Britton getting the day off. There’s reason to have O’Day rostered in deeper, non-holds leagues. And he’s obviously a gem in leagues that count both saves and holds.
Real Deal Realmuto?
Marlins manager Don Mattingly has tried a few different looks at leadoff since Dee Gordon got hit with an 80-game PED suspension late last Thursday night. 42-year-old Ichiro Suzuki batted leadoff the day after the announcement, and Derek Dietrich got a shot the next night. But the answer for Mattingly might be catcher J.T. Realmuto, who has been penciled into the leadoff spot the last two games and is 4-for-8 with two doubles and two runs scored in that role. He’s doubled in four straight games.
Realmuto can claim nine career stolen bases in the majors and he tallied 18 steals in just 97 games at Double-A Jacksonville in 2014, so this isn’t your typical heavy-legged backstop. Including his 3-for-4 performance on Wednesday night against the Diamondbacks, the 25-year-old is slashing .329/.341/.482 through 88 total plate appearances this season. He was ranked a top-100 prospect last winter by both MLB.com and Baseball America, and now his fantasy stock is suddenly rising quickly.
National League Quick Hits: Giants second baseman Joe Panik (groin) is doubtful to play before Saturday … Eugenio Suarez went 3-for-4 with three RBI in the Reds' 7-4 win over the Giants on Wednesday … Cubs right fielder Jason Heyward remains day-to-day with lingering right wrist discomfort … Brewers outfielder Domingo Santana was held out again Wednesday with nagging shoulder soreness … Steven Matz fired 7 2/3 shutout innings Wednesday in the Mets' blanking of the Braves … Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy finished 4-for-5 with three RBI in the Nationals' 13-2 rout of the Royals on Wednesday … Justin Bour was held out of the Marlins’ lineup Wednesday after dislocating his left pinkie on Tuesday night … Diamondbacks infielder Jean Segura is still day-to-day with a hip issue … Jon Lester tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings Wednesday in the Cubs' 6-2 victory over the Pirates … Cardinals outfielder Tommy Pham began a minor league rehab assignment Wednesday with Triple-A Memphis … Tyler Chatwood fired eight innings of shutout ball in the Rockies’ defeat of the Padres on Wednesday … Phillies closer Jeanmar Gomez took his first blown save and loss after giving up two runs in the ninth Wednesday against the Cardinals … Giancarlo Stanton went 2-for-3 with double, a two-run homer, and a walk in Wednesday's victory over the Diamondbacks … Nick Markakis was held out of the Braves’ starting lineup Wednesday due to a family emergency … Padres starter Tyson Ross (shoulder) still has not been cleared for throwing … Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Wednesday that he has increasing interest in free agent Tim Lincecum … Pirates catcher Elias Diaz underwent a debridement procedure Tuesday on his injured right elbow … Dodgers director of player development Gabe Kapler announced Wednesday that Erisbel Arruebarrena has been suspended for the rest of the season "for repeated failure to comply with the terms of his contract.”
American League Quick Hits: Yankees placed 1B/DH Alex Rodriguez on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring … Angels starter Garrett Richards has been dealing with dehydration and fatigue all week and is questionable for his Friday start against the Rays … Mariners slugger Dae-Ho Lee went 2-for-4 with a pair of home runs and three RBI in Wednesday's win over the Athletics … Hanley Ramirez was scratched from the lineup for Wednesday's game against the White Sox due to flu-like symptoms … Corey Kluber threw his first shutout since 2014 in the Indians’ defeat of the Tigers on Wednesday … Angels fill-in closer Joe Smith earned his second save Wednesday afternoon against the Brewers … Avisail Garcia remains day-to-day with a tweaked hamstring … A’s outfielder Coco Crisp was on the bench Wednesday because of a sore heel and a “non-baseball” medical issue … Edwin Encarnacion launched a two-run homer in the sixth inning of Wednesday's win over the Rangers, finishing the night 2-for-4 with two RBI … CC Sabathia tossed seven scoreless innings in Wednesday's win over the Orioles, striking out six … Mariners setup man Tony Zych is expected to be sidelined 4-6 weeks with tendinitis in his right rotator cuff … Brad Boxberger (abdomen) will head to the Rays’ spring training complex on Friday to begin simulated work … Daniel Nava (knee) is expected to rejoin the Angels on Friday … Jacoby Ellsbury was perfect on Wednesday night, going 3-for-3 with two walks and two stolen bases against the Orioles … Rays outfielder Steven Souza left Wednesday’s game with a pectoral spasm … Xander Bogaerts reached four times Wednesday, going 3-for-4 with a walk against the White Sox … Brett Gardner may sit out Thursday after taking a pitch off his elbow on Wednesday … Tigers right-hander Shane Greene (blister) is aiming to be activated from the disabled list when first eligible next Tuesday … Carlos Correa went 3-for-5 with a homer, a double and three RBI in the Astros' rout of the Twins on Wednesday … Indians acquired catcher Chris Gimenez from the Rangers for cash considerations.