After all the controversy, all the consternation, all the noise... the (relatively short) wait is over: Kris Bryant is here. The slugging third baseman -- considered by many to be the top prospect in the game -- was called up from Triple-A on Friday and immediately installed as Chicago's cleanup hitter. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in his debut.
The revamped Cubs, who came under fire for demoting Bryant in a blatant effort to extend his time under team control, were already off to a strong start without the 23-year-old, tied with the Cardinals for first in the Central with an 8-5 record. Only two NL teams (Dodgers and Nationals) had more homers than Chicago's nine.
Bryant, meanwhile, had launched three bombs in seven games at Triple-A after going deep nine times in spring training. He upgrades the middle of a lineup that had already been in a nice groove, and furthers the Cubs' standing as a legit threat this season.
Meanwhile, Chicago stands to gain an extra year of his services simply by waiting two weeks to call him up. You can complain about the flawed system in place, but it's hard to fault the Cubs for their handling of this situation. They played it right.
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* Alex Rios was off to a nice start with his new team in Kansas City, but unfortunately he'll now be sidelined for about a month after suffering a fracture on his left hand, which was hit by a hard inside fastball from Twins reliever J.R. Graham on Monday.
Rios' absence opens the door for Jarrod Dyson to receive substantial playing time, and with his ability to steal bases almost at will, he's an intriguing fantasy pickup, particularly in deeper leagues.
* Many were surprised to see Rusney Castillo, Boston's $72 million acquisition from Cuba last year, sent to Triple-A to open this 2015 campaign. The widespread assumption was that he wouldn't be there long, and he was on track for an early promotion with five hits in his first 12 at-bats in Pawtucket before injuring his shoulder while making a diving attempt in the outfield last Saturday.
Castillo landed on the disabled list, but fortunately it sounds like he avoided significant damage. This obviously pushes his timeline back a bit, but we still expect to see him up in the majors by midseason.
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* LaTroy Hawkins blew two saves in the first week of the season for Colorado, and that was it for him as closer -- a role he probably never should have been handed in the first place. Initially it was unclear whether Rafael Betancourt or Adam Ottavino would be next in line, but it appears that Rockies skipper Walt Weiss has smartly chosen to go with Ottavino, who has more talent and offers more fantasy upside.
Over the past three seasons, Ottamatic has posted a 3.60 ERA out of the Rockies bullpen while averaging more than a strikeout per inning. He converted back-to-back save chances this week, striking out five of the six batters he faced. Giddy-up.
* The Marlins faced a bit of a scare when their Opening Day starter, Henderson Alvarez, complained of shoulder soreness and was placed on the DL after just two starts, but it sounds like they dodged a bullet. He was diagnosed with inflammation and could begin playing catch as soon as next week. Barring any setbacks, he'll miss a month at the most.
During his absence, David Phelps will fill in and get a few starts. He posted some intriguing -- albeit unspectacular -- numbers in three seasons with the Yankees, so we're curious to see what he can do with a chance to face off against NL lineups.
* David Wright came up lame when attempting to steal second on Tuesday and was diagnosed with a pulled hamstring, which Mets manager Terry Collins referred to as a "major problem." That was kind of unnerving.
Wright received a cortisone shot and got an MRI, and now his strain is being termed as "mild," so it sounds like he may not miss a ton of time. Eric Campbell has been recalled to take his roster spot, and Daniel Murphy and Ruben Tejada are also candidates to see action at third, but none are great fantasy options.
* Carlos Gomez is also dealing with a hamstring ailment, and his sounds a little more serious. His injury has been described as a "small tear," which is especially alarming for a guy like Gomez whose value is partially tied up in his speed. It's unclear how long the center fielder will be out, but while he's gone Gerardo Parra figures to be a regular in the outfield, making him a must-own in deeper leagues.
* Carlos Carrasco was carted off the field after taking a line drive to the face off the bat of Melky Cabrera on Tuesday night, but thankfully he's OK. He's in line to start Monday in Chicago and is a two-start pitcher in fantasy for the coming week. I listed him as a Strong Play in The Week Ahead.
* Indians catcher Yan Gomes hurt his knee when Rajai Davis slid into him at home plate last weekend, and he's expected to miss 6-8 weeks with a moderate MCL sprain. It's a major loss for Cleveland, as Gomes blasted 21 homers in 2014, his first full season. Roberto Perez is currently slated to fill in but he's a big offensive downgrade. The Indians will surely be monitoring the catcher trade market.
* Mark Buehrle told reporters on Friday that he's considering retiring after this season. He's in the final leg of a four-year deal with the Blue Jays and while he has remained remarkably durable and effective as he's aged into his mid-30s, Buehrle has logged a whole lot of innings on that left arm. It's possible (maybe even probable) that he'll change his thinking as the lucrative allure of free agency approaches, but it's something to keep an eye on.