Commentary

Bonderman could surprise in return

Updated: June 7, 2009, 8:51 PM ET
By Adam Madison | Special to ESPN.com

Daily Notes
Monday will be Jeremy Bonderman's first start in more than a year; he last took the mound June 1, 2008, against the Mariners. He will pitch in the second half of a doubleheader for the Tigers. Bonderman underwent surgery to correct a circulation problem in his shoulder, and manager Jim Leyland said Bonderman's performance would determine whether he returns to the rotation on a permanent basis.

Over in the senior circuit, Jake Peavy will take the mound after having his start pushed back a day. He is dealing with an upper respiratory infection, and may not be 100 percent. He headlines a weak day in pitching as a number of teams' fourth and fifth starters take the mound.

For starters

Selected notes: Back in April, Zach Duke had his worst start of the season versus the Braves, getting knocked around for 12 hits and six runs in six innings. Since then, Duke has pitched at least seven innings in seven of his eight starts, and it would be tough to bench him against the 25th-ranked offense in the majors. … As should be expected, Bonderman was a bit rusty during his rehab outings, and his velocity hasn't fully returned yet. He only struck out 17 minor league batters in 27 innings. He did toss eight shutout innings in his final rehab start though, striking out five and walking one, and the White Sox are the worst team in the league against right-handed pitching. It's hard to imagine the inefficient Bonderman pitching much more than five innings or so, but it's a weak day of pitching, and he couldn't be facing an easier lineup, so those in head-to-head leagues may want to give him serious consideration. … The Padres have never been able to hit well in Petco Park, with the worst home OPS in the league, and Jon Garland shut them out for seven innings earlier in the season. It's rarely pretty with Garland, but he seems to either get knocked around or pitch well. The Pads average 3.60 runs per game at home, so it's doubtful he'll get knocked around. … No team has taken fewer walks than the Giants, which is good news for Sean West, who has good stuff (10.5 K/9 in Double-A this year) but problems harnessing it (4.6 BB/9). The Giants have no one in their lineup who strikes fear in any pitcher's heart, so the rookie is a usable spot starter for the day. … Josh Outman has a decent strikeout rate (7.1 K/9) and has pitched well recently, so he's not a bad option. He has five consecutive quality starts, facing a couple of good offenses in the process, and gets a home start against a team that hits much worse against southpaws than righties.

Now batting

Hitters' count

A.J. Pierzynski, C, White Sox: So far this season, Pierzynski has been a great option against right-handers, hitting .328 with four home runs in 128 at-bats. Those splits present a favorable matchup against Armando Galarraga, who has allowed left-handed batters to slug better than .500 against him in his career.
Brandon Inge, C/3B, Tigers: Inge hits better than 50 points higher and his slugging percentage is nearly 100 points higher lifetime against lefties, and his split against southpaws this season has been especially stark: a .350 average and five home runs in 40 at-bats versus a .259 average against right-handers. It's also worth noting that all five home runs Clayton Richard has allowed have come against righties.
Jeff Francoeur, OF, Braves: Zach Duke is one of the few pitchers Francoeur hits well, going 8-for-17 (.471) with two doubles and a homer lifetime.
Hideki Matsui, OF, Yankees: Four of Matsui's five hits against Andy Sonnanstine have gone for extra bases, with two doubles and two home runs. Overall he's 5-for-13 (.385) against the right-hander.
Carlos Pena, 1B, Rays: Pena often struggles against southpaws -- he hit .190 against them last year and is hitting only 13 points higher against them this season -- but he's hit .333 with four long balls off Andy Pettitte in 33 at-bats. Six of his 11 hits have gone for extra bases.
Hank Blalock, 3B, Rangers: Facing a right-hander, Blalock is a must start. His slugging percentage is 269 points higher against right-handed pitching, with 21 of his 34 hits going for extra bases. He's also 2-for-5 with a home run against Casey Janssen in his career.
Paul Konerko, 1B, White Sox: Konerko has crushed Bonderman in the past, with four home runs and two doubles in 31 at-bats. He is hitting .290 against Bonderman overall, but all those extra-base hits give him a .742 slugging percentage.

Pitchers' count

Nick Swisher, OF, Yankees: Despite Sonnanstine's ugly numbers, Swisher hasn't hit him this season (1-for-5 with two strikeouts) or ever (3-for-17 lifetime, five strikeouts).
Curtis Granderson, OF, Tigers: Granderson rarely does much against left-handers -- he's a career .224 hitter against them -- and while he has improved in recent seasons, they have been incremental gains. Only two of his home runs and steals have come against southpaws this season. One can easily better that by platooning a lesser outfielder, and there's also the chance he may not play in both games of the doubleheader anyway. If manager Jim Leyland was going to pick a game to sit him in, it would assuredly be against Richard, who has held lefties to a .297 OBP in his short career.
Chris Young, OF, Diamondbacks: When Young has managed to get a hit off of Peavy, the ball tends to go a long way -- three of his four hits have gone for extra bases -- but considering he's just 4-for-21 (.190) with eight strikeouts, that's a poor bet to take.
Felipe Lopez, 2B, Diamondbacks: Lopez' success has been even more minimal versus Peavy, going 3-for-19 (.158) with nine strikeouts.
Jason Kubel, OF, Twins: Left-handers are hitting only .128 versus Outman, and it's doubtful Kubel is going to be the one to boost those numbers. He's 7-for-41 (.171) against southpaws this season.

If you're hardcore

Colby Rasmus, OF, Cardinals: Nearly half of Rasmus' 40 hits on the season have been of the extra-base variety (17), so he has shown some impressive power. He's kicked off June with a five-game hit streak, amassing four extra-base hits -- including a home run -- in the process, and his numbers against right-handers are pretty solid as well, with a .292 average and five home runs in 120 at-bats. Tony LaRussa jerks him around in the starting lineup, but that's not as much of a concern with Monday an off day for so many teams.
Ian Stewart, 2B/3B, Rockies: Stewart had been sporting a sharp reverse platoon split most of the season. He is destroying left-handers in limited at-bats, but hitting below the Mendoza Line against right-handers despite being a left-handed batter himself, but his recent outburst has evened things out a bit. He's blown up for four consecutive multi-hit games, hitting four home runs and three doubles in the process, and only one of those extra-base hits came off a lefty. And considering he's hitting only .120 at Coors Field, he still has some more room for growth.
Josh Fields, 3B, White Sox: Because there's a doubleheader, there's a good chance Fields will start a game. And, if manager Ozzie Guillen is looking at the splits, it would be smart to start Fields against Bonderman, against whom Fields is 4-for-9 with two home runs.
Aaron Rowand, OF, Giants: Rowand's hitting streak is up to 16 games, and though he has only two home runs in that span, he has compiled nine doubles and three steals. On Monday, a favorable matchup against rookie West awaits.

Triage

Injury list: Out

Kyle Lohse, SP, Cardinals (15-day DL, forearm): After reinjuring his forearm last Wednesday, Lohse could be sidelined for a while. Brad Thompson takes his turn in the rotation.

Injury list: Day-to-day

Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers (hamstring; available to pinch-hit)
Dexter Fowler, OF, Rockies (calf)
Frank Francisco, RP, Rangers (shoulder)
Jason Giambi, 1B, Athletics (calf)
Chipper Jones, 3B, Braves (dizziness)
Casey Kotchman, 1B, Braves (calf/shin): Kotchman's strained calf and shin contusion have been slow to heal, and he is a candidate for the disabled list.
Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays (hamstring; available to pinch-hit): Expected to return Saturday, the Rays sat him again to play it safe. He should have returned by the time you read this.
• Jake Peavy, SP, Padres (illness): Peavy had his start pushed back a day to give him more time to cover from an upper respiratory infection.
Yorvit Torrealba, C, Rockies (personal)

Weather concerns

• None of the home teams play in domes on Monday, so therefore there are no weatherproof games. Instead, Chicago will have to worry about the forecast throughout the day. Thunderstorms are expected to be a problem for most of the day, and could affect both games of the doubleheader. St. Louis is one of two games that is scheduled to start in the afternoon, at 2:15 p.m., which could be a problem since there is a 40 percent chance of storms from 3 to 5 p.m.
• New York has a 50 percent chance of showers throughout the night, while Miami also has a 50 percent chance of storms disrupting play.

Adam Madison is a fantasy baseball analyst for ESPN.com.

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