Commentary

Capuano returns after long layoff

Updated: June 3, 2010, 1:45 AM ET
By AJ Mass | ESPN.com

Daily Notes

It was all going so well for Chris Capuano. Coming off an 18-win season, the left-hander was 10-4 when he was selected to play in the 2006 All-Star Game. Then it all fell apart. Capuano went 1-8 the rest of that season and 5-12 in 2007. The following spring, he injured his elbow and needed to undergo the dreaded Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career, having already undergone the procedure in 2002. To his credit, Capuano never gave up, and on Thursday, he'll make his first start for the Milwaukee Brewers in more than two years. The odds of a win in his return are certainly stacked against him, as he'll likely be on a short leash and his opponent is Josh Johnson of the Florida Marlins. Still, even if he's not someone to target for your fantasy team just yet, how can you not be rooting for him to succeed?

For starters

Selected notes:

• At the summit: The aforementioned Josh Johnson is 2-0 lifetime against the Brewers and has a microscopic 0.33 ERA over the past three weeks. He gets the top spot, just ahead of Hiroki Kuroda, who has a 1.20 ERA when facing the streaking Atlanta Braves.

Jered Weaver has not won since May 7 but has a 3.35 ERA against the Kansas City Royals, who are batting just .256 over the past week of play. That's not great, but it's still light years better than the Chicago White Sox, last in the American League in hitting with a .240 team average. That's why Colby Lewis ranks so high in spite of the so-so stats.

• Rounding out the tops for the day: CC Sabathia has been atrocious of late, but the Baltimore Orioles already have fallen victim to him twice in 2010, and he's 11-1 against them in his career. ... Zack Greinke does everything except win, and the 1-3 lifetime mark against the Los Angeles Angels seems far too typical for him.

• Middle-of-the-road options: Carl Pavano is unbeaten against the Seattle Mariners with a 3.46 ERA. Felix Hernandez certainly will keep his side close, but we give the slight edge to the pitcher on the team that isn't 11 games under .500.

• Streamers on alert: Kris Medlen is 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA against the Los Angeles Dodgers. ... Rick Porcello is 4-0 lifetime against the Cleveland Indians, including a win over the Tribe earlier this season. ... Brett Anderson, who looked good in his return from the disabled list, has a 2.05 ERA when facing the Boston Red Sox but might be removed sooner rather than later, as Oakland might still want to err on the side of caution with him as he recovers from injury.

• Stay away: David Huff says he has no ill effects after getting hit in the head with an Alex Rodriguez comebacker, but you probably should watch him get through a few innings before inserting him back in your fantasy rotation. ... As for the quartet of Brian Moehler, Freddy Garcia, Kevin Millwood and Tim Wakefield, all have career ERAs of 4.08 or higher against their Thursday opponents, and only Garcia has more than one win on the season.

Now batting

Hitters' count:

Carlos Lee, OF, Houston Astros: When you're hitting .206 for the season, a streak of five out of six games with base hits is pure gold. Lee has never faced J.D. Martin, but he is batting .301 against the rest of the Washington Nationals' staff. If not now, Lee owners, then when?

Jorge Cantu, 3B, Florida Marlins: Throw out the Roy Halladay perfecto, and Cantu is hitting .367 since May 21. Plus he's hitting .333 versus the Brewers over the past two seasons.

Cristian Guzman, 2B, Washington Nationals: A middle infielder hitting .388 for the month of May, Guzman is still owned in less than half of ESPN leagues. Sure there's no power here, but he's still managed an OPS of 1.063 against Brian Moehler.

Vladimir Guerrero, DH, Texas Rangers: Coming off a .330 May, Guerrero should keep it going in June, especially against Freddy Garcia, whom he's slugging .500 against in 20 career at-bats .

Brandon Inge, 3B, Detroit Tigers: Inge is 6-for-10 in his past three games and has hit .333 against the Cleveland Indians this season in 24 at-bats.

Pitchers' count:

Matt Wieters, C, Baltimore Orioles: In his past three games, Wieters is 0-for-10, and he is only 2-for-12 with five strikeouts against CC Sabathia in his young career.

Corey Hart, OF, Milwaukee Brewers: Yes, he has five home runs in his past five games, but don't hurt yourself jumping on the Hart bandwagon Thursday, gang. He's facing Josh Johnson, and the outfielder is hitting just .184 against the current crop of Marlins.

Michael Cuddyer, OF, Minnesota Twins: With a 2-for-18 résumé against Felix Hernandez, there's no way Cuddyer gets a second interview.

Yunel Escobar, SS, Atlanta Braves: On fire! That's Escobar, who is in the midst of a 7-for-12 hot streak. Let's call Hiroki Kuroda the fire hose. The shortstop has never had a hit against the Dodgers pitcher.

Juan Rivera, OF, Los Angeles Angels: Rivera is hitting just .128 against the Royals' roster of arms and is hitless in six lifetime at-bats against Zack Greinke.

Baseball Challenge Pick of the Day

Andre Ethier, RF, Los Angeles Dodgers: He used the series against the Arizona Diamondbacks to shake off the rust, and now he's ready to renew his quest for the Triple Crown against the Braves, whom Ethier hit .367 against last season with three home runs in 30 at-bats.

Triage

Injury list: Out

Derek Holland, P, Texas Rangers (15-day DL, left rotator cuff)

Mark Teahen, 3B, Chicago White Sox (15-day DL, fractured finger)

Mike Lincoln, P, Cincinnati Reds (15-day DL, strained side)

Chris Sampson, P, Houston Astros (15-day DL, tendinitis)

Alexi Casilla, 2B, Minnesota Twins (15-day DL, bone spur)

Nelson Cruz, OF, Texas Rangers (15-day DL, sprained left hamstring)

Kendry Morales, 1B, Los Angeles Angels (15-day DL, broken leg)

Injury list: Day-to-day

Mike Cameron, OF, Boston Red Sox (abdominal soreness)

Felipe Lopez, SS, St. Louis Cardinals (bruised thumb)

Mark Teixeira, 1B, New York Yankees (bruised left foot)

Mark Reynolds, 3B, Arizona Diamondbacks (right quad)

Jason Bartlett, SS, Tampa Bay Rays (hamstring)

Placido Polanco, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies (elbow)

Weather concerns

Weatherproof games: Nationals at Astros and Twins at Mariners. Thunderstorms will rule the day in both Florida and New York. The wet weather in Boston is not scheduled to start until the evening, so perhaps the early afternoon game at Fenway Park will finish up before the rain comes down in Beantown.

AJ Mass is a fantasy baseball, football and college basketball analyst for ESPN.com. You can follow AJ on Twitter or e-mail him here.

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