Updated: July 22, 2008, 12:03 PM ET

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Rich Kane/Icon SMI

Jorge Posada is headed to the disabled list for the second time this season.

The Yankees' MASH unit

Most observers have been trying to figure out how the Yankees remain playoff contenders despite having a rotation that has featured more than 30 starts from the likes of Darrell Rasner, Sidney Ponson, Dan Giese, Ian Kennedy and Kei Igawa. Well, look at the offense, which has managed to be quite competitive even though many key parts have struggled or been injured this season.

The news was mixed on Monday for the offense. Johnny Damon came off the DL to resume his regular leadoff role, but Jorge Posada went back on the shelf with more left shoulder problems. Hideki Matsui was expected to announce Monday he was headed for season-ending surgery, but he did an about-face and aims to try more rehab as a short-term solution. That news should appear good, but the outlook remains rather bleak for fantasy owners.

Assuming the infield is set for the Bronx Bombers, as well as two outfield spots, what are the Yankees likely to do at designated hitter, catcher and left field the rest of the way based on this news?

Catcher: Posada's announcement wasn't a huge surprise. He winces much of the time when attempting to throw out baserunners, who have been safe more than 80 percent of the time. Plus, his season-long shoulder woes also have affected his hitting. Posada will have an MRI on Tuesday but acknowledges that if he waits much longer to have surgery, he could miss part of 2009. Expect the Yankees to be proactive here. Jose Molina isn't much of a hitter, but he's one of the best throwers in the game. There's no fantasy value there, but he certainly doesn't hurt Yankees pitchers. Chad Moeller is the main backup, and a trade could come as well. Posada, the No. 5 catcher taken in ESPN.com's average live drafts, remains owned in 97 percent of leagues. With this news, it's safe to drop him in standard leagues, because catchers such as Chris Iannetta, Ramon Hernandez and Chris Snyder are readily available. Even if Posada were to play again this season, there is no guarantee he'd be able to hit effectively as the DH.

Left field: Though Matsui declined surgery on his ailing right knee Monday, it doesn't mean he'll be back on the field anytime soon. In fact, Yankees GM Brian Cashman admitted he wasn't optimistic about Matsui's pending return. The Yankees have been going with speedy Brett Gardner in left field, but the goal will be to return Damon to that position, thus freeing up the DH spot for others. The Yankees likely will make a trade for a hitter, unless it becomes clear that Matsui or Posada is destined to end up at DH, which is unlikely. The point is that Gardner is fast, but his .170 batting average and one extra-base hit in 53 at-bats don't help him, and he's not the long-term gainer here. Rumors of a Xavier Nady acquisition will soon run rampant.

Designated hitter: Expect Damon to leave his glove in the clubhouse for the next few days, if not more. Damon doesn't have much of a throwing arm, and his DL stint was for a sore left shoulder, suffered when he ran into a wall. Damon is the team's top leadoff hitter and a solid base stealer, however, and fantasy owners love him. When Damon is able to return to left field, don't be surprised if Richie Sexson gains more playing time at first base and Jason Giambi acts as the DH. Sexson hasn't hit right-handed pitching for a few years, but he does thrive against southpaws, and he's owned in 5.9 percent of leagues. Damon is at least back in the lineup, and unlike Posada and Matsui, his injury likely won't affect his play for much longer or keep him from the field.

Of course, if you want really good news, the Yankees still have plenty of it. Robinson Cano, always a better second-half hitter, is 10-for-19 since the All-Star break with a pair of home runs. Plus, the Yankees' second baseman, shortstop and third baseman all homered in the same game on Monday (for the first time since April 2004). Not everyone on this team is a journeyman starting pitcher or an injured catcher/outfielder. It just seems that way.

Box Score Bits
Rich Harden was dominant in his second start with the Cubs, allowing only one hit and striking out 10 in seven innings. But he lost. The hit was an Alex Romero home run, the first of his career, and Randy Johnson didn't allow a run in his seven innings. Harden's performance against the offensive-poor Diamondbacks is no shock, but Johnson had a 5.23 ERA and was facing the league's top offense. Then again, he did raise his career mark to 13-0 against the Cubs, the third-best record against an opponent in league history. These teams won't meet again in the regular season. Johnson remains available in nearly half of ESPN.com's leagues, and after an outing like that, he seems to be a wise pickup. … After Brandon Lyon allowed seven runs on Saturday and Sunday, Chad Qualls was called on to save Monday night's game for the D-backs. He hadn't pitched in more than a week. … Sidney Ponson won again for the Yankees even though he put way too many runners on base. For the season with the Yankees and Rangers, Ponson sports a 6-1 record and 4.02 ERA, but a WHIP of 1.61. Um, you know which direction the ERA is going to go, right? … Meanwhile, the Twins' Nick Blackburn had his worst outing of the season, allowing six runs (three earned) while retiring only five Yankees. The rookie is hittable, and good offenses will tee off occasionally. … A few struggling Brewers vying for playing time had good Mondays. Rickie Weeks hit a three-run homer, though his playing time was a bit threatened because newly acquired Ray Durham had an at-bat, while Bill Hall started against a right-handed pitcher and hit the go-ahead home run in the 10th inning off Ryan Franklin. Earlier, Hall stole a base. Russell Branyan's hold on third base against right-handers is tenuous. … Franklin's hold on the St. Louis closer role also hardly is guaranteed, though Jason Isringhausen isn't really pitching any better. Chris Perez is in the minors, by the way. … Remember when the Blue Jays' Jesse Litsch had a 3.18 ERA in June? Now it's 4.46 after his third straight pounding, after he allowed six earned runs against the Orioles. Stay away. … Radhames Liz won his fourth game but walked six in 5 2/3 Daniel Cabrera-like innings. His ERA is 7.19. Avoid. … Scott Hairston continues to thrive as a leadoff man. He hit his 16th home run of the season against the Reds' Homer Bailey, and 11 of his home runs have come while leading off. Hairston is hitting .350 in that first spot in the order, .204 in all other spots. … The Mets torched Francisco Cordero in the ninth inning before the weekend for four runs, and the Padres scored three times against him Monday. Cordero allowed three walks and two hits while getting two outs. Set-up man David Weathers now has a lower ERA. Unless Cordero is hurt, however, he's safe in the closer role. … Meanwhile, Houston's Jose Valverde was pounded by the Pirates for six runs, including home runs by Jason Bay and Freddy Sanchez, the latter the infielder's first inside-the-park home run. Valverde hadn't allowed a run in July, so like Cordero, his job is safe as long as he's healthy. No need to snag Doug Brocail yet. … The Pirates knocked out 18 hits, but catcher Ryan Doumit, hitting third, went 0-for-6. … Hope you didn't have Jimmy Gobble in an AL-only league. Gobble took one for the team in a 9-0 game in the eighth and allowed 10 Tigers runs in an inning. The last time a relief pitcher allowed that many runs in one inning was 1948. Struggling Gary Sheffield took advantage with his only hit of the night, a three-run homer. Miguel Cabrera and Matt Joyce combined for nine hits and 11 RBIs. Only one of those guys is available in 97.1 percent of leagues. Can you guess which one? … The Marlins managed two hits off Jorge Campillo and two Braves relievers. Campillo entered play with a 1.80 road ERA, and lowered it to 1.53. … Scott Kazmir looked terrific in his first outing since winning the All-Star Game, fanning nine Athletics in seven innings, allowing no runs. … Evan Longoria didn't have a great Home Run Derby, but his home run Monday was his third in as many days. He's on pace for 33 home runs and 104 RBIs. … Likewise, Josh Hamilton and his golden swing seem fine after the Derby. Hamilton hit his 22nd home run off Javier Vazquez, and raised his RBI total to 98 in 96 games! … Carlos Quentin was the offense for the White Sox, hitting his 24th home run in Chicago's 6-1 loss. There's no end in sight to Quentin's startling comeback campaign.


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Standing Out

IN CONTROL
Jon Lester, Red Sox
Lester threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings at Seattle and hasn't allowed a run in his past two road starts. He struck out six, but more importantly, he did not issue a walk and brought his season rate to 2.99 walks per nine innings. That's by far his best rate at any level in his career.

TRAIN WRECK
Kip Wells, Rockies
Rare is the league in which he's owned, but some lines are just so terrible, you can't help but stare anyway. Wells, who was activated from the DL to start the game against the Dodgers, allowed eight runs, seven earned, on seven hits and a walk. He managed to record only one out -- a strikeout -- before getting the merciful hook.
News and Notes
Clayton Kershaw didn't have much success in eight starts with the Dodgers earlier this season, but the team will activate him to start Tuesday at Coors Field anyway. Kershaw averaged fewer than five innings per start with the big club. At Double-A Jacksonville the past three starts, he has thrived, but fantasy owners still should avoid Kershaw, especially in Denver. … Injured A's designated hitter Frank Thomas has been cleared to start a running program later in the week and has already been taking batting practice. He could return to Oakland's lineup by the end of the month. … The news on Billy Wagner seems to be changing by the hour. His shoulder was hurting on Sunday, then he struck out the side to get the save. Then he was scheduled to have an MRI. On the flight he felt fine, and the team canceled the MRI. But later on Monday, Wagner complained of soreness again. Who knows, maybe he'll have an MRI on Tuesday. … In more closer news, Cubs manager Lou Piniella sounded pretty negative about Kerry Wood being active this week, but no DL stint has been announced yet. Carlos Marmol's owners are waiting. This would be Wood's 12th career DL stint. Wood saw a hand specialist Monday and will use ointment to help the blister for a few days in a last-ditch effort to remain active. … With Jose Contreras going on the DL Sunday, the White Sox had planned to give swingman Nick Masset a spot start Tuesday, but the team changed its mind and promoted 24-year-old lefty prospect Clayton Richard instead. Richard had a 2.44 ERA at Double-A and Triple-A, with four home runs allowed in 19 starts. Still, you shouldn't activate him for his first major league appearance, which will come against Texas.
They Wrote It

"It looks like the Yankees won't get anything this season from Kennedy or Hughes. Chien-Ming Wang, their presumed ace entering the season, probably won't pitch again until September. Can they really get into the playoffs with Sidney Ponson and Darrell Rasner in the rotation? Can they really get into the playoffs with Jose Molina playing almost every day and eating up outs like Ray Oyler?"
-- Rob Neyer Full Story


"… we've probably already seen the best of the starting pitching market moved, now that CC Sabathia and Rich Harden have been dealt. But some general managers believe that the commodity that will change hands the most over the next 40 days -- before postseason eligibility is established -- is relief pitching."
-- Buster Olney Full Story

Transactions
• The NL West-contending Rockies -- hey, they are still in it -- activated shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and Kip Wells from the DL Monday, and both were in the starting lineup. The shortstop had five hits and remains a tremendous buy-low option, but things didn't go so well for Wells (see above). Joe Koshansky, who wasn't playing anyway with Ian Stewart at third base and Garrett Atkins moving to first, was sent to the minors.

• The Rangers activated Scott Feldman from the DL, and because Eric Hurley was unable to start, Feldman took his spot. He delivered a strong outing, allowing one run in six innings. Of course, that's not the story here. Catcher of the future Taylor Teagarden was sent back to the minors, not because he isn't ready to contribute, but so that he would be eligible for the Olympics. Expect Teagarden back with the Rangers in September, and he could start behind the plate in 2009.

• The Braves activated Rafael Soriano from the DL and figure he'll be a fine set-up man in front of Mike Gonzalez, though these guys could share saves. Soriano has thrown nine innings all season because he has battled elbow woes. He's not worth much in fantasy at this point if he's a set-up guy, but that could change.

On The Farm
• Lefty Josh Outman, the pitching prospect who went from the Phillies to the A's in the Joe Blanton trade, made his debut with Double-A Midland on Monday, giving up three walks and two outs in 1 1/3 innings. Outman allowed three runs, two earned. Outman started the game, and that's likely his future with the A's, though the Phillies had been using him in relief this season. The top prospect in the deal, second baseman Adrian Cardenas, is 4-for-15 in three games for the Class A California League Stockton Ports.

• Former big leaguer John Wasdin, nearly 36 years old and plying his trade in the Cardinals system with Triple-A Memphis, threw seven perfect innings Monday before Oklahoma's Chris Shelton -- remember him? -- homered. Wasdin fanned 11 through seven innings. Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan has many success stories. Wasdin, who has 328 major league appearances through 12 seasons in the bigs, could earn a call-up soon.

• Speaking of ahem, older major leaguers, Kris Benson finally won a game this season, as he scattered six hits through six innings for Philly's Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Benson lowered his ERA to 8.53. Don't laugh, it's not much worse than Adam Eaton's ERA in the past month. If Brett Myers struggles in his return to the big league club, Benson could find his way to the Phillies in August.

• Toledo outfielder Brent Clevlen hit a pair of home runs, the second time in a week he's done so, and he now has 19 home runs for the season for the Tigers' Triple-A team. Detroit's outfield doesn't have room for him right now, and Jeff Larish and Clete Thomas are probably next in line for recalls anyway, but Clevlen has the most power long-term.