While injuries have certainly been a prevailing theme for many MLB teams, two managers have been pulling rabbits out of hats all year long. In Los Angeles, both fieldwithballmoon_copy_2zyhJoe Torre and Mike Scioscia have their squads atop the division despite depleted rosters that would have sent lesser teams to the bottom of the standings. Torre has been without Manny Ramirez since April and has seen a complete power outage from C Russell Martin. Scioscia has had to deal with the death of Nick Adenhart, injuries to starters Kelvim Escobar, John Lackey and Ervin Santana while also struggling along without Vladimir Guerrero… It’s absolutely ridiculous that steroid cheat Manny Ramirez gets to do a Minor League rehab before his 50 game suspension is complete. If suspended farmhands have to sit out the whole sentence, why not the big boys?.. Joey Votto returned to the Reds’ lineup last week and picked up right where he left off. After sitting out more than a month, Votto revealed that his emotional problems stemmed from the difficulty he’s had in coping with his dad’s death. Funny how, sometimes, we forget that many of these big leaguers are still just kids. Good luck, Joey… The Marlins got a glimpse of why Andrew Miller was the focal point of the Miguel Cabrera trade with the Tigers. In his last start, Miller gave up a leadoff double vs. the Orioles and then not another knock through 7 IP… Though having hit just 1 HR, Andrew McCutchen has surprised in Pittsburgh with 14 RBI in his first 18 G… When you sit down for your Fantasy Baseball Draft next year, remember that Heath Bell, likely a very, very late pick in mixed drafts, is leading the NL in S while Brad Lidge has blown 7 S already. Never, ever, reach for relievers or chase saves. They always come into the league… Mark Teixeira’s offensive prowess was unquestioned when he signed with the Yankees. What many (me) didn’t know was how smooth he is in the field. He is the very definition of an all- around player… Hope you heeded some Moonlight wisdom about Gil Meche. Since throwing 132 pitches in a complete game, Meche has allowed 13 ER in just 8 IP over 2 starts. Another victim of the pitch count police as he isn’t used to the extra work… Don’t look now, but the Tampa Bay Rays have the AL’s best record since April 30th… Jimmy Rollins returns to the Phillies’ lineup on Tuesday, hoping that his four game vacation will help pull him off the Mendoza line… David Aardsma is turning into a dominant closer for the Mariners… Quick, who is currently the best pitcher in the AL? My vote goes to Josh Beckett. Healthy now, he looks very much like the 2007 version that won 20 G…

Buy Low- Not surprising to find a Colorado Rockie leading this list, as they are the hottest team in the game. Troy Tulowitzki leads the charge, raising his BA more than 40 points over the last two weeks while rediscovering the power he displayed during his stellar rookie year… John Danks has put two dominating performances back to back as the White Sox rotation has started to turn things around… Been waiting all year to add Francisco Liriano to this list. The projected Twins’ ace has looked like his old self in his last two outings…

Sell High- Jesse Palmer currently sports a 7-1 record for the Angels. Make a point of that and deal him before your trade partner notices that he doesn’t strike anyone out and has a 5.16 ERA… Despite vying for the NL batting lead, Pablo Sandoval hasn’t logged any time behind the plate; significantly lowering his value heading into next season’s Fantasy Baseball Draft. If yours is not a keeper league, you might consider moving him for a lot of help in return…

Grab Bag- Mike MacDougal has been a nice surprise for the Nationals since taking over as closer… I know it was only the Mets, baseball’s version of a AAAA team, but Chien Ming Wang turned in his second straight solid performance vs. the Amazins on Sunday. If you’re looking for pitching, you could take a flier on much worse… Oakland turns to Gio Gonzalez after losing Josh Outman to Tommy John surgery. Gonzalez, long a top prospect, was 4-1 2.50 at AAA Sacramento… Chad Gaudin shut out the Rangers in Arlington on Sunday; his third straight dominant outing for Seattle. His K total has spiked over that time as well…

Drop Zone- Bill Hall may have seen his last day as the Brewers staring 3B. With his BA at .197 and Mat Gamel playing well, Hall doesn’t figure to see the field anytime soon… It pains me to write the name Vladimir Guerrero in this spot but that’s just where Vladdy’s power outage has landed him. Take him out of your lineup until he starts driving the ball… Getting close to the time to give up the ghost on the struggling Elijah Dukes…

Sick Bay- It’s starting to become more likely that Brandon Webb won’t be returning to the D’Back’s anytime soon. He’ll seek the opinions of three specialists this week as to what might be wrong with his shoulder and could be out for the season… Braves’ SS Yunel Escobar is trying to play through a hip problem that has forced him to the bench on occasion… Jose Reyes took ground balls and BP over the weekend but still appears to be out until after the break… Carlos Quentin is in the midst of a running program but is no closer to returning from a foot injury…

Keep an eye on Royals’ hurler Gil Meche over his last few starts.    Sunday, in his first outing since throwing a career high 132 pitches in going the distance vs. Arizona , Meche was lit up by the Cardinals to the tune of 9 ER in just 3 IP… Look for the Cubs’ slumping young hitters to get a little boost with the addition of hitting coach Von Joshua.    After firing Gerald Perry, Chicago reached into its farm system to promote Joshua, who established strong relationships with the likes of Geovany Soto and Ryan Theriot as they rose though the Cubs’ system… Yovani Gallardo, despite another stellar performance on Sunday vs. the Tigers, lost his fourth of the season.    With any kind of offensive support, (he gained a 1-0 win against the Pirates in which his HR was the only run), Gallardo might be 10-1… Have to wonder how long the Padres can remain competitive without starters Jake Peavy and Chris Young, both on the DL… Looks like Seattle ace Felix Hernandez has finally decided to live up to his “King Felix” moniker…Cito Gaston is the latest AL’er to whine about losing a pitcher during Interleague play after losing closer Scott Downs to injury after Downs was hobbled running the bases in Philly.   Gaston, in much the same rant as Hank Steinbrenner after the Yankees lost Chien Ming Wang last year, bemoaned the fact that AL pitchers are not used to running the bases.   A professional athlete not used to putting one foot in front of the other?! C’mon, Cito…

Buy Low- Gotta love the warmer weather and the affect it has on players dealing with wrist and hand issues.    In Chicago, Derrek Lee has been on fire; adding a power stroke to supplement his rising BA… In Boston , David Ortiz has started to calm the fears of Boston fans thinking he might be through.    Not only has he popped 5 HR over the last two weeks, his Sunday blast was over the Green Monster, something he wasn’t able to do early in the season as he dealt with the lingering effects of a hand injury…Casey Blake is the latest Dodger to step up and fill the void left by steroid cheat Manny Ramirez… In St. Louis , Adam Wainwright has been pitching like the ace of the staff for the last month.    At an unspectacular 7-4, he might be able to be had… Moonlight followers jumped on Cliff Lee a few weeks ago while his poor won-loss record was camouflaging a stellar season.    This may be your last chance to acquire the Cleveland ace… Kevin Millwood, the leader of a Texas rotation that has the Rangers in contention, struck out 10 on Sunday in lowering his ERA to 2.62…

Sell High- Time to cut your losses and sit Jay Bruce for a little while as the Reds’ OF has seen his BA drop as low as .215… Vernon Wells, mired in a season long slump that may or may not have to do with his health, may be losing the confidence of his manager.

Grab Bag- The Pirates seem to have lost all patience with Brandon Moss as indicated by the increased playing time of Delwyn Young; a nice grab in an NL only league… Can’t find a reliable starter in you AL only league?    Why not turn to O’ middle man, Brian Bass, instead?    He’s 3-0 1.117 over his last 23 IP an could eventually find himself in the Birds’ rotation…

Drop Zone- Arizona ’s Doug Davis has not only been cuffed around in his last few starts but has a very uneasy relationship with new D’Backs’ manager A.J. Hinch.     Davis may be the odd man out when Brandon Webb returns to the rotation… Don’t know if the Giants can afford to remove Jonathan Sanchez (2-7 5.43) from the rotation but you can’t afford not to…

Sick Bay- Edinson Volquez is about ten days from returning to the Reds’ rotation as he continues to rehab his elbow… Brad Lidge will be back in the Phillies’ bullpen sometime this week… Jake Peavy could be out as long as three months with an ankle injury… Carlos Quentin will likely not return to the Chi Sox until the All Star break and, even then, will still be at risk of a recurrence of the plantar fascitis that has plagued him… Tigers’ OF Carlos Guillen may be facing shoulder surgery…

Here we are, just a month away from the opening of NFL camps and one of the many things with which owners need to concern themselves as they head into this year’s fantasy football draft is whether or not they have a tight enough grasp on how the legal system will affect some on their draft lists.

Under normal circumstances, a player returning to the league after a year off, (usually due to injury), that has the exceptional athletic ability of a Michael Vick, could be counted on a sleeper list; a late round possibility with the potential to return big dividends.  In Vick’s case, however, it may be months before we find out if he’ll play at all.  After serving nineteen months in federal prison for his part in organizing an extensive interstate dog fighting ring, Vick is under house arrest until July.  Having been suspended indefinitely by Roger Goodell, Vick must then convince the NFL commissioner that he is worthy of reinstatement; no small task.  Then, and only then, can Vick and his agent embark on the difficult course of finding a team willing to withstand the public relations mess that will certainly accompany a Vick signing.

At the wide receiver position, the status of one potential star remains up in the air while another seems to have lost all value heading into this year’s fantasy football draft.  Plaxico Burress walked into a New York nightclub last year and, literally, shot the Giants’ Super Bowl chances right in the leg.  His own.  He was arrested that night for the pistol he was carrying in the waistband of his pants and has since found himself on the radar of none other than New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who wants to make an example of Burress as part of his tough stance against guns.  Waived by the Giants and awaiting a September court date that will likely lead to a 2010 trial, Burress is in search of a team.

The case of Cleveland receiver Donte’ Stallworth, as played out in the Miami court system, is one that defies all logic.  After pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter charges for running down a Miami pedestrian and arranging a plea bargain, Stallworth will serve just thirty days in jail.  There are additional penalties that are a part of the deal.  He must serve two years of house arrest, an eight year probation term and submit to drug and alcohol testing.  He also reached an undisclosed financial settlement with the victim’s family and will perform 1,000 hours of community service as well as having  his driver’s license permanently suspended.  None of hese sanctions, however, would have prohibited him from continuing his NFL career.

That is, until Goodell stepped in.  Noting that, while the criminal justice system had detremined legal consequences, it was the duty of the commissioner to determine league discipline.  To that end, Goodell suspended Stallworth immediately and indefinitely.  Keep in mind, however, that while most expect the ban to be for at least a year, all parties involved will meet soon to determine the actual length of the penalty.

So, head right out and buy those Fantasy Football Draft previews.  You might want to pick up a copy of The Law Review while you’re at it.

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