Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Friday saw a number a key fantasy contributors return to the lineup after being out for various reasons.
Topping the list was Philadelphia Phillies closer Brad Lidge. The Phillies used Lidge in a blowout loss to the New York Mets and he didn't look particularly good in his first outing of the year. He allowed two hits, including a home run by Rod Barajas in 1/3 of an inning. That can't instill much confidence in his owners. He's owned in 56% of all leagues, so should he turn it around and pitch like he did in 2008, then he could be a great pickup. Unfortunately, there was nothing that we saw yesterday that would indicate that it will happen.
The remainder of the players returning from injury are all on rosters. It's nice to have them back, because they ware all counted on to be big parts of their team's championship hopes.
Like Lidge, Ian Kinsler played for the first time in 2010 after being sidelined by an ankle injury. He'll bat fifth in the Texas lineup for the foreseeable future, which might take away from his "speed game." He's also not 100% healthy and won't be for a while, so don't expect the usual number of steals from the Rangers' second baseman (he's averaged 26-per-year over the past three seasons).
Cliff Lee made his Seattle Pilots, I mean, Mariners debut last night and it went a better than either Lidge's performance in Philadelphia or Kinsler's in Texas. Lee, returning from the disabled list after an abdominal strain, pitched seven strong innings, yielding no runs and just three harmless singles. He struck out eight men, but didn't get the win because the anemic Seattle offense couldn't produce a single run in 12 innings.
Justin Morneau left Minnesota's game on Tuesday night and missed the Wednesday and Thursday games with a stiffness in his back. He returned on Friday night and appeared to be just fine as he blasted home run No.5 of the season. Be sure to watch the TSN injury lists carefully for a while to make sure his back problem doesn't return.
After missing nine straight days with a hamstring problem, Ryan Zimmerman returned to the Nationals lineup and showed his team and fantasy owners what they were missing. He slugged two home runs and went 3-for-4 to raise his average to .362. Zimmerman had a monster month last May (.342, 6 HR, 19 RBI) so it's good that he came back just in time to repeat the performance.