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Help is on the way...maybe

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - What's better than trading for a fantasy star to help your stretch drive to the championship?

It's getting one back from injury, because then you give up nothing in return.

Help is on the way for many, but not all, fantasy owners.

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (.295, 13 HR, 52 RBI, 0.852 OPS) is a day or two away. He'll need a monster finish if he is to continue his string of 13 consecutive seasons with at least 30 home runs, but at a weak position like third base, even an average "A-Rod" finish should help fantasy owners.

New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes could be back sometime next week, even as early as Tuesday if his weekend workouts prove successful. Reyes was in the midst of a magical season that brought back memories of 2005-2008 when he was a dynamic player and great fantasy value. In those four years he led the league is steals three times and averaged 113 runs scored. He's added an excellent batting average this season (league-leading .336) and the highest OPS of his career (0.884).

Rockies closer Huston Street (1-3, 29 saves) is set to begin a rehab assignment and even Adrian Beltre (.276, 20 HR, 76 RBI), originally not expected back until the first week of September could be back much sooner than expected. He's supposed to test his hamstring by running the bases soon, possibly as early as today.

But of course, it's not all good news. Not everyone is going to come back right away.

Florida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez is not with the team on their current road trip and there are rumors that the team might shut him down for the remainder of the season. Ramirez was already in the middle of a dreadful year - .243, 10 HR, 45 RBI, OPS 0.712. This from a player who has batted .300 or better, hit at least 21 homers and stole 27 or more bases in each of the last four seasons

Milwaukee second baseman Rickie Weeks (ankle) did some light hitting last week, but is still a long way away from returning. Given the Brewers' large lead in the NL Central, the team might play it cautious and hold him out until mid-September. That will get him ready for the National League playoffs, but won't help his fantasy owners.

The oft-injured Grady Sizemore gave fantasy owners a reminder of his vast talent in April this year, batting .378 with an OPS of 1.251, but for the rest of the year he has been on and off and on the disabled list. The Indians still dream of him helping their stretch run, but fantasy owners should not expect him to return in time to help them.

First baseman for the Washington Nationals, Adam LaRoche, who was always a favorite post All-Star break pick up for my fantasy teams (first half OPS 0.758 - second half OPS 0.889) underwent season-ending shoulder surgery last week.

And Brian Roberts is still experiencing concussion-related symptoms and will likely also miss the rest of the season, not that he did much to help you when he was on the field for a brief 39 games stint.



Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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