They're Back

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Many of you have been waiting for this day since early in the season, for some, since before the season began. It's the return of the superstar from injury.

Number One on the list is Phillies second baseman Chase Utley (ADP 65). Utley, ranked as the No.2 second baseman behind Robinson Cano in the TSN preseason rankings, hasn't played an inning all season, but will debut on Monday evening against Bronson Arroyo and the Cincinnati Reds.

Utley has been out all season with patellar tendonitis. He'll come off the disabled list and bat third tonight in front of Ryan Howard. The move should help the entire Phillies lineup which has had many players batting in unfamiliar positions and struggled to score runs. Utley's return should help, but he won't be a miracle cure.

He's not a magic elixir because Utley, at 32, isn't the guy he once was. He is not the guy who averaged .300 with 29 HR, 101 RBI and 15 stolen bases from 2005-2009. This is a more fragile version, who will play fewer games, run less and basically protect his body for a hoped for post-season run to a championship.

Still, even at less than 100-percent, Utley will be a solid fantasy contributor - just not a superstar. He'll also probably sit at least one game a week as manager Charlie Manuel tries to keep him healthy. Utley's best value to your fantasy team, and he is owned in 95% of all leagues, could be as trade material. Many fantasy owners will still remember his "big' years and you could get a lot in return.

Meanwhile, another struggling offense, the Texas Rangers, gets some of its weapons back this week. Both Josh Hamilton (ADP 38) and Nelson Cruz (ADP 26) have been rehabbing in the minors this past week.

Hamilton was putting up better numbers and should be inserted back into your lineup as soon as you hear he's in the lineup, probably Monday night.

Cruz struggled to find his batting stroke at AAA Round Rock, just as he was scuffling before the injury, and you might want to wait until you see his bat come to life before installing him in your starting lineup.

Jim Thome's big bat was activated this morning and Oakland closer Andrew Bailey (51 saves over the past two seasons) is close to returning following a AAA assignment this week.

And just in case you hadn't noticed - on Sunday Rafael Furcal played his first game since April 11th. Sure he went 0-for-5, but it's good to have the Dodgers shortstop back.

Of course, there is always some bad news with the good. The Braves put Jason Heyward on the disabled list, Matt Holliday re-aggravated his leg injury and Josh Johnson was put on the DL retroactive to May 17th.

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

Powered by The Sports Network.