Updated: August 19, 2008, 1:47 PM ET

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Tim Heitman/US Presswire

The numbers Ian Kinsler provided from the second base slot are irreplaceable this season.

Sports hernia fells fantasy MVP
Fantasy owners were dealt a cruel fate on Monday when the Texas Rangers announced leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler, an All-Star second baseman who began on Monday tied with Lance Berkman for the top spot on ESPN's Player Rater, would likely miss the rest of the season with a sports hernia.

Kinsler, leading the majors in hits and runs scored, said he felt pain in his groin fielding a ground ball during Sunday night's loss to the Rays. He left the game in the eighth inning. An MRI on Monday confirmed the tear in Kinsler's groin, and if he needs surgery, it would officially end his breakout season. Even if he doesn't need surgery, it's likely the Rangers would err on the side of caution and shut Kinsler down.

This is horrible news for fantasy owners, as second base is not the deepest position to find help, and in most leagues the trade deadline has passed. Plus, nobody has had a better fantasy season than Kinsler, expect maybe Berkman. This is all from a guy who was drafted in ESPN live drafts at No. 72 on average, making him arguably the best value in the game. At the All-Star break, I and other ESPN fantasy writers gave Kinsler an overall No. 10 ranking for 2009, ahead of Josh Hamilton, Ryan Braun and Johan Santana, among many others. On the plus side, this injury should not affect Kinsler next season.

The Rangers called up Joaquin Arias from Triple-A Oklahoma to replace Kinsler, and expect him to share second base duties with Ramon Vazquez. Arias, as I'm sure everyone recalls, was the "player to be named later" in the 2004 Alex Rodriguez-Alfonso Soriano trade with the Yankees. He picked up 11 at-bats late in the 2006 season with Texas and, in the minors this season, the 23-year-old was hitting .296 with seven home runs and 23 stolen bases. He could be a decent source of steals the final six weeks. Meanwhile, to fill Vazquez's spot at third base, Chris Davis is expected to move across the diamond, making room for Hank Blalock at first base. Of course, we've heard that one before. As for the lineup, the Rangers used Brandon Boggs in the leadoff spot on Monday, thus not moving the likes of Michael Young, Hamilton and Milton Bradley. This trio should see fewer RBI opportunities, but not enough to blunt their fantasy values.

As for available second basemen who could possibly help replace Kinsler's 18 home runs and 26 stolen bases, there isn't anyone who precisely fits that bill, but Jed Lowrie, Ian Stewart and Mark Ellis all seem like reasonable options. In deeper leagues, take a look at Omar Infante and Ray Durham.

Past editions: 8/18: bullpen costs Kershaw another win | 8/17: Halladay complete again

Box Score Bits
Kinsler wasn't alone in the injury news on Monday. Ryan Braun and Justin Duchscherer each left their games with problems. Braun, who played over the weekend after coming back from back woes, left on Monday's game after striking out in the sixth inning, and walked gingerly to the dugout. Braun began on Monday ranked 15th on ESPN's Player Rater. Gabe Kapler filled in nicely last week, and stands to gain playing time again. He might even keep hitting third in the order. Oakland starting pitcher Duchscherer left with a sore hip after retiring eight Twins hitters. He was replaced by Kirk Saarloos. Duchscherer seemed to be running out of gas; he last won July 8. … Four White Sox homered in the 13-5 win over the Mariners, including leading MVP contender Carlos Quentin, who now has 35 home runs. … Seattle left fielder Raul Ibanez went 5-for-5 on Sunday, and followed it up with three more hits on Monday. He's hitting .301 for the season, and better than .400 in August. … The Red Sox enjoyed Jason Bay's second home run of the night to come back and beat the Orioles. Bay also stole a base and knocked in four runs, his best night yet with Boston. Bay had hit one home run in his 15 games with the club before Monday. … Aubrey Huff hit his 27th home run, a solo shot off Jon Lester. It was Huff's fifth home run against a left-hander. His OPS is more than 200 points higher against right-handed pitching. … John Maine allowed two hits in five innings, and nary a run to the Pirates, but the bullpen allowed five runs in three innings to lose the game. Pittsburgh's Adam LaRoche hit his first home run since coming off the DL last week. … Jose Reyes was given a routine day off, and Damion Easley started at shortstop for the third time this season. … The Braves can't seem to win even at home anymore. Barry Zito scatted five hits over seven scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 5.43 and win his seventh game. … Atlanta's Jorge Campillo allowed five runs for the third consecutive outing. Fantasy owners should be noticing this by now. … CC Sabathia went the distance yet again, allowing 11 hits and two walks and striking out nine Astros. Sabathia is 8-0 for the Brewers in nine starts. … Sabathia couldn't stop the streaking Ty Wigginton, though. Wiggy homered for the fifth time in eight games, as he really seems to be enjoying left field. … Who needs Evan Longoria? Willy Aybar delivered three singles, his fourth multi-hit game in five starts. … The Rays beat the Angels as Eric Hinske and Cliff Floyd hit early home runs. Hinske has 19 round-trippers, the most he's hit since he bashed 24 as a rookie in 2002 with the Twins. … Dan Wheeler picked up his sixth save of the season. Meanwhile, Grant Balfour allowed a run in the seventh inning. … Gary Sheffield homered and had two other hits, raising his batting average to .230, the highest it has been since July 3. … Curtis Granderson hit a pair of triples and batted in four runs. Granderson hit 23 triples a year ago. He now has nine. … Fernando Rodney continues to shine in the closer role, and he has no competition. Todd Jones is back on the DL and Kyle Farnsworth coughed up four Rangers runs in the eighth inning, though two were unearned. Rodney hasn't permitted a run in his past nine innings.



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Standing Out

Alexei Ramirez, White Sox
Ramirez hit his 12th home run of the season, his fifth homer and 18th RBI since the All-Star break. He's hitting .292 and slugging .509 in the second half.

Jarrod Washburn, Mariners
In his first start since it was revealed that he'd been claimed on waivers by the Twins, Washburn was roughed up for eight earned runs in 4 1/3 innings. He walked two, but surrendered two two-run homers.
News and Notes
Remember Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo? He's been on the DL for more than a month with a left quad strain, and took swings in the indoor batting cage for the first time. He should be back by Sept. 1, but Jed Lowrie might be better at this point. … Rays third baseman Evan Longoria says his injured wrist is feeling better, and he expects to be playing before Sept. 1. He's actually eligible to return from the DL this coming weekend. … Teammate Troy Percival does not need surgery on the cartilage damage in his right knee, and he could be ready to rejoin the Rays the first week of September. There's no indication the Rays are removing him from the closer role, though the next injury probably isn't far behind. … Meanwhile, the Rays no longer have once-backup closer Al Reyes, after the right-hander declined a minor league assignment, becoming a free agent. Reyes, 38, has a 4.37 ERA this season, but one would think he'll find work quickly. Luis Ayala and his 5.77 ERA were traded for over the weekend. … Pirates first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz was placed on the bereavement list, and outfielder Nyjer Morgan got the call to the big club. Mientkiewicz shouldn't have been owned in fantasy, and it's unlikely Morgan will see much playing time. Andy LaRoche is the full-time third baseman, and his brother Adam plays regularly at first. … Rickie Weeks missed Monday's game with the Astros, a day after leaving in the sixth inning against the Dodgers and proclaimed he wouldn't miss any time. Lefty-hitting Ray Durham got the start against lefty Randy Wolf, and ended up hitting a pair of doubles and knocking in three runs. … The Phillies are expected to activate starting third baseman Pedro Feliz from the DL before Wednesday's game. All those who grabbed Greg Dobbs when Feliz went down can let him go.
They Wrote It

"For the Padres, it only makes sense to trade Maddux for whatever they can get. Their alternative was to offer him arbitration and let him leave as a free agent, netting them one or two draft picks. However, at his age, he could easily retire after the season, leaving them with nothing in return. So dealing him now for a certain return was the better option."

-- Keith Law Blog


• As noted in our trade blog, the Dodgers are close to a deal for Greg Maddux. It is not yet known what compensation the Padres would receive. Maddux was picked up by the Dodgers in July 2006, and went 6-3. He's having another fine season, sporting a 3.99 ERA, but has only six wins to show for it thanks to the San Diego offense. Maddux, owned in 28 percent of ESPN standard leagues, should win a bit more with the Dodgers, but with only six weeks left, don't expect a major impact.

• Meanwhile, as a result of the groundbreaking Luis Ayala trade from Sunday, the Mets had no need for rookie Eddie Kunz anymore, and he was sent down to Triple-A New Orleans. Kunz seemed close to getting saves less than a week ago, but Pedro Feliciano got in the way, then Kunz got lit in the ninth inning with a six-run lead Saturday. Someday he could be in line for saves. Or he could end up being Ryan Wagner.

• The Athletics purchased the contract of swingman Kirk Saarloos from Triple-A Sacramento, and he won on Monday in relief. Saarloos wasn't all that good when he was in Oakland's rotation a few years back. He replaces Dan Meyer on the staff. Meyer was one of the prizes of the Tim Hudson trade with Atlanta from December 2004, and he still has yet to win a major league game.

On The Farm

• Richmond Braves left fielder Brandon Jones swatted a pair of home runs against the Toledo Mud Hens, and knocked in all three runs in a 3-0 win. Jones has eight home runs on the season, seven against right-handed pitching. The Braves are going nowhere, so Jones should get a chance to play in September. Everyone's favorite closer Jorge Julio picked up his ninth save, striking out three of the four hitters he faced.

Travis Hafner -- remember him? -- hit cleanup for Triple-A Buffalo on Monday, getting a single and a double in three at-bats, all off Lehigh Valley left-handers Fabio Castro and Travis Blackley. Hafner could rejoin the Indians later this week, and while his numbers with the big club earlier this season aren't very good, if healthy he could really help a fantasy team the final month.