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Injuries and opportunities

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Does it seem as if your fantasy stars are increasingly sitting on the sidelines due to injury?

Just last night we saw Carlos Gonzalez, Ryan Braun, Josh Beckett and Howie Kendrick leave games due to health issues. They join a long list of stars and near stars watching from the bench these days.

In fact, you could build a pretty good fantasy baseball team with just the players on the disabled list.

This would be your infield - catcher Joe Mauer, first baseman Kendrys Morales, Chase Utley at second, Rafael Furcal at shortstop and David Wright at the hot corner.

The outfield would be dominated by the Texas Rangers with 2010 AL MVP Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz along with Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino (expected to go on the disabled list today) or Vernon Wells.

The designated hitter would be Jim Thome.

Your starting rotation could be Adam Wainwright, Stephen Strasburg, Johan Santana, Barry Zito and Phil Hughes. Meanwhile, Andrew Bailey or Brad Lidge are available to close out games.

You would have a solid bench with Geovany Soto, Derrek Lee, Brian Roberts, Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval.

But fear not fantasy owners, because with the exception of Morales, Wainwright and Strasburg all these guys should return this season to bolster your lineup. We are only about 45 games into the 162-game schedule, which means we still have 72% of the season in front of us.

And while Hamilton and Mauer are is still owned in 98% of all leagues, there are opportunities to be had with a few of the other names.

Chase Utley, who is due back before the end of the month, is available in 5% of all leagues. Sandoval is a free agent in 15% and Wells in 53% of all leagues.

Bailey can be had in one-out-of-every-five leagues. That the A's closer who has posted 51 saves over the past two seasons...with a bad Oakland team. They are playing much better now, which means more save opportunities.

Lidge is available in almost 50% of all leagues and while Ryan Madson has pitched well (seven saves), manager Charlie Manuel wouldn't commit to the youngster for the remainder of the season.

And for those of you in keeper leagues, it's never too early to think about 2012. Adam Wainwright is owned in just 7% of all leagues and Stephen Strasburg in 13%. If you have room to stash them on your roster, they would make a great addition to your 2012 starting lineup.

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


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