• Rickt: I am the biggest Cal Jr fan around but one of my good friends played minor l...

Eric Gagne Dodgers reliever Eric Gagne allowed one hit in a scoreless ninth inning Monday to earn a save in his second and final rehab assignment for Triple-A Las Vegas. Gagne got former major leaguer Curtis Pride to ground out to shortstop to end the 8-6 victory.

Gagne said he is scheduled to return to the Dodgers on Thursday, when they return home to play Philadelphia. The former All-Star has looked great during his rehab stint and is primed to regain his role as the Dodgers’ closer upon his return to the majors. It’s likely that it’s too late to pry Gagne away from your fantasy brethren, but it’s worth a shot. Try packaging two good relievers and see if you can catch someone off guard.

Mark Prior Pitching at the Cubs’ Class A affiliate, Prior struggled to get out of the second inning of his rehab appearance on Monday. The 25-year old righty threw 44 pitches in two innings, giving up four hits and three runs. He’s been on the disabled list all season as he works his way back from a sore shoulder.

With the Cubs mired in a season-long slump, don’t expect Prior to be rushed back into the rotation. The Cubs plan to start Prior in atleast two more rehab games before assessing his situation. Prior is a top-notch starter that is worth acquiring if you have trade bait and can afford to stow him away until he reemerges in the majors in mid-June.

Jorge Cantu Devil Rays 2B Jorge Cantu starts a week-long rehab assignment Monday at Double-A Montgomery and is expected back from a broken left foot around June 5.

Despite putting up remarkable numbers, Cantu is still an under-valued fantasy commodity. With eligibility at 2b and 3b, Cantu is coming off of a season in which he led the Devil Rays in homers, RBI’s, hits and doubles. Try to trade for Jorge before he regains full strength and starts mashing again at the Trop.

Carl Pavano Carl Pavano had a bone chip removed from his right elbow by Dr. James Andrews last Thursday, according to the New York Post.

Run for your lives! Anytime you hear the words “Dr. James Andrews” in regard to one of your pitchers, you might as well grab a drink, toast to better times, grin and bear it. Pavano is still hopeful to return before the end of 2006, but at this point, the injury-plagued Pavano holds little to no fantasy value. Stash him only if you have ample room on your DL.

Rich Harden Oakland ace Rich Harden could return to the Oakland rotation as early as this upcoming Sunday. He has been out of action and on the disabled list since late April due to a strained back muscle.

Now may be the perfect time to try to acquire Harden. With a lengthy injury to begin the 2006 campaign, fantasy owners may be growing restless with his prolonged abscence and may not have heard the good news about his return. Offer a respectable trade for Harden in an attempt to make an antsy Harden owner bite without thinking things through.

Stay tuned for my next article in which I’ll tell you which players WILL be injured by the end of this month.

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