After batting just .181 with one homer over 94 June at-bats, rookie sensation Jason Heyward’s batting average fell from .292 (on May 31) to .251 following last Saturday’s 0-for-4 game.

Heyward’s recent ineffectiveness can be blamed on a lingering thumb injury that’s been bothering him since late May. Instead of continuing to let him play through the pain, the Braves decided to place the 20-year-old on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 27.

Heyward’s injury won’t require surgery, and he’s expected to be back in the lineup after the All-Star Break.

While his long-term value is through the roof, his short-term value can easily be replaced with one of the following waiver wire fliers :

David DeJesus doesn’t wow you in the power/speed categories, but he’s batting .332 with 39 runs, five home runs, 35 RBI and three steals through 289 at-bats this season.

He’s been especially hot of late, batting .416 (40-for-96) with 12 runs, a home run and 16 RBI in 25 June games for the lowly Royals.

DeJesus’s three-year average (82 runs, 11 HR, 67 RBI, eight steals, .281 average) are nothing spectacular, but he’s a solid injury replacement. In fact, the 30-year-old’s fantasy value could be on the rise, as he’s rumored to be the centerpiece of recent trade talks with the Red Sox and Giants.

DeJesus is currently available in 55 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

• Despite his lingering reputation as a free-swinging bust, Jeff Francoeur is putting together a respectable season with the Mets. Through 75 games, the former first-rounder is batting .267 with 33 runs, eight home runs, 40 RBI and seven steals. Even more, he’s striking out just 17.3 percent of the time (MLB average: 20.5 percent).

The revived 26-year-old is hitting .316 with three home runs and 13 RBI this month, and appears capable of approaching his first 20/20 campaign. Given his spot in the Mets’ lineup, the former Braves prospect should continue to see his fair share of RBI opportunities.

Francouer’s average probably won’t sniff .300, but he should offer respectable power numbers while Heyward rides your disabled list. He’s currently owned in just 28 percent of Yahoo! leagues.

Will Venable showed flashes of brilliance last August , whacking six homers with 17 RBI, three steals and posting a .313 average in 28 games, earning him a spot on the 2010 All-Breakout Team .

He’s not a high average hitter, but the 27-year-old right fielder offers a valuable power/speed combo. Through 68 games this season, Venable has hit eight homer runs and stolen 14 bases.

His most recent production, however, makes him worthy of an add, as Venable is batting .346 (9-for-26) with four home runs and 12 RBI in his last eight games.

The Padres have a favorable schedule between now and the All-Star break, and the left-handed hitting Venable should continue to produce respectable totals. If you’re in one of the 92 percent of Yahoo! leagues in which he’s available, scoop him up and start him until Heyward returns.


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