Fantasy Camp Notes: No room left for Fields?

Scott Kazmir made it through a 37-pitch session off a mound Monday morning, two weeks after he sent shockwaves through fantasy drafts by hyper-extending his elbow and getting taken out of a spring game before throwing a single live pitch. The Tampa Tribune reports that Kazmir felt no ill effects in his bullpen session and might get into a spring game later this week.

• White Sox general manager Kenny Williams told the Chicago Sun-Times that if he can't work out a trade before the regular season begins, Joe Crede may be his starting third baseman. In an article titled "Joe Must Go? Not So, Williams Says," the GM maintains that he's "had only two teams approach him [about trading for Crede] since the start of spring, and he left both conversations uninspired." Because Josh Fields still has options, Williams intimates, the young third baseman could still begin the year at Triple-A. "… [T]he most difficult thing in all of this would be if I have to have that conversation with Josh Fields because he has done everything we've asked, and he's played well enough where he deserves to be on a big-league roster." It's worth noting that on Monday, Crede went 0-for-3 and committed his fourth error of the spring.

Josh Beckett told the Boston Globe that he "… was a lot more optimistic yesterday than I am today" about his hurting back. An MRI reportedly didn't show any serious issues, but Beckett had a hard time sleeping Sunday night and doesn't know when he'll get back to throwing. There's a real possibility that neither Beckett nor Daisuke Matsuzaka (who'll be waiting for his wife to give birth) will make the Red Sox's trip to Japan for two regular-season games against Oakland on March 25 and 26.

John Lackey made his first appearance of the spring, throwing 1 2/3 innings against the A's in a Cactus League game. Lackey had gone through a sore elbow at the very beginning of camp, which put him behind schedule to be the Angels' Opening Day starter. It's unclear whether he's still a candidate to pitch L.A.'s opener; when the Los Angeles Times asked Mike Scioscia last week, the manager was very skeptical.

• The Brewers' official site reports that Ryan Braun is pretty much set as the team's cleanup hitter, where he'll hit behind Prince Fielder. Braun's incredible rookie year came almost exclusively from the 3-hole; he had only 44 cleanup at-bats in 2007 and struck out 16 times in that role (and walked just thrice). Corey Hart will likely be Braun's lineup protection, which should be fine, provided No. 6 hitter Bill Hall picks it up after what's been a very slow spring.

• The San Francisco Chronicle reports that third baseman Eric Chavez isn't expected to play on Opening Day for the A's. According to the paper, the team's head athletic trainer "wouldn't say whether Chavez will make the trip to Japan on March 19, but he did say, 'It would be more advantageous if he stayed here and got work done.'" Chavez hasn't fielded grounders and doesn't even have a timetable to begin running. Jack Hannahan will probably play third for the A's in their regular-season opening series.

• We had a Carlos Beltran sighting Monday, as Beltran played in his first game this spring after offseason surgery on both of his knees. He went 0-for-3 as the Mets' designated hitter and told the New York Daily News afterward that he wasn't sure when he'd be able to play in the field. Also making a return to the batting order for the incredibly injury-bitten Mets on Monday was Carlos Delgado, who hadn't played since Feb. 29 because of an impingement in his right hip. Delgado said his hip didn't bother him Monday, but you have to be suspicious of a guy who's really broken down the last couple of seasons.

• Dodgers closer Takashi Saito got through fielding drills Sunday without any recurrence of calf problems, according to the Los Angeles Times. Saito was expected to throw a side session soon. He was unable to get through a bullpen session last Friday, so this is progress.

• The Orioles' presumptive closer, George Sherrill, has been quite good since returning from a minor hamstring problem and threw two perfect relief innings against the Dodgers on Monday. The former lefty specialist is just about the only guy in Baltimore's bullpen who hasn't struggled in one way or another, so the ninth-inning job appears to be safe with him at the moment.

Brandon McCarthy will miss between four and six weeks because of severe inflammation of his forearm muscles near his elbow, according to the Dallas Morning News. An MRI reportedly revealed no ligament damage, but McCarthy won't make the Rangers' Opening Day rotation. Luis Mendoza and the newly signed Sidney Ponson are candidates to take McCarthy's spot, and you don't want any part of either.

• The Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles have "expressed interest" in Houston reserve infielder Mark Loretta. The paper says that nothing is imminent, but one supposes this is a case of the Orioles getting their ducks in a row in case they trade Brian Roberts to the Cubs (or elsewhere). Presumably, in such a case, Loretta could be an option at second base.

• The Astros' official Web site reports that Lance Berkman took himself out of Monday afternoon's game because of tightness in his left quad. Berkman had a terrific day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double and a triple, but left "as a precaution" in the eighth inning. Given that Berkman already struggled with a pulled oblique earlier this spring, the Astros are going to be conservative with him, keeping him out of action at least on Tuesday, and maybe a bit longer.

• Presumptive AL Rookie of the Year candidate Evan Longoria of the Rays went 2-for-5 with a stolen base Monday in a spring training game against the Indians, leaving him 6-for-16 for the month. So far it would seem he's doing what he needs to claim the third-base job.

• Adam Miller of the Indians, still a fine starter prospect at age 23 and probably the most valuable commodity in the Cleveland farm system, was shipped to the team's minor league camp Monday without ever getting into a big league spring game. His blister problem, which carried over from winter ball, will be something to watch as he begins his minor league season. With Cliff Lee probably in the lead for the fifth starter's role but Jeremy Sowers and Aaron Laffey also serving as candidates, it's probably a stretch to believe Miller is the first man in if someone in the Indians' rotation gets hurt.

• Staying on the rookie tip, Houston catcher J.R. Towles continues to miss time with a bad hamstring, which he injured Saturday, according to the Houston Chronicle. Astros general manager Ed Wade says he expects Towles to "miss most of this week." Towles had already been named the team's starting backstop, ahead of Brad Ausmus.

Manny Parra had another fine outing Monday, going four scoreless innings and allowing just a single hit in a relief effort against the Cubs. Parra has now allowed just one run in nine innings this spring and would appear to be in the lead for the Brewers' fifth-starter gig. The other candidates are Carlos Villanueva (who was very good mostly in long relief last year), Chris Capuano (ugh) and Claudio Vargas (double-ugh). With Yovani Gallardo apparently set to make good on his promise of being ready for the regular season, there's probably only one spot open in this rotation, and Parra does have a history of arm troubles. But right now, the Brewers should be thinking of using him as a major league starter and seeing if they can catch lightning in a bottle.

Philip Humber is another young pitcher who's been very good this spring, and Monday he pitched another two innings in relief, retiring all six batters he faced. In six innings, he's allowed only two hits but the Twins do seem to be babying him a bit and haven't let him get stretched out, limiting him to two innings in each of his appearances. That's probably an indication Humber won't make the Twins' rotation out of spring training.

Coco Crisp would appear to have the world's most convenient groin injury, and one wonders if a trade from Boston would cure him. The Boston Globe reports that Crisp was supposed to try and take batting practice Monday, but didn't because his left groin is still bugging him. Manager Terry Francona says Crisp can't run, and until he can, won't hit. Crisp is engaged in a high-profile position battle for the center-field gig and has been quoted by numerous media outlets about his displeasure in having to win a job a year after performing at a near-Gold Glove level. It remains to be seen if both Crisp and Jacoby Ellsbury really will be on the Red Sox's Opening Day roster.

Juan Salas, who pitched relatively well in 34 big league games last year (3.72 ERA, 1.46 WHIP) despite a 50-game steroid suspension, is still having visa problems returning from the Dominican Republic and hasn't made appearance yet in Rays camp, according to the St. Petersburg Times. Salas almost certainly won't make the big league club in April, having missed all of spring training to date.

• According to ESPN wire services, Mark DeRosa returned to the Cubs' lineup Monday, a week and a half after undergoing a surgical procedure to fix an irregular heartbeat. The 33-year-old experienced the irregular heartbeat on Feb. 23 during infield drills.

Christopher Harris is a fantasy baseball, football and racing analyst for ESPN.com. He is a six-time Fantasy Sports Writing Association award winner across all three of those sports. You can e-mail him here.