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Five pitchers aiming for comebacks

By February 15, 2013

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It's February, so everybody looks to be in good shape and veterans who seem to be on their last gasps are taking a deep breath.

There are quite a few pitchers in camps in Arizona and Florida who fit that description. Here are five who might not be worth a flier in your fantasy league -- except for very late in a draft or a dime at auction -- but could play a role on a contender.

John Lackey, Red Sox: When last we left Lackey, he was part of the dysfunctional Red Sox group, pitching in pain on the last Terry Francona season. He missed the Red Sox's 2012 debacle completely after Tommy John surgery, and is throwing without pain. "A lot of guys [think of it as a fresh start] in here," Lackey said to the Providence Journal. "We've got a different mix. A new coaching staff, a lot of new things in here. I feel like it's one of my first years in the big leagues again." He's making $15.25 million this season and will be counted on to eat some innings.

Michael Pineda, Yankees: Pineda missed all of last season -- his first as a Yankee after a trade -- with a shoulder injury. He's 20 pounds lighter, but probably won't make the club out of spring training as he continues his rehab. He was an All-Star at 22 in 2011 with the Mariners.

Javier Vasquez, Free Agent: Vasquez retired after the 2011 season. He had an underrated career (165-160, 4.22 ERA in 14 seasons during the PED era) and will pitch in the World Baseball Classic for Puerto Rico. He'll decide whether he's still got the itch after the WBC, and the Nationals are among the teams keeping tabs.

John Danks, White Sox: The 27-year-old lefty, who won 15 games in 2010 and started the White Sox's opener last season, had shoulder surgery that cut short his 2012 season after nine starts in which he went 3-4 with a 5.70 ERA. He's 50-50 to open the season with the big-league club.

Brian Wilson, Free Agent: The eccentric, bearded closer was left untendered by the San Francisco Giants and is 10 months removed from Tommy John surgery, the second of his career.  But teams aren't willing to make him a closer off the bat, and he doesn't seem close to finding a 2013 home.


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