NL Notes: Bagwell's last stand

Each week, we take a look at some of the top stories and trends in the National League and how such topics will affect your fantasy baseball strategy in 2006.

Jeff Bagwell is a Houston icon. He's determined to keep playing despite the stance of the Astros' front office. The Houston brass thinks Bagwell's illustrious career with the team should be over because of his shoulder issues. A proud Bagwell is trying to prove he still can play effectively.

Bagwell had surgery on his right shoulder in June. He has been dealing with the arthritic shoulder since 2001 and played in only 39 games last season. Bagwell hit 39 homers in 2003, but he slipped to 27 homers in 2004 while hitting .266. Last year, he hit three home runs in 100 at-bats as it became clear his unfortunate fall from prominence was nearly complete. The Astros contend Bagwell is too hurt to play, and they filed an insurance claim in January, hoping to recoup most of his 2006 salary.