This is starting to get a little ridiculous now. It seems as if I can’t even make it through my lunch break without hearing of some catastrophic injury news. No matter how well teams manage their young hurlers’ inning limits (Jose Fernandez), or how many times we yell to ourselves, “Stop sliding head-first on the base paths!” (Ben Zobrist), the injuries just seem to keep piling up.
Maybe fantasy baseball owners should probably employ a handcuff system similar to the one used in fantasy football. In fact, come August, there may not even be enough players to fill out major league rosters. If Will Middlebrooks lands on the DL one more time, Julio Franco may be called upon to play the hot corner for the Red Sox.
Here are this week’s injuries and other health-related situations to monitor…
Prince Fielder, Rangers: Surprisingly enough, the flat-footed, lumbering Fielder had the longest active games-played streak in the land. After 547 games, though, the 30-year-old was forced to sit out Saturday and Sunday due to a herniated disk in his neck. He plans on returning for Tuesday’s game vs. the Mariners, but that seems like a very optimistic outlook. Fielder received an injection in his neck, and while it’s possible the pain subsides enough for him to play this week, the injury itself is not one to be taken lightly. It is the same ailment that New Orleans Pelicans’ power forward Ryan Anderson sustained in January, which caused him to miss nearly the entire NBA season and ultimately have surgery. It’s a shame for Fielder’s owners, as he was starting to swing a better bat of late, going 6-for-13 over his previous four games. If there’s anything good to take from this, it’s that Fielder claims his neck has been an issue since March, which could’ve been a main contributor to his early-season hitting woes. Hopefully he is pain-free, but owners should be looking to move him if they can. Mitch Moreland (23 HR in 2013) is a nice option to have on standby in deeper leagues. Somewhere in Michigan, Ian Kinsler is smiling.
Jose Abreu, White Sox: Even the hottest hitter in the land is not immune to the injury bug. Abreu’s ankle has been an issue all season long, but it’s now bad enough that the Sox have placed him on the 15-day DL. One has to wonder how much fire Robin Ventura has been playing with. Ventura kept saying he was planning on giving Abreu a day off, but each day he said that, he went back on his word and started him. Maybe a day off or two vs. the lowly Astros would have been worth it? At any rate, the extended time off should do him well. He will receive an MRI early this week, but the team believes he’s merely dealing with tendinitis in his ankle and the minimum stay on the DL will be sufficient. You can’t replace 15 HR and 52 RBI, but at least they got Adam Eaton back today! If you’re looking for a fill-in, Paul Konerko was seen checking out of Shady Acres Retirement Home and setting up a bowl of hard candy and potpourri in front of his locker at US Cellular Field.
Other Injury Notes:
Joey Votto, Reds: A quad strain has kept the Reds’ 1B out of the lineup for the past three games, and while the team is saying he shouldn’t require a DL stint (as of Sunday afternoon), they may have to eventually do so. Votto is having the worst season of his illustrious career, so maybe some time off to gather his thoughts will do him some good.
Carlos Gomez, Brewers: Whether it’s because of back pain, a suspension, or the flu, Gomez hasn’t set foot on the field for the past five games. It’s a little troublesome that he was set to play Saturday, only to have his back stiffen up on him again. The Brewers begin Week 8 facing the Braves’ tough trio of Mike Minor, Julio Teheran and Ervin Santana, so owners in weekly leagues might consider benching Gomez if they have an adequate replacement.
Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals: X-rays showed that Zimm’s broken thumb hasn’t completely healed, but that hasn’t stopped the team from letting him practice — in the outfield. It’s an interesting development from a fantasy point of view, as OF-eligibility would be a nice bonus for anyone who owns the third baseman. The Nats’ reasoning behind it? To fill the void left by Bryce Harper in left field and allow Danny Espinosa to continue to stay in the lineup. Matt Williams is clearly confusing Espinosa with someone who can hit. The 27-year-old free-swinger is 5-for-46 with 18 K’s over his last 11 games.
Gio Gonzalez, Nationals: The Nationals should change their stadium name to the “Washington Nationals’ Center for the Disabled”. Gio was placed on the DL with shoulder inflammation and an MRI showed proof that’s all it was. Phew. Owners can breathe a little sigh of relief and hope the time off can fix his recent troubles — the left-hander had allowed 12 ER and 3 HR over his last 7.1 IP. A minimum absence would be nice, but I would be surprised if he returns any earlier than three weeks.
Mark Trumbo, Diamondbacks: Trumbo is still in a walking boot, but hopes to rejoin the team for a six-game road trip that begins July 1st in Pittsburgh. At least we now have a little bit more clarity as to when the D-Backs’ slugger will return. Fantasy owners are bursting with excitement at the prospects of being able to plug Trumbo and his .210 batting average back into their lineups.
Andrew Cashner, Padres: The Padres’ ace has landed on the DL with “elbow soreness” and will undergo an MRI on Monday. Cashner was solid in his last outing (7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K), but this is not good news. It’s very likely we could have Tommy John surgery No. 368,922 of the 2014 season on the way. What a slap in the testicles this is. Keep an eye on Matt Wisler down on the farm, as this could expedite his call up to The Show.
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