Jerry Seinfeld voice: “What’s the deal with backs???”

That’s a great question, Jerry. What IS the deal with backs? Because we have a lot of back injuries to discuss in this week’s edition of Razzball Ambulance Chasers (sponsored by Aleve). And by a lot of back injuries, I mean almost half of the notable injuries this week are back injuries. The good news is that there are some pretty decent pick-ups as many players are heating up this week.

Also, sorry to bury the lede, but R.I.P Ronald Acuña Jr.


Notable Injuries

AL Central

Kerry Carpenter (OF, DET), back inflammation: Carpenter is on the IL with back inflammation. At the time of publication, there was no timetable given for his return. You won’t have to look too far to find a replacement with Detroit’s Matt Vierling. Vierling is on a heater right now. In his last 20 AB, he has 4 HR and 10 RBIs. Son wrote a very nice in-depth piece about Vierling that you check out to deepen your knowledge. If Vierling is not readily available in your league, fellow Tiger Mark Canha would also be a decent option.

Michael Massey (2B, KCR), back: Michael Massey takes a vacation to the IL. No, not the Illinois, silly. Massey is nursing a sprained lower back. This is a recurring issue for him.

If you are looking for another 2B, check out Pirate Nick Gonzales. In 64 AB this season, Gonazales is hitting .312/.375/.547, and his recent numbers are much better than that. How long will it last though? Gonzales has a 0.386 BABIP. So, he will probably regress at some point. Another option could be Isiah Kiner-Falefa who is 2B eligible in some leagues. Move on down to the next entry to read more about how Falefa is doing (spoiler: surprisingly well).

AL East

Tyler O’Neill (OF, BOS), knee: O’No. O’Neill returns to his still warm spot on the IL with right knee inflammation. He is eligible to return June 5. Enmanuel Valdéz was recalled to take O’Neill’s spot on the roster.

Lord help me, but I am going to recommend Isiah Kiner-Falefa as a pick-up here. Falefa has had a nice run with Toronto so far. In his last 26 AB, he hit .385/.467/.808 with 2 HR, 5 RBIs, 4 BB, and 1 SB. Not bad at all.

Clarke Schmidt (SP, NYY), lat: Schmidt will be out for a while with a right lat strain. Aaron Boone shared Schmidt won’t be able to throw for 4-6 weeks. That’s without ramping up and a rehab assignment. Ben Brown of the Cubs could be an available and useful SP here. He has a 10.7 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 for the season. If you look at his last 30 days, his K/9 gets better (12.7), but he also started walking a bit more (4.2).

AL West

Evan Carter (OF, TEX), back: Carter has been dealing with back issues for a few weeks now, but he avoided the IL. Unfortunately, it was his time to join the IL with a diagnosis of lumbar sprain. The Rangers have had Wyatt Langford, Travis Jankowski, and Ezequiel Duran all take turns in left field. Ezequiel Duran is probably available in your league and not a bad option if you’re down bad (if you have Evan Carter, chances are you were). He’s hit .284/.342/.343 so far this season.

NL East

Ronald Acuña Jr. (OF, ATL), knee: Your early season fears come true. Acuña is out for the 2024 season with a torn ACL. This is his second ACL tear. Obviously, Acuña is not easily replaced. The Braves have Adam Duvall who, despite having hit 2 HR and 3 RBIs in his last 21 AB, is still hitting .190/.277/.524 in as many ABs. Maybe some more consistent playing time will help him find his groove.

Jarred Kelenic is another Braves option that’s potentially available to you. He’s hit .256/.299/.376 for the season, but he has been heating up some lately.

Edwin Díaz (RP, NYM), shoulder: Buddy, I need you to stay off this list. The struggling Edwin Díaz will be out until at least June 10 with shoulder impingement. Perhaps we will see him get back to a more expected place after that. The Mets called up LHP Josh Walker to replace Edwin.

If you need someone division specific than can give you SV, Dodger Blake Treinen has very low volume but has had some very promising performances lately. In the small sample size of 8.7 IP he’s pitched this season, he has a 0.00 ERA and 0.71 FIP.

This is my first chance to mention Jeremiah Estrada, and I will take it. For the season, Estrada has a 15.5 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9. In his past 4.7 IP, he has a 24.9 K/9. Sheesh! I should add his BABIP for the season is 0.160.

A.J. Minter (RP), ATL), hip: Minter hits the IL with some hip inflammation. He is eligible to return on June 14. The Braves called up RHP Jimmy Herget to fill in Minter’s roster spot. Herget has done well in his small 3.0 IP: 12 K/9 and 3 BB/9.

NL West

Justin Lawrence (RP, COL), shoulder: Reliever Justin Lawrence was moved to the IL with a right shoulder strain. He is eligible to return June 10. Tyler Kinley moved into Lawrence’s spot and has struggled a bit in his 5 IP.

Minnesota’s Griffin Jax is likely available in your league. In 23.3 IP this season, Jax has 5 SV with a 2.31 ERA and 0.90 WHIP. Additionally, he has 12.0 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9.

LaMonte Wade Jr. (1B/OF, SFG), hamstring: LaMonte Wade Jr. sustained a strained hamstring and is expected to be out for at least one month. Enter fellow Giant Wilmer Flores. In his last 17 AB, Flores is hitting .294/.294/.412. It’s, uh, not as good if you look beyond that, BUT he is very likely available in your league if you need an easy pick up.

Connor Joe is a little less available (for good reasons), BUT he is still available in some leagues. In his last 22 AB, he hit .409/.500/.545  (9 H, 5 R, and 3 BB). In 175 AB for the season, Joe has hit 0.286/.357/.463 with 6 HR and a 133 wRc+.

Injury Updates

Here is your very speedy injury update section. I had to turn the article in a little early on Friday because I am traveling. So, hit me up in the comments if I missed someone, you want to discuss someone else, or about any big injury news that happened yesterday. You know I love the company!

  • Gerrit Cole (SP, NYY), elbow: may start rehab assignment Tuesday per Bryan Hoch at MLB.com.
  • Brandon Drury (1B/2B, LAA), hamstring: targeting mid-June return per Rhett Bollinger at MLB.com.
  • Zach Eflin (SP, TBR), back: could be activated next week.
  • Josh Jung (3B, TEX), wrist: hitting balls off the tee.
  • Dean Kremer (SP, BAL), triceps: expected to play catch soon per Jake Rill of MLB.com.
  • Steven Kwan (OF, CLE), leg: rehab assignment.
  • Royce Lewis (3B, MIN), quadricep: rehab assignment.
  • John Means (SP, BAL), forearm: season ending UCL repair.
  • Bobby Miller (SP, LAD), shoulder inflammation: rehab assignment.
  • Max Muncy (3B, LAD), oblique: still not swinging yet; no return date.
  • Luis Robert (OF, CWS), hip: rehab assignment.
  • Trea Turner (SS, PHI), hamstring: June return still expected.
  • Max Scherzer (SP, TEX), back: threw bullpen session per Evan Grant.
  • Alek Thomas (OF, ARI), hamstring: began light jogging per Steve Gilbert at MLB.com.
  • Gavin Williams (SP, CLE), elbow: rehab assignment.
  • Garrett Whitlock (SP, BOS), elbow: out for the season.

That’s it for this week’s edition of Ambulance Chasers. I will be off next week to enjoy the great outdoors. Smell ya later!

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1 month ago

Is Luis Robert expected back on Monday?

1 month ago

Taylor Walls may comeback in the next week or so. I am worried he will interfere with Jose Caballero’s playing time.

I am wondering if it’s time to move on from Jose and perhaps try David hamilton….who seems to be in a strong side platoon?

Reply to  Vash
1 month ago

Good question! I am thinking the same thing about Cabillaro!

Reply to  Hutch
1 month ago

I asked Grey a couple times, who to drop Caballero for, he says hang on, but 1 week can make a difference. Wall is about a week away…..

I want Caballero for steals as I have no one really…but other players are out there…,like Hamilton.