What’s up, Razzball Naaaaation?

Look, not all titles can be winners every week. If I picked who got injured in a week, their name would be a lot easier to pun-ize or pun-a-nate. That level of power sounds terrifying, but my fantasy team would be decent.

Welcome to Razzball Ambulance Chasers, your weekly fantasy baseball report that is mostly up-to-date. I wrote this week’s edition over the course of a few days. So, you may see a few edits to capture Opening Day updates.

In some spicy Opening Day news, the Mets announced Justin Verlander would start the season on the IL with a low-grade teres major strain. This is the same muscle that put Triston McKenzie on the IL (more on McKenzie later in this post). Yesterday, Verlander was filmed doing some light throwing, but at the time of publication, there was no recovery timeline. As a benchmark, McKenzie was moved to the 15-day IL and could be out for up to 8 weeks.

The footage is comforting, but the Mets have already shared they will not share an update until next week after Verlander gets an MRI. In the interim, Tylor Megill returned from Triple-A to take Verlander’s spot in the rotation. Megill will start Saturday. Megill finished 2022 with a 5.13 ERA and 1.25 WHIP across 47.1 IP and is projected to improve this year.

Latest Additions to The IL

Daniel Bard (COL, RP)

Folks, this one is a bummer. The Rockies closer Bard was moved to the IL for anxiety.

Bard’s career has been a series of peaks and valleys, with many of the valleys being due to anxiety that gave him the yips.

If you watched the WBC, you likely painfully, awkwardly, uncomfortably remember Bard’s performances especially when he ended up giving up four runs in the USA vs. Venezuela game. The fallout from that game likely did not do him any favors.

Bard put on the 15-day IL with Jake Bird being recalled from Triple-A. Bird finished 2022 with a 4.91 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP in 47.2 IP.

Willson Contreras (STL, C)

Contreras took a 102.7 mph pitch from Jordan Hicks in the Cards opener against the Blue Jays. The result: a knee contusion.  Andrew Knizer played catcher for the rest of the game.

The injury is not considered serious (confirmed by x-rays), but Contreras will still have an MRI.

Wander Franco (TBR, SS)

Franco was day-to-day with quad soreness earlier this week. He reported a feeling of tightness but mentioned that it did not feel like a serious issue such as a strain. An MRI validated Franco’s feeling, and he knocked a 402-ft homer on Opening Day.

In the event Franco continues to have quad issues or experiences completely different issues, Taylor Walls is the current back-up option.

In spring training, Walls had a .333 BA, matching .333 OBP, and .944 OPS. He had 1 HR, 3 RBIs, and 3 runs in 18 AB. Walls started spring training slowly while managing an oblique injury. So if you go with either player, Franco or Walls, be vigilant about potential recurrence.

The Rays were a sort of blood bath in terms of injuries last year. Hopefully, that trend will not run over into 2023 and affect Franco, Walls, and beyond.

Triston McKenzie (CLE, SP)

I always remember Huey Lewis singing “They say the heart of rock and roll is in Cleveland,” but that’s not what he says at all. He says “is still beating.” We have a real Berenstain/Berenstein Bears situation on our hands, folks.

One thing was not beating in Cleveland, and that’s a Triston McKenzie appearance any time soon. McKenzie left his last spring training appearance after one inning with tricep tightness. Initially, the move was reported as precautionary, but McKenzie had an MRI that showed a strain in his right teres major (shoulder) muscle. The injury could keep McKenzie out for up to 8 weeks.

Zach Plesac and Hunter Gaddis are two options the Guardians could use in McKenzie’s place. Plesac is the more seasoned of the two with 445.1 IP to Gaddis’s 7.1 in the majors. In 2022, Gaddis had a rough MLB debut with 18.41 ERA in 7.1 IP. However, his spring training performance in 13 IP is 2.77 IP, 1.00 WHIP and 17 strikeouts. Plesac has a 5.50 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 17 strikeouts in 18 IP.

POST OPENING DAY EDIT: Both Plesac and Gaddis were on the Opening Day roster.

Yoán Moncada (CWS, 3B)

Moncada was injured but recovered enough to play on Opening Day (which was not his best performance, but that is too small of a sample size for now). However, I am going to flag him here. Moncada is coming off of a disappointing 2022 season.  Injuries, COVID, and various slumps are some of the battles. Moncada is projected to marginally improve this year after slashing .212/.273/.353 and 76 wRC+ in 2022.

If history repeats, Moncada will be on the IL a decent chunk of the season. Do I want historical data to be wrong? One hundred percent yes. I hope that is the case. If I had him, I would not dump him yet, but I would for sure have a back-up plan.

The other options for the White Sox at 3B could Hanser Albertro or Romy González. Jake Burger was previously the secondary 3B, but he was sent back to AAA this week.

No matter what happens, you can always head over to the Razzball Hittertron to seek out other options at 3B. You will find some availability with Kyle Farmer (slashing .270/.333/.649 with 4 HR in spring training and had a decent Opening Day) or Spencer Steer (who Grey absolutely loves!).

Max Stassi (LAA, C)

Stassi, the starting catcher for the Angels, is down and out with a hip injury. Logan O’Hoppe, who made his MLB debut in September 2022, was tapped to start Opening Day in Stassi’s position against the A’s. In spring training, O’Hoppe slashed .281/.361/.799 with 1 HR. Matt Thaiss will be available to catch for the Angels as well.

O’Hoppe caught for none other than Shohei Ohtani and hit the first RBI of the season for the Angels.

Justin Verlander (NYM, SP)

Does the pain ever stop for the New York Mets? This was covered above.

Luis Urías (MIL, 3B)

Urías limped off the field after sliding into first during the Brewers’ Opening Day game against the Cubs. At the time of publication, there were no updates. Just in case of bad news, Brian Anderson and Mike Brosseau are part of the Brewers 3B depth.

Other Injuries and Injury Updates

There are a few players that found themselves on the IL recently (non-exhaustive list):

That’s it for this week! Join Ambulance Chasers next week for injury news from the first full week of the 2023 season.

How is your team(s) doing after Opening Day? Any change on the horizon? Hit me up in the comments or on Twitter: @keelin_12ft.