Back in my physical prime — not like that means much — I ran cross country, among other sports. As is the case with almost any distance running, you would pace yourself somewhat until the last 200-300ish meters or so, then you’d sprint for the “kick” this meaning pretty much a dead sprint to the finish line. Similarly, the saying “the baseball season isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon” may be well and true in the April and May, but with five weeks remaining, it’s time for the kick, sometimes meaning you need to kick injured players to the curb.
Jorge Soler, Cubs: A left oblique strain is threatening to prematurely end Soler’s season as the Cubs placed him on the 15-day disabled list on August 24. The initial assessment had him missing as much as month (warning: auto playing video ad), and I dropped him in a 12-team mixed league. Soler has disappointed this season — particularly in the power department — as he hit for a .265/.325/.385 with a mere seven home runs, however he missed most of June with an ankle sprain and this oblique injury may have sapped some of his power.
Denard Span, Nationals: Span suffered through a nagging back injury for most of the second half, but what placed him on the 15-day DL on August 28 was left hip inflammation. The center fielder and leadoff man is opting to undergo season ending surgery when the source of the discomfort turned out to be a torn left labrum in his hip. If you’re still hanging on to Span, it’s time to throw him to the waiver wire.
Matt Cain, Giants: The other Bay Area team (I think I’m allowed to say that as an Oakland A’s fan) placed Cain on the fortnight plus a day DL on August 28, retroactive to the 26th. The right-hander is suffering from elbow nerve irritation in his pitching arm and has already received a cortisone shot. Chris Heston is already tabbed to take Cain’s spot in the rotation at least for today and possibly longer. Heston has burned worms at a 53.9 percent rate thus far and he has enjoyed a 3.34 ERA/3.63 FIP/3.83 xFIP in 145 2/3 big league innings. His 8.9 percent swinging strike rate and 6.80 K/9 leave much to be desired, however as a stream option or replacement for Cain, Heston is a solid option.
Yasiel Puig, Dodgers: Another day, another hamstring strain. The right fielder missed six weeks earlier in the season due to a left hammy strain, though this time it’s his right hamstring that flared up. The severity of strain isn’t yet known, so I can’t recommend dropping him just yet. The Dodgers called up Jose Pereaza to take Puig’s roster spot. yet it should be noted Peraza played second base on Saturday, with shifting to center field. If you’re seeking help in the steals department, Pereza nabbed 60+ bags in 2013 and 2014, with 34 and counting this year.
Carlos Carrasco. Indians: The right-hander was experiencing shoulder soreness, and with the Tribe out of the playoff hunt, he was placed on the shelf on August 26, retroactive to the 22nd. With a cortisone shot and an MRI already done, the team believes he’ll miss the minimum 15 days. He’s scheduled to play some catch today, and hopefully he is able to do so pain free and we’ll see him return to action ASAP.
Felix Hernandez, Mariners: On Saturday the M’s announced Felix will have tomorrow’s start skipped in order to keep him fresh. Given the club currently sits 11 games back, it makes sense to keep the right-hander healthy for next season, particularly when you look at Felix’s numbers this year. He’s been very non-King Felix like as his 3.66 ERA/3.58 FIP/3.25 xFIP are all the worst rates since at least 2009. No signs of injury could be gleaned from a glance at his game-by-game velocity chart, but clearly the Mariners are looking to protect him.
Billy Hamilton, Reds: The speedster is unlikely to be activated when first available according to skipper Bryan Price. Specifically, Price said “It looks like it’s going to be a while before baseball activities start, let’s put it that way…” Hamilton is dealing with a right shoulder capsule sprain and as of last Monday, August 24, he was still spending part of each day in a shoulder brace. If you’re really hurting for steals he is worth hanging on to, but given his poor rate stats, I’ve seen him dropped in several leagues already.
Alex Gordon, Royals: Enough dreary news, let’s shift gears into the players coming back. The defending American League Champions will welcome back their left fielder soon, possibly on Tuesday when rosters expand. Gordon began his minor league rehab assignment last weekend and he got back up to speed from a left groin strain, hitting .409/.536/.591 in 29 plate appearances at Triple-A Omaha. I’d get him back into my weekly lineups.
George Springer, Astros: The 25(soon to be 26)-year-old began his minor league rehab assignment at Double-A Corpus Christi on Saturday. Springer leadoff and went 1-for-4 before being lifted in the seventh inning. The Astros plan to ease him back into action as Springer will likely have today off before playing consecutive games to test his right wrist as he comes back from a fracture. There isn’t an official date targeted for his activation, though I’d expect to see Springer back in the big leagues by this time next week.
Steven Matz, Mets: Updating a report from last week, Matz is now tentatively set for a September 1 activation reports Anthony DiComo. Matz has been dealing with a partial lat tear and was limited to a pair of starts on June 28 and July 5 for his only taste of the show thus far. I said it before, but it bears repeating: go pick up Matz now. I love his changeup and his curve has flashed as better than average. Even if the Mets go to a six man rotation to keep his — among other young hurler’s — innings down, I’m a fan of Matz for the rest of the season, even with his injury history.