As I do every week, I’ll be covering all the bumps and bruises in the would of fantasy baseball. It’d be nice if some of these guys could get their acts together, but hey, then I’d be out of a job.
There were a few notable injuries in the baseball world over the past week, mostly on the hitting side of the spectrum, and I’ll be focusing on those, as well as some other players who just can’t stay away from the trainer’s room in my latest edition of Ambulance Chasers.
Brandon Belt, Giants: The Giants’ starting 1B was struck on the hand by a Paul Maholm pitch on Friday night, and will miss at least six weeks with a broken thumb. Really!?! The guy’s clocking in at less than 87 mph on his fastball. Suck it up, meat! Bruce Bochy says he’s gonna go with Mike Morse at first base in the interim, which is really nice for you eligibility nerds out there (you know who you are). Tyler Colvin was called up and is worth a look in NL-only leagues. The 28-year-old Colvin had 20 dongs and drove in 56 runs with the Cubbies in 2010 and then hit another 18 smackeroos with the Rox in ’12. With Buster Posey expected to play more at first base, backup catcher Hector Sanchez is on the NL-league radar as well. Sanchez has 2 HR and 15 RBI in 54 AB this year.
Michael Pineda, Yankees: After finally finishing his suspension for being the dumbest person in New York since this guy, Pineda was officially placed on the DL with a strain of the teres major muscle. If you recall, this was the same exact back injury that kept Clayton Kershaw out for almost seven weeks. Pineda’s got talent, but he’s probably not worth stashing unless you have an open DL spot on your roster.
Jay Bruce, Reds: Not to be confused with Brucie, from The Longest Yard (although he’s producing more for your fantasy team these days), Jay Bruce will be sidelined up to a month after undergoing surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus in his left knee. His replacement in the outfield, Chris Heisey, has been doing squat with the extra playing time, so there’s nothing to do here but wait it out. For what it’s worth, Bruce says his knee feels better than it has in a long time. Maybe that explains his three measly jacks and career-low .318 wOBA. Tell it to the judge!
Michael Cuddyer, Rockies: He’s running at about 70 percent, which is 1.67 mph in Cuddyer years. I kid. The Rockies are playing just about as good as anyone in all of baseball right now — and that’s without last year’s NL batting champ. Despite Clint Hurdle’s ability to platoon the crap out of his outfield, Cuddyer should see regular at-bats when he returns. There’s still no specific timetable for when that may be, but he’s a great buy-low candidate. There’s gotta be tons of owners out there who just can’t afford to stash him anymore. Get some of that Rocky Mountain high.
Chris Sale, White Sox: I may as well rename this column the “Chris Sale Sell-a-thon”, cuz that’s pretty much what you’ll see me suggest every time. The White Sox’ ace pitched his third simulated game on Saturday and is scheduled to make a rehab start or two, which would put him on track to be back in Chicago around the week of May 26. Sell now, guys. I can’t say it enough; Sale’s elbow will eventually explode like a prop on the set of The Hurt Locker.
Devin Mesoraco, Reds: He was eligible to come off the DL yesterday, but the team decided to let him make a couple rehab appearances. The window is about to close on the opportunity to add him. He has a 1.297 OPS this year. He’s available in nearly 70 percent of ESPN leagues. WTF are you waiting for?!? Seriously — go — NOW!
Wilin Rosario, Rockies: Dexter Fowler must’ve left a half-eaten eggplant parm in the Rockies locker room as a parting gift last winter — and Wilin gobbled that shizz right up, mold and all. We all know of Fowler’s bathroom exploits, and it looks like Rosario may have caught a bug, this one a viral infection. Whatever it is, it’s landed him on the 15-day DL. Rosario was off to a slow start, hitting just .239/.274/.398 with only three round-trippers, but he led all MLB catchers with 49 homers from 2012-13. Due to his slow start and recent disabling, Wilin “Cyrus the Virus” Rosario has been dropped in 35 percent of ESPN leagues. Unless we see a science team made up of Dustin Hoffman, Cuba Gooding Jr., Kevin Spacey and Rene Russo getting airlifted by chopper into Denver, Rosario needs to be owned in all leagues.
Taijuan Walker, Mariners: The uber-talented Walker (yeah I said “uber”, wanna fight about it?) had a bullpen session on Sunday and said his arm “felt good”, but let’s not get our panties completely soaking wet over this just yet. Maybe a few drops. We’ve heard this song and dance before with Walker. The 21-year-old was shut down in spring training and then again in April after renewed soreness in his shoulder. The guy is so good that he’s stashable in deeper leagues and in ones that allow multiple DL spots. Just don’t go dropping any studs for him until you hear some more definitive info. Right now he’s owned in just 11 percent of ESPN leagues, so there’s a good chance he’ll still be available on wires if you wait a couple days for some positive news out of the Pacific Northwest.
Some more injury notes:
Casey Janssen, Blue Jays: Janssen was activated from the DL on Sunday and is still available in 23 percent of ESPN leagues. The Jays bullpen (29th in baseball with a 5.04 ERA) smells worse than Pig-pen. Janssen will be the closer immediately upon his return.
James Paxton, Mariners: It’s looking like a mid-June return at best for Seattle’s young southpaw, who like Taijuan Walker, also threw a bullpen session on Sunday. Love the potential with him, but he’s only a stash in much, much deeper leagues. I think the M’s are gonna be really cautious with Paxton and may even pitch him out of the bullpen when he’s activated.
Aramis Ramirez, Brewers: This doesn’t smell good. A strained hammy for the oft-injured Ramirez could spell more than the minimum stay on the DL. Jeff Bianchi should get the initial reps at 3B, but look for our old pal Rickie Weeks to see more playing time as well. Weeks is 6-for-10 with a double and 3 RBI over his last three games.
Logan Morrison, Mariners: Apparently Morrison had a setback in his recovery from a hamstring recovery. “It was getting better, but I was running the bases and felt it pull again, so I’m kind of back to where we were,” said Morrison. If translated using my Super Douchey Spidey Senses, that reads, “I was totally bangin’ this fine ass babe, brah, when I tried to do this one thing I saw in a Kama Sutra book I stole off Ozzie Guillen’s coffee table — and BAM! — ‘aggravated’ my hammy. Thanks for asking, kind reporter dude. Now fix me a sandwich!”
Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers: The Dodgers aren’t expecting Ryu back when first eligible, which is a little worrisome considering how out-of-the-blue his injury came about, but he’s set to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday, so we’ll see how that goes. He’s obviously a hold until we hear anything bad out of Hollyweird. Maybe he’s just avoiding getting better so he can sneak out and go see Godzilla on Friday night? Is that racist? I asked Hideki Matsui and he shook his head. “Nope. Not at all. In fact, I’ve prepared a four-course meal for us to dine on at my Malibu beach house. We have lots of catching up to do on Season 4 of Louie.”
A.J. Ellis, Dodgers: Ellis had minor knee surgery back on April 8 and is now rehabbing with Triple-A Albuquerque. The Dodgers’ offense has been a black hole and the catcher position has been no different in Ellis’ absence. He’s a decent stash in two-catcher NL-only leagues.
Anibal Sanchez, Tigers: Last year’s AL ERA leader is set to re-enter the Tigers’ rotation on May 18 vs. Boston. He had a blister on his finger that was so bad, Brad Ausmus admitted to practically coughing up his dinner when he saw it. Ewwwww…
Josh Hamilton, Rangers: He’s getting closer to a return. The Angels left fielder has been hitting off a tee and will continue rehabbing with hopes of being activated by May 23. After some more tee work he will be promoted to pitch-tee, then to Pony League, and eventually he’ll roam the outfield for an American Legion team based out of Costa Mesa, CA.
Adam LaRoche, Nationals: Old man LaRoche — I call him that even though he’s just one year my senior — hit the DL with a quad strain. Tyler Moore has been recalled from Triple-A to take his place and should get the bulk of the playing time at first, but he’s NL-only material at best. Kevin Frandsen is also worth a look if you’re feeling saucy. LaRoche was off to a fantastic start (.319/.421/.504, 5 HR, 21 RBI) so it’s a tough blow for his owners. Had Ryan Zimmerman been healthy this could’ve been the start of the Nats’ long-awaited experiment to move Zimm and his spaghetti arm to first base. Mmmm meatballs.
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