Well, here we are again friends.  Another injury article, another lead off for Aaron Judge.  Judge made it halfway through a single game off the IL before re-aggravating his calf injury last week and has been promptly put on the shelf again.  This time, it seems like the Yankees are going to take their time with their start outfielder to make sure they don’t run into any more setbacks.  At this point, everyone worth grabbing on this Yankees squad has been profiled already, but these are no longer fluke issues with this team.  Even upon the return of Stanton and Judge to the lineup, I’d hold onto Clint Frazier (who’s flashing some impressive leather lately) and Mike Tauchman as it’s only a matter of time until they hit lineups again.

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It turns out the area around 161st street that Yankee Stadium was built on was home to an ancient Indian burial ground, or is the new home of the Bermuda Triangle, or was cursed by witches in the 1600s, because that’s the only explanation for the injury plague the Yankees have dealt with over the last two seasons.

Already down Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, Tommy Kahnle, and Zack Britton, the Yanks put two other stars on the shelf this week.  Gleyber Torres went on the IL with a hamstring injury that looks to keep him out for 2-3 weeks after an MRI revealed no structural damage.  We gave you Tyler Wade and Thiaro Estrada last week for DJ’s injury fill ins and the same names apply here.  James Paxton is also on the IL with forearm discomfort.  He’s avoided a worst case scenario, as an MRI revealed that there’s no tear that would lead to Tommy John surgery.  His timetable is still unclear for return.  The Yankees have been reluctant to bring up top pitching prospect Clarke Schmidt due to the fact that they’d need to make a move to their 40 man roster to do so, but he’s the most fantasy relevant arm on the horizon.  Deivi Garcia is the other big time prospect to watch here if this injury keeps Paxton out for a while.  There’s also been heavy rumors of trade activity for the Yankees to get an arm with Trevor Bauer, Mike Clevinger, and Zach Plesac being the mosts talked about targets.

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Welp……whatever was in the water in the Bronx last year that led to one of the most ridiculous injury riddled seasons ever apparently is still sticking around, because the Yankees just keep taking hits left and right.

Last week, we chronicled Giancarlo Stanton’s hamstring issue, and a week later, the Yankees are now down two more stars, as DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge have both landed themselves on the IL.  Judge has a calf issue that SEEMS minor, but this is Aaron Judge and the Yankees we’re talking about here.  The hope is that he’ll only miss a couple of weeks, but these things have a tendency to snowball in this training room.  With LeMahieu, it looks like he’ll be able to avoid surgery after an initial scare with his thumb injury.  His timeline is also 2-3 weeks at the moment.  So all three big Yankee hitters are slated to come off the IL in 2-3 weeks.  Until then, we gave you Mike Tauchman and Clint Frazier last week, but adding Tyler Wade and Thiaro Estrada in deeper leagues makes sense as fill ins for LeMahieu.  Guys like Miguel Andujar and Mike Ford should also see some boost to their value with an OF and DH spot opening up full time.

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Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Giancarlo Stanton is hurt again.

Before the shortened season, things were looking up for Stanton.  The layoff gave him plenty of time to heal from offseason injuries, a shortened campaign meant he had a better shot of staying healthy throughout, and he had started the season off strong.  It looked like everyone who’d proclaimed “well he ONLY has to stay healthy for 60 games” were on their way to a nice profit…..wrong.   Stanton is now sitting on the IL with a minor hamstring strain that is going to sideline him for 3-4 weeks.  Knowing Stanton, and knowing the Yankees, I would expect it to be more towards 4, if not longer.  We’re venturing into total lost cause territory with Stanton.  In his absence, Mike Tauchman immediately becomes startable in all formats and Clint Frazier is going to get yet another opportunity to show he can stick with the big club.

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The Cardinals, Marlins, and Phillies have born the brunt of the misery in this young baseball season thus far with Covid outbreaks and cancelled games.  This week, we’ve got a group of other teams that are getting put through the ringer with your more traditional injury issues…..”injuries classic” we’ll call it.  We’ve also lost some more big time arms for the remainder of the season as the herd starts to thin here.

Mike Soroka is out for the season after suffering an achilles injury in his latest start.  It’s a brutal blow for the young righty, and even a bigger blow for the Braves, who are now in a real crunch for arms.  This solidifies Touki Toussaint and Sean Newcomb’s spots in the rotation, but the rest of the rotation couldn’t really be worse shape given the recent DFA of Mike Foltynewicz and Cole Hamels still ailing.  Without a trade, it’s hard to see any potential fill in being roster worthy here.

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We’re getting close to the re-launched opening day, so any serious knocks guys are picking up in camp now are going to start impacting playing time.  That also holds true for new, positive, Covid tests that might pop up.

Eduardo Rodriguez is currently on a throwing program away from the team as he awaits clearance from a positive Covid test.  From a physical standpoint, this is all good news, but he’s still up in the air until he tests negative.

DJ LeMahieu, Salvador Perez, Kenley Jansen, and Joey Gallo were both back in camp this week after clearing Covid protocol.

One guy not back yet is Freddie Freeman.  His case was originally thought to be more serious, and he has not been cleared to participate yet.  The Braves think there’s a chance at opening day for him, but at this point, if he’s still feeling symptoms, I’d put that timeframe at doubtful.

Along with Freeman, Yordan Alvarez, Austin Meadows, Aroldis Chapman, Jesus Luzardo, and Howie Kendrick are all also absent from camp.

Alvarez and Chapman have both been put on the IL, signaling their cases may be a bit more severe than others.  I’d expect Zack Britton to get the first shot at saves if Chapman can’t get cleared for a bit.  On the Astros front, you’d have to imagine Kyle Tucker has an easier path to ABs with Alvarez sidelined.

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Camp is starting up and it’s weird out there folks.  Split squad positionless scrimmages, Covid tests, opt outs….baseball is back!?!  This whole thing feels like the Jessie Spano caffeine pill freakout from Saved By the Bell…”I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so…..scared”.

First round of Covid testing is coming back and there’s plenty of interesting names that have tested positive: Jesus Luzardo, Eduardo Rodriguez, Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, Hector Neris, DJ Lemahieu, Tommy Pham, Scott Kingery, Mitch Keller, Ryan O’Hearn, Salvador Perez, and Kole Calhoun are notable confirmed positives.

Of these, most fall into the “asymptomatic” category and should return to the team soon (hopefully).  Hector Neris was already around Phillies camp this week, and Joey Gallo already has one negative test under his belt.  He should be good to go soon.

The most serious case looks to be Freddie Freemen.  The Braves are being candid about exactly what Freeman is going through, but they’re not expecting him back to camp any time soon.

There’s several other guys who are missing from camp still with no given reason why.  Some teams are releasing positive tests, some teams aren’t stating what’s keeping players away but letting us read between the lines.  This list includes: Aaron Nola (who was seen around Phillies camp earlier this week similar to Neris), Yonny Chirinos, Juan Soto, Kenley Jansen, Gavin Lux, AJ Pollock, Tony Gonsolin, Yordan Alvarez, Jose Urquidy, and Josh James.  The Astros, as well as some other teams, have had issues with their testing in terms of getting results quickly, so that may be holding up the ‘Stros players, but these are all guys to keep an eye on.

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So we’re gonna have a season, maybe, hopefully…..who knows.  But we need to be prepping like there’s going to be one.  So let’s take a look at some of the specifics that have come down from MLB with the new plan for the season and how it should effect how you handle injuries/Covid related issues going into the year.

First off, the rules.  MLB released a list of precautions when they and the players’ union approved the deal for the 60 game season.  Testing is the biggest thing we need to keep an eye on.  Everyone’s getting tested for active Covid-19 as well as antibodies upon reporting to Spring Training 2.0.  They will not be cleared for work until they tests negative for Covid (we’ll come back to this).  In season, players will undergo multiple “symptom tests” per day (temp checks and “how are you feeling” questionnaires).  They will also be tested every other day.

So what happens if someone tests positive?  Well, each team has to put in place their own Covid handling program that meets certain minimum requirements.  The biggest thing though is that, in order to be cleared to play, a player must test negative twice within a 24 hour period and show now symptoms for 72 hours.  This is a big deal.  There’s no real rhyme or reason for how long Covid stays in your system, but even asymptomatic cases seem to last a minimum of 14 days.  I looked into some prominent cases that took place over in Europe when Covid hit some of their soccer leagues: Callum Hudson-Odoi, a winger for Chelsea tested positive for Coronavirus at the beginning of March.  He wasn’t able to test negative until the beginning of May, despite showing few symptoms.  Paolo Dybala, who plays for Juventus, tested positive in mid-March and was asymptomatic.  He wasn’t cleared until almost the end of May.  Suffice to say, it’s going to be case by case when it comes to each one of these testing scenarios, but I think it would be wise to treat a positive test like a month long or more injury when trying to evaluate how to handle your roster.

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With baseball still on the proverbial shelf, most offseason concerns we had for injuries are gone.  We’ll cover a few small updates here today as we hopefully move towards some number of games this season.

The biggest news over the last few weeks was with Chris Archer.  The Pirates righty was shut down for surgery to correct “Thoracic Outlet Syndrome” this is the same issue that sidelined Matt Harvey earlier in his career.  Archer was already a shell of his former self, and really only someone you’d be taking a late round flyer on or picking up in a 2 start week hoping for some K’s, but this puts him on the shelf until the beginning of the ’21 season at best.

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The prolonged delay to the 2020 MLB campaign is set to extend at least into June, and most likely July.  It’s given lots of players with injury concerns heading into draft season this year some extra time for recovery and even more preventative measures/surgeries that might have knocked their stock down a bit.  When things do pick up again, most every player will be ready to go and will be on a pretty even playing field going into the season injury free.

There are a couple of updates to share on guys who are on longer recovery paths as well as some things to keep in mind when looking forward to this season.

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