We have made it to the final week of the preseason. Opening Day is just around the corner. Fantasy drafts have been going on and are winding down as we get ready to see a full baseball season following a quiet few months of the offseason because of the MLB lockout.
Very little injury information was available during the lockout but the injury news came fast and furious once that was settled. Just like in previous years, I will highlight players on the IL with their hopeful return timeframe and the next man up.
A little about myself for new readers. My name is Reuven Guy and I am a practicing orthopedic / pain management Physician Assistant. I have been dealing with sports injuries for the past 15+ years and have a knowledge of orthopedic injuries and their recovery times based on my medical experience. I have also been playing fantasy baseball during that same time period, which has helped me get an advantage in this aspect of fantasy baseball which I hope to share with you. Make sure to stay up-to-date on the latest MLB breaking news with our award-winning news desk!
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Injured Hitters for Fantasy Baseball
Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS, SD) – Wrist- Tatis was diagnosed with a wrist fracture that occurred over the offseason due to a motorcycle accident. He had surgery and is expected to be out for three months. Ha Seong Kim should fill in at short for the Padres.
Ronald Acuna Jr. (OF, ATL) – Knee- Acuna is recovering from ACL repair from last year. GM Alex Anthopolous said Acuna will likely be ready to make his season debut in late April as a DH before being able to start in the outfield in early May.
Evan White (1B, SEA) – Sports Hernia- White was diagnosed with a sports hernia and will undergo surgery as soon as possible. Recovery time is about one to two months. Ty France should get more starts at first AND Jesse Winker took grounders at first base as well.
Brandon Belt (1B, SF) – Knee- Belt has been participating in full baseball workouts. Manager Gabe Kapler said Belt remains on track to be ready for Opening Day “for now.” He is dealing with knee inflammation.
Adley Rutschman (C, BAL) – Triceps- Rutschman has been diagnosed with a triceps strain. He has been able to do some receiving work behind the plate but has not yet tested his arm with any throwing or hitting. It was also rumored that he would start the season in the minors. Robinson Chirinos should start for the Orioles behind the plate.
Odubel Herrera (OF, PHI) – Oblique- Herrera is set to miss Opening Day as he has been diagnosed with a mild oblique strain and could be out for four to six weeks. Matt Vierling could get the nod in CF for the Phillies to start the season.
Luis Urias (3B, MIL) – Quad- Urias injured his left quad running the bases earlier this spring. Urias will start the season on the IL. He ran this past weekend and is expected to resume swinging and playing catch soon. Jace Peterson could fill in for the Brewers.
Andrew Vaughn (OF, CHW) – Hip- Vaughn has been diagnosed with a hip pointer injury (bruised pelvis on the right side) resulting from a diving catch he made in a spring game. He will progress as his symptoms resolve and is preliminarily projected to return to game action in the next one to two weeks.
Chris Taylor (OF, LAD) – Elbow- Taylor has been ramping up slowly after having right elbow surgery in November. The Dodger does not seem overly concerned about the issue, which manager Dave Roberts called “minor.” He has been playing games this spring but this is something to monitor.
Cavan Biggio (2B, TOR) – Elbow- Biggio is making his way back from a sprained left elbow (diagnosed as a Grade 1 sprain of his left UCL last year) and will return to game action soon. Biggio also dealt with neck and back injuries last year. Santiago Espinal could fill in for the Blue Jays
Carter Kieboom (3B, WAS) – Elbow- Kieboom said today that he is expected to miss four to six weeks to recover from a flexor mass strain in his right elbow. Maikel Franco could end up being the Opening Day 3B for the Nats.
Nick Ahmed (SS, ARI) – Shoulder- Ahmed is still battling some discomfort in his right shoulder. It is the same shoulder that caused him to miss the final two weeks of last season. Ahmed has had a PRP injection as well as a cortisone shot. He had an MRI performed which was “kind of inconclusive” from the standpoint that there’s not a “huge tear” or “anything soft tissue wise.” Ahmed will continue to try and rehab it for right now. Josh Rojas should fill in.
Yermin Mercedes (DH, CHW) – Wrist- Mercedes has a hamate fracture in his left hand and will undergo surgery soon. Recovery time for this is about six to eight weeks.
Dominic Smith (1B, NYM) – Shoulder- Smith told reporters that he played with a partially torn labrum in his right shoulder last season. He changed his swing last year because of the injury and he looks to have his 2020 swing back.
Evan Longoria (3B, SF) – Finger- Longoria will undergo surgery to repair a ligament in his right index finger. His prognosis will be determined following surgery but the expectation is the finger will be immobilized for at least 10 days. Wilmer Flores should start the season as the opening day third baseman for the GIants.
LaMonte Wade Jr. (1B, SFG) – Leg- Wade had an MRI that revealed inflammation and a bone bruise. He’ll be re-evaluated in 10 days, which knocks him out of the Opening Day lineup, like with Evan Longoria. Steven Duggar and Austin Slater should fill in the platoon in SF.
Injured Starting Pitchers for Fantasy Baseball
Zack Wheeler (SP, PHI) – Shoulder- Wheeler pitched a simulated inning against two hitters last weekend. This is a step forward for him as he was battling shoulder soreness. However, Wheeler has said recently that he “hasn’t felt a trace of soreness” in his right shoulder and hopes to be ready to start the season on time.
Stephen Strasburg (SP, WAS) – Neck / TOS- Strasbourg may not make his season debut until some time in May. He is recovering from thoracic outlet surgery.
Chris Sale (SP, BOS) – Rib- The Red Sox have not yet set a timetable for Sale to resume throwing. Sale suffered a stress fracture on the right side of his ribcage. Rich Hill may get some starts when the season begins until Sale is healthy again.
Brent Honeywell Jr. (SP, OAK) – Honeywell is shut down indefinitely due to an elbow issue. The oft-injured prospect was finally feeling healthy and in line for a rotation spot with the Athletics. Adam Oller and Paul Blackburn are others in the mix for his rotation spot.
Luis Patino (SP, TB) – Shoulder- Shoulder soreness- Patino is scheduled to throw a bullpen session as he has been dealing with shoulder soreness. The Rays do not seem too concerned about his injury at this point.
Luis Castillo (SP, CIN) – Shoulder- Castillo has been slowed by shoulder soreness this spring and will miss the start of the season for the Reds, starting the season on IL. He is expected to return sometime in April.
Mike Minor (SP, CIN) – Shoulder- Minor, another Reds pitcher battling shoulder issues, will start the season on IL with shoulder impingement. He was on IL at the end of last year with the same issue. He is also expected to come back sometime in April. Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo could fill in for both Minor and Castillo for the Reds
James Kaprielian (SP, OAK) – Shoulder- Kaprielian is going through his recovery from AC joint irritation but will not be ready to pitch before late April for the Athletics.
Jack Flaherty (SP, STL) – Shoulder- Flaherty will not be available for Opening Day after receiving a PRP injection to address a small tear in his right shoulder. He should start throwing at the end of this week then is hopeful to ramp up then.
Shane Bbaz (SP, TB) – Baz underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove loose bodies from his right elbow. He is expected to return to throwing in 1-2 weeks. Rays manager Kevin Cash said Baz’s elbow locked up on him at home one night after a bullpen session and an MRI showed the loose body plain as day.
Randy Dobnak (SP, MIN) – Finger- Dobnak was placed on the 60-day IL. Dobnak has been shut down with what the Twins referred to as discomfort in his right middle finger, but it looks worse (now on 60 day IL). He missed most of last season with a strain on the same finger.
Domingo German (SP, NYY) – Shoulder- German was diagnosed today with right shoulder impingement and was placed on the 60 day IL.
Matt Boyd (SP, SF) – Boyd was placed on the 60 day IL. He underwent flexor tendon surgery on his left elbow in September and is not expected to be ready for game action until June.
Zac Gallen (SP, ARI) – Shoulder soreness- Gallen was dealing with shoulder soreness this spring. He did throw a two-inning sim game last week. His next step is game action. He is not expected to be ready for Opening Day.
Taijuan Walker (SP, NYM) – Knee- Walker underwent a debridement procedure on his right knee on January 14. Walker has said he believes he’s about one to two weeks behind the Mets’ other starting pitchers, but he’s not yet willing to rule out being part of Opening Day. He pitched this past Saturday and had no issues. He then said afterward that he has lined up to pitch five innings the first week of the season.
Injured Relief Pitchers for Fantasy Baseball
James Karinchak (RP, CLE) – Shoulder- Karinchak is likely to start the season on the IL. He has been diagnosed with a right teres muscle strain and has been shut down from throwing.
Dylan Floro (RP, MIA) – Arm- Floro is dealing with arm soreness and is behind schedule. Anthony Bender (who has the second-highest fastball velo this spring at 98.6 (behind only Edwin Diaz at 98.9 or Anthony Bass) could step in to close for the Marlins to start the season if Floro is not ready.
Pete Fairbanks (RP, TB) – Lat- Fairbanks left a spring game with right lat tightness. He is expected to be shut down from throwing for the next six weeks after undergoing an MR. Andrew Kittredge remains the biggest “lock” for the Rays to close with JP Feyereisen also in the mix.
Lucas Sims (RP, CIN) – Elbow- Sims acknowledged that he “had a couple of hiccups” with his elbow and back while gearing up for spring training and will start the season on the IL. Art Warren is a good option to close for the Reds.
Alex Reyes (RP, STL) – Shoulder- Reyes has a frayed labrum and will go at least two weeks without throwing. Do not expect Reyes to return to them before late May, early June based on the current timetable. He was already placed on the 60 day IL. Giovanny Gallegos is expected to close with Jordan Hicks and Genesis Cabrera waiting in the wings for the Cardinals.
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