Gonzalez, Oswalt close to returning
August, 5, 2011
By Stephania Bell | ESPN.com
It's Friday. Time to get to the business of enjoying the weekend. With that in mind, we get right to some highlights of who we're keeping an eye on in the world of injuries.
• Carlos Gonzalez could return to the Colorado Rockies' lineup Sunday if his remaining rehab games go well. Gonzalez has been on the DL with inflammation in his wrist, an issue that has been ongoing since he collided with an outfield wall in early July. Even when Gonzalez struggled with discomfort in his wrist earlier this summer, he was still able to hit the ball out of the park. The concern for Gonzalez going forward is not so much whether he'll be able to produce when he returns (he went 2-for-4 in his first rehab outing), but whether he'll be able to play the remainder of the season without incident. An awkward landing on a defensive play or a hard bat swing will test him; until Gonzalez proves those are not issues for him, fantasy owners have reason to be a little anxious.
Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesCarlos Gonzalez has been plagued by wrist injuries since last year.
• The Philadelphia Phillies are also getting a player back this weekend as Roy Oswalt returns to the mound. As noted in Monday's blog entry, Oswalt's chronic back condition has not disappeared, but the hope is that the symptoms will remain at bay for the duration of the season.
• Cleveland Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo is making gains in his rehab efforts. Choo, coming off surgery to repair a broken thumb, added to his activities by taking live batting practice. As important as being able to connect the bat with the ball was Choo's report of no soreness afterward. He appears to be on track to return within the next few weeks, assuming his progression continues. What remains to be seen is how effectively (and how consistently) he will hit against live pitching. Once he participates in rehab games there will be better clues.
• New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is at the team's complex in Tampa, Fla., now resuming baseball activities. Rodriguez has made steady progress in his recovery from meniscus surgery but now the real tests begin. According to the New York Post, Rodriguez has yet to take batting practice having only hit off a tee and fielded ground balls.
• This Sunday might mark one of the most well-attended games for the Class A Hagerstown Suns this season, when Stephen Strasburg makes an appearance. He is expected to throw only an inning or two, so get there early! At 11 months post-surgery, Strasburg is on the pace for recovery from Tommy John surgery. The rehab assignment starts the 30-day countdown but it is worth noting that the clock can be stopped anytime if the medical staff finds it necessary. If things proceed without limitation, it remains a possibility that Strasburg could deliver a handful of major league innings for the Washington Nationals in September.
• Proof that the clock on a rehab assignment can stop anytime came in the form of New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana, who will not throw for at least a week. Santana threw three scoreless innings in his minor league debut but persistent discomfort sent him back to the surgeon for a re-evaluation. Santana was reported to have "fatigue" in the shoulder and will not throw to allow his shoulder to rest but will maintain a fitness program. Once the medical staff feels he is strong enough, he can resume throwing. There is no formal timetable in place at this time.
• Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks (severe ankle sprain) is out of a walking boot but manager Ron Roenicke says he is "still a long ways away," according to the Brewers' website. With the minor league season ending Sept. 5, the team acknowledges that it could make it difficult for the timing of a potential rehab assignment. "Once he's ready to go, if we don't have any places to send him, it's going to make it a lot more difficult for us," Roenicke said. Hmmm.