Stephania Bell: Andre Ethier



The mood was festive on St. Patrick's Day in Glendale, Ariz., as the Los Angeles Dodgers hosted the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Dodgers sported green jerseys and caps in honor of the occasion and there were leprechauns on hand for the opening ceremonies.

The best sight for fans of both teams, however, had to be the uneventful (read: healthy) participation of several key players.

[+] EnlargeRafael Furcal
Jake Roth/US PresswireRafael Furcal was limited to just 97 games in 2010 because of injuries.
For the Dodgers, shortstop Rafael Furcal batted in his usual leadoff spot. Furcal has battled hamstring issues in the past that have caused him to miss significant time. Questions about his durability (he is now 33) and whether he will be able to maintain his speed have crept up. But Furcal is also known for being an exceptionally hard worker who takes his health seriously. The Dodgers have to be hoping that he will be able to replicate a season healthwise similar to 2009, when he played in 150 games.



Right fielder Andre Ethier scored a run in the bottom of the fourth when fellow outfielder Matt Kemp hit one out of the park that brought him home. Ethier, who had a tricky right pinkie injury last season that affected his performance at the plate, is eager to have a healthier 2011. As the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this year, Ethier also dealt with knee and ankle issues in 2010, which affected his play especially late in the season. If Ethier is able to finish out this year the way he started the last one, the Dodgers could be in for a treat.



The Dodgers do have a couple of players who are nursing injuries. Pitcher Jon Garland is out with an oblique abdominal injury and likely will start the season on the disabled list, according to the team's website. Perhaps more noteworthy than Garland's injury is the fact he has been on the DL only once, in 2001 after he was hit by a line drive. With right-handed starters who sustain this injury averaging just over 30 days on the disabled list, the Dodgers have to be hoping that Garland is indeed "average." If all goes well, he could return in April, but the primary goal is to ensure that there are no recurrences once he does return.



Pitcher Vicente Padilla underwent surgery on his right (throwing) forearm in February to alleviate pain caused by undue pressure on the nerve there. Nerve entrapments of this type are commonly seen in individuals with highly developed musculature in the forearm yet are not frequently reported in pitchers. The Dodgers' website reports Padilla is expected to be sidelined until May. His return to competition will undoubtedly depend on how his throwing progression proceeds over the next several weeks.



The Diamondbacks could use a little luck of the Irish after dropping nine straight games in Cactus League play. Their good fortune may lie in the health of a couple of key players who dealt with injuries in 2010. Outfielder Justin Upton has showed no signs of holding back at the plate this spring. Upton injured his left shoulder late last year in what he called a "freak" injury (swinging at a bad pitch), according to the Diamondbacks' website, and his season ended prematurely as a result. Upton did not require offseason surgery, instead undergoing a course of rehab to strengthen his shoulder. So far it appears to be working for him.

Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero is off to a fresh start this spring as well. Last year, Montero tore the meniscus in his right knee, a particularly challenging injury for a catcher, given the amount of time spent in the crouch position. His offensive performance upon his return seemed to take a step back and, according to the Phoenix examiner.com, Montero never felt fully healthy. With the long-term health of his knees a consideration, Montero skipped winter ball, instead staying in Phoenix to train over the offseason. If he stays healthy, there's no reason to think he can't deliver on the expectations set for him a year ago.



With the season approaching 60 days old, it seemed like a good time to take a look at a few key players relegated to the 60-day DL, either before or since Opening Day. Many fantasy owners are re-evaluating their rosters, wondering whether it's time to fish or cut bait. Naturally there's still uncertainty involved, but there has also been some activity to report, although it tends to be in such small increments that it goes unnoticed.

In many cases, it will depend on just how deep a roster you have, or how badly that roster has been bitten by the injury bug. If your team has been lucky enough to avoid serious injury, you may want to hang on to one of these guys in the hopes that he can give you a spark late in the season. If you need help NOW, then it's time to consider purging your DL sheet to make room for an up-and-comer.



Either way, here are the rumblings floating around regarding four noteworthy fantasy players along with my two cents as to how optimistic teams should be about their returns.

Brandon Webb
Mark J. Rebilas/US PresswireAfter pitching just four innings last season, Brandon Webb is no lock to appear for the Diamondbacks this year.
Brandon Webb, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks (60-day DL, April 4): Ever since Webb suffered a setback post-operatively, there has been little reason for optimism. He has not been able to progress successfully to throwing off a mound, the key hurdle for Webb, since his original injury in April 2009.



In the latest effort to get Webb on a trajectory that would return him to the playing field, he recently spent time in Birmingham, Ala., with physical therapist Kevin Wilk, according to the Diamondbacks' website. Wilk, who works closely with Dr. James Andrews, is known for working with high-level athletes, and throwers in particular. Webb also has a history with Wilk, having spent some time with him last year. Plus, the Diamondbacks' head athletic trainer, Ken Crenshaw, is highly regarded among many medical personnel who treat baseball players. This type of collaboration between practitioners is not unusual -- and is, in fact, praiseworthy -- especially when a team is faced with a challenging case.



During the biomechanical evaluative process in Birmingham, Webb reportedly received confirmation of what he had suspected regarding his arm angle; he has been throwing with a much higher arm angle than he had pre-surgery. Sometimes after an injury or surgery, the involved limb loses some of its proprioceptive ability or understanding of where it is in space. No matter how complete the range of motion or how strong the body part, regaining this sense of body awareness is critical to peak performance. The question ultimately is how significant of a factor this is in Webb's overall progression, but given the impact on how the body delivers the ball, Webb has to make the adjustment. So Webb will return to Arizona no doubt with a few tweaks to his rehab program and some attention to his mechanics in the hope that he will be able to regain his form.

It's still impossible to predict just what sort of timetable this sets up for Webb at this point in the season but fantasy owners can assume that the word "soon" is not in the picture.




Erik Bedard, SP, Seattle Mariners (60-day DL, retroactive to March 26): In news that's not necessarily news to longtime Bedard followers, Bedard suffered a setback during his rehab from shoulder surgery. To be fair, Bedard had been making terrific progress and was, in fact, ahead of schedule following his labral repair up until mid-May when he began feeling discomfort in his shoulder. That said, in the inaugural blog of the season, Bedard's long-standing history of soft tissue injuries was noted, making getting excited in April about a possible June return seem a little premature.

Bedard did travel with the team to Anaheim this weekend and threw a side session Friday. It went well enough that he was throwing again Monday (long toss, according to the Tacoma News-Tribune). If all continues uneventfully, Bedard will next progress to throwing bullpens. Prior to his setback, Bedard had thrown several bullpens and a simulated game. It was after his April simulated game that he began feeling discomfort and was transferred to the 60-day DL. Given the marks he still has to meet and the endurance he needs to build in his pitching arm, it's tough to imagine a pre-All-Star break return for Bedard.

Brian Roberts
Cliff Welch/Icon SMI A variety of ailments has limited Brian Roberts to just 14 at-bats this season.
Brian Roberts, 2B, Baltimore Orioles (60-day DL, April 10): Roberts must have walked under a ladder, stepped on cracks or double-crossed a black cat. Something has to explain the horrible string of bad luck he has dealt with since, truth be told, before the season started.

Roberts' back was problematic during spring training, but then it appeared he was out of the woods ... for a few days. Then on an awkward slide he suffered an abdominal strain and aggravated the back injury. Since then we have detailed his slow progress and setbacks (stomach pain that led to an endoscopy, and most recently a bout of pneumonia) on multiple occasions.

This week I am thrilled to report some positive news for Roberts! After just being cleared last week to resume baseball activities post-pneumonia, Roberts, working out at the team's complex in Florida, was able to take live batting practice and field ground balls from second according to the Orioles' website. Manager Dave Trembley went so far as to say "It's a good sign." Wow. That's going out on a limb.

Given the time Roberts has had, it's not surprising that no one -- from Roberts to Trembley -- wants to read too much into a good workout. Roberts is eligible to come off the DL on June 9, but as the Orioles' site indicates, the team anticipates that he will need some more time. After all, he has been away from the game for two months already, has been hospitalized, received spinal epidural injections and without a doubt has lost significant conditioning. If there's anything that's going to help protect his back from another major episode, it's strong core muscles and physical endurance. In fact, it would not be surprising if his return does not come until closer to the All-Star break. Every day will be a test so there are no guarantees at this stage. But at least we're talking about what Roberts is doing, instead of what he's not.

Carlos Beltran, OF, New York Mets: (60-day DL, retroactive to March 26): Beltran has been ever so slowly working his way back from January knee surgery to address cartilage damage in his knee.



We have maintained all along that the big tests for Beltran would come when he began running, and so far he has passed the preliminaries. He recently acknowledged that he has been able to run without pain, something he had not been able to do for months. But he is moving slowly, perhaps more slowly than even Beltran anticipated, although it is not without good reason. David Lennon of Newsday recently reported that Beltran acknowledged that he was given the choice of undergoing microfracture surgery in January -- which would certainly have pre-empted any chance at playing in 2010 -- or undergoing a less complex procedure to smooth the cartilage surface and give him an opportunity to return. He chose the latter but it underscores the point we've been making since before the season started; his knee is not pristine and thus must be treated carefully.

So far, Beltran has done light running but as of late last week, as the Newark Star-Ledger reported, he had not yet been cleared for baseball activities. General manager Omar Minaya reiterated what he had said a month ago: Beltran will need approximately four to six weeks after he is cleared for such activities before he will be able to return to the team.

Fantasy owners should automatically assume that this will take him beyond the All-Star break, but we will look for hints that he is actually increasing his activity and making progress toward a return.



In brief:

Grady Sizemore, OF, Cleveland Indians: He will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his knee. After consulting with several specialists, the plan is for Sizemore to undergo a scope, at which point it will be determined how extensive a procedure is ultimately required. The minimum time he is expected to miss is six weeks, but as we have seen before (like Carlos Beltran above), these situations can be tough to predict. If Sizemore does end up having microfracture surgery, his season will be over.

Kendry Morales
Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/US PresswireIt's possible that Kendry Morales won't play another game this season after his freak injury Saturday.
Kendry Morales, 1B, Los Angeles Angels: Morales, who went from ecstasy to agony in the blink of an eye when he broke his ankle during celebration for a walk-off grand slam Saturday, still has not been able to undergo surgery. According to the Associated Press, Morales' injured ankle remains too swollen for doctors to operate. The Los Angeles Times reported that the Angels' medical staff has suggested the possibility of a return for Morales this season, but the rehab clock has yet to begin ticking because of the delay.



Once the fracture has healed, Morales will need to regain his range of motion and strength, which is often more difficult than the healing of the bone itself when it comes to the ankle. Progressive weight bearing and increasingly demanding drills precede a return to baseball activities and then rehab games will follow. Depending on the precise location of the break, whether it is a clean fracture or whether there are multiple fragments, and the associated surgical procedure, the timetable can be quite variable, but this is more than a 15-day DL stint, with the descriptor more likely to be "months" than "weeks." Stay tuned.

Jorge Posada, C, New York Yankees: He may yet prove all of us medical folks wrong. (We actually don't mind when that happens in the positive direction because it means someone is doing better than expected!) Posada appears to indeed be ahead of schedule in a return from a hairline fracture he suffered in his right foot as a result of a foul tip. The Newark Star-Ledger reports that he ran on the field Monday, and manager Joe Girardi says there's not much more he needs to do, other than prove that he still feels fine the day afterward. Posada may avoid a rehab assignment so he could return to the team within days, not weeks. While running is certainly impressive, there are different stresses on the foot associated with playing the position of catcher so the team may want to see him catch a few innings behind the plate before clearing him. Nonetheless, Posada owners want to keep an eye on him as he is eligible to come off the DL late this week.

Andre Ethier, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers: And why not end on a high note? Ethier was back in the lineup Monday, coming off the DL as soon as eligible despite a still-healing finger fracture. As noted in last week's blog, it's a credit to some creative thinking on the part of the Dodgers' medical staff (and their collaboration with the Lakers' medical staff) that the timetable for Ethier's absence was shortened by as much as a month. Don't be too concerned by his lack of productivity the first night back. The fact he has barely missed a beat swinging the bat since his injury occurred will undoubtedly help him return to form sooner rather than later. He will wear the splint for the foreseeable future as the finger continues to heal.



Welcome back! Here's to being back from an extended stay away from the team, settling into the regular routine and finishing out the season on an upswing. No, the salutation is not self-directed, although I did manage to tear myself away from the beaches of Cabo San Lucas in Mexico to get back to the business of discussing injuries. This welcome is directed to Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal, who rejoined the lineup Tuesday in Chicago after missing time with a hamstring strain.



After originally looking as if he'd be back when eligible May 14, there was enough concern about some lingering symptoms to postpone the return date until now. It wasn't exactly Furcal's most notable performance (0-for-4 and a couple of errors), but he got through the game just fine. As reported by Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com, Furcal said after the game, "I am very disappointed with the way I played. The best thing is that I'm healthy and I didn't feel anything." Very true. Rust can be overcome quicker than reinjury. The biggest test, however, will come during the next couple of weeks as we see just how Furcal and his hamstring tolerate the grind of daily play.

Also returning from injury were Boston Red Sox outfielder Mike Cameron, returning from an abdominal strain, and Minnesota Twins shortstop J.J. Hardy, coming off a bone bruise in his left wrist. Cameron is going to be eased back into play, according to The Boston Globe. He will not be used daily, at least not initially, plus he will spend some time playing left field. The 37-year-old Cameron, whose superb fitness may be a reason he's even been able to return from this injury, may yet require surgery down the line. Hardy's return Tuesday was abbreviated because the Yankees-Twins game was suspended in the fifth inning by rain. That said, Hardy's first at-bat was a double to deep right, so it looks as if his wrist is not a limiting factor.

Earlier it appeared that we would be welcoming back another star in this week's blog, Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, but he was back on the DL before we ever got the chance. On that unfortunate note, we turn to some of the key injuries in the world of baseball this week ...

Jimmy Rollins
Miles Kennedy/Getty ImagesJimmy Rollins hit a homer in his brief stint off the disabled list earlier this month.
Jimmy Rollins, SS, Philadelphia Phillies (15-day DL, May 22): Rollins' situation exemplifies the challenge for a medical staff when dealing with an athlete returning to play following a significant muscle strain. No matter how many sprints, drills or running workouts an athlete goes through to test the injured part, there is no guarantee that he is out of the woods when he returns to play. It is impossible to simulate every game situation and perhaps even more challenging to simulate the environment -- such as the intensity, the adrenaline of playing in a major league game -- and those things can factor into how the body responds. The Phillies brought Rollins along at a conservative pace, even holding him back at times as a measure of precaution. Sometimes even the best-laid plans don't unfold as anticipated.

In Rollins' case, his right calf gave him a signal that it was not going to fully cooperate with his agenda. Rollins returned to the lineup on May 17 after missing 30 games with the original injury. Just four days later, the calf bothered him while he ran to first on a single. He was forced to leave the game early and returned to the DL the next day. No fooling around here.



As Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro told The Philadelphia Inquirer, "It might not take [the entire 15-day DL stint], but we can't afford to put ourselves in a position where it gets reinjured and turns into something serious." Hmmm. It looks as though the first part (reinjury) already happened, but the hope is that this does not represent a serious setback. The fortunate aspect is that this strain is reportedly not as severe as the initial injury. The team is referring to it as a Grade I, or mild, strain (the original injury was a Grade II, or moderate, strain) and the team hopes he will not require much, if any, additional time off.



Fantasy owners are understandably frustrated (just think how Rollins feels!), but this is not time to panic.

Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers (15-day DL, retroactive to May 15):
What a difference a day -- or a splint -- makes! Ethier, who landed on the DL after suffering a fracture in his right pinkie finger while taking batting practice, could have missed up to six weeks with the injury. As it turns out, thanks to the aid of a particular splint, Ethier may be able to return when eligible on Sunday.

The emphasis is on the word "may," however, as Ethier will have to show that he can perform without limitation and that the fracture is indeed healing before he can definitively play. But so far, things are looking good. If he performs well in a simulated game Saturday, he could be activated Sunday.

Andre Ethier
Harry How/Getty ImagesAndre Ethier could be back from the disabled list as soon as he's eligible.
The fracture that Ethier suffered was bit odd, or at least the mechanism of injury was unique. Ethier sustained an avulsion fracture -- when a small chip of bone is avulsed or pulled away where the tendon attaches to the bone -- at the tip of his fifth finger. Typically this type of injury, also called mallet finger, results from hyperflexion (exaggerated bending) of the digit, most often when the finger gets jammed by a ball or by contact with another athlete. In Ethier's case, it occurred while batting, when a slight slip of his pinkie finger caused it to get jammed between the bat and his hand.



As the medical staff discussed what route to take for treatment, the Dodgers' director of medical services, Stan Conte (himself a physical therapist and athletic trainer), made a call to colleague Gary Vitti, longtime athletic trainer for the Los Angeles Lakers. Anyone who has followed the Lakers lately knows they have had their share of finger issues, as is common in basketball. Conte said that Vitti recommended use of the "Pro-Ferred" splint, a splint that uniquely maintains the joint of the tip of the finger in extension (keeps it straight) to allow it to heal while allowing the joint just below some ability to flex or bend. This ability to flex the proximal or near part of the finger is what allows Ethier to be able to handle a bat.

Conte said that the use of the splint, along with some modifications of padding at the knob of the bat to make for easier grip, have enabled Ethier to already begin taking batting practice. While Conte stresses that the Dodgers are not yet sure whether Ethier will be ready to return when eligible, he does acknowledge that they are very pleased with the progress he has been able to make. Ethier would continue to wear the splint even if he does return because the tissue will still be healing.

From a medical standpoint, the more normal motion that can be encouraged while still protecting the injured area, the better the outcome typically is. We often see hitters who struggle when returning from wrist and hand injuries, particularly as they work to regain their motion and strength even if the injury has technically healed. In this scenario, it's quite possible that many of those challenges could be avoided as a result of Ethier's being able to continue to swing the bat relatively uninterrupted.

A little interleague cooperation could prove to go a long way to make fantasy owners really, really happy here. Stay tuned.

Grady Sizemore, OF, Cleveland Indians (15-day DL, May 19): An awkward landing while diving back to first base sent Sizemore to the DL, aggravating a knee injury first sustained near the end of spring training. Sizemore's next step will not be known until he gathers several opinions on his injured knee. The team has termed Sizemore's injury a bone bruise, but based on the locales of the specialists he's reported to be visiting -- Vail, Colo., and New York -- it raises the specter of cartilage damage. Vail is home to Dr. Richard Steadman, a pioneer of microfracture surgery (he performed January surgery on the New York Mets' Carlos Beltran), and there are surgeons in New York with similar expertise in cartilage defects.



The question that every fantasy owner wants answered is whether Sizemore will require surgery. Although the bone bruise likely will have him sidelined for multiple weeks, surgery could keep him out even longer, perhaps even threatening his return this season. Until the team releases more information, a timetable remains speculative, but at the very least, fantasy owners should make alternate plans for the next month.

Josh Beckett, SP, Boston Red Sox (15-day DL, May 19): Beckett and back problems are nothing new. In fact, he has dealt with lower back and upper back issues at different points in recent years. It seems that this year will be no different.

Beckett began having back spasms in early May after taking batting practice, and he missed a scheduled start. Days later, while pitching in rainy conditions, Beckett left his start early with tightness in his back. A DL move was natural and precautionary in trying to prevent this from being a lingering and lengthy situation. Although Beckett is eligible to return on June 3, there is certainly no guarantee that he will. So far he has thrown a few side sessions, and next up comes the bullpen. The Red Sox will want to see how he tolerates the progression to the mound before deciding on a return date.

Jorge Posada, C, New York Yankees (15-day DL, May 20): Posada has been placed on the DL with a hairline fracture in his right foot, the result of absorbing a foul tip off that foot in mid-May. Posada was hoping for just a bone bruise, but imaging tests showed the crack.

Initial projections from the team after the fracture was revealed had Posada out for three to four weeks, but he has taken a bit of a defiant position against that notion. According to the Newark Star-Ledger, Posada believes he will return earlier. "They can say whatever they're going to say. I'll be here before that," Posada said. It's worth noting that he followed up by saying he had never had a problem with his feet before, pointing out that "You've got to be able to put your weight on and all that stuff. You've got to be able to transfer your weight from one side or the other." Right. And he was immobilized in a walking boot when he made the remarks.



Given his position as a catcher where he is in a crouch, placing significant load through his feet while intermittently, explosively moving to full stance, the demands on the foot are high. Not only is he not likely to be back before three weeks, he'd be lucky to be back by then.



A hairline fracture can show evidence of healing more quickly than a complete fracture, but beyond the bone repairing itself, the foot needs to be able to tolerate loading, pivoting and twisting, without causing any symptoms before an athlete is able to return to baseball activities. Then, of course, he has to get back up to the level of playing in games. Until Posada is cleared for impact activities, it's probably too soon to even think of a return date. Fantasy owners should be planning on being without his services for the better part of a month.

Brad Penny, SP, St. Louis Cardinals: (15-day DL, May 22): Penny escaped with a relatively mild injury but was still relegated to a DL stint just to be safe. Penny, who was diagnosed with a strained lat (short for latissimus dorsi, one of the broad muscles of the back), left his Friday start early because of discomfort. Despite delivering a grand slam, Penny was not feeling good and came out of the game as a result.



According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the decision to move Penny to the DL was easy for the Cardinals when considering the big picture. General manager John Mozeliak said, "It just makes sense to DL him, rather than put him out there for the next start and he makes a pitch and goes backward. It's a precaution." The team does not expect him to miss time beyond the minimum DL requirement.

Justin Duchscherer
Tony Medina/SMIJustin Duchscherer currently has a 2-1 record with a 2.89 ERA in five starts this season.
Justin Duchscherer, SP, Oakland Athletics (15-day DL, May 16): After working so hard to get back this season, Duchscherer has to be disappointed in the cards he's been dealt so far this year. He knew that keeping his lead hip healthy was the key to keeping his lower back pain-free and avoiding overload on his throwing arm, which was surgically repaired in 2008. In fact, he told me that very thing in spring training after making his first start of the year coming off pain-alleviating sacroiliac joint (where the low back joins the pelvis) injections. That's why he dedicated extra time to stretching his hips and keeping them loose.



But his anatomy is just not cooperating. Duchscherer, who already endured surgery on his right hip, is now being plagued by similar symptoms on the left side. His prior experience with the right hip is no doubt what led him to tell the San Francisco Chronicle that he anticipates needing surgery on the left hip. That statement came just after Duchscherer returned to the DL in mid-May because of continued hip discomfort one mere day after coming off it.

For the time being, Duchscherer is trying the conservative route to see whether he can delay surgery until the season ends. The Chronicle reports that he has undergone a Synvisc injection, a joint lubricant that may alleviate some of his current symptoms.

Fantasy owners who were holding out hope should probably look elsewhere, however. Synvisc was not ultimately able to stave off surgery when Duchscherer's right hip was bothering him; it's hard to be overly optimistic that this will turn out differently.

Other names to watch

Huston Street, RP, Colorado Rockies (15-day DL retroactive to March 26): Street began experiencing shoulder stiffness in mid-March. After steady progress, Street was throwing in a rehab assignment mid-May and was feeling good. So good, in fact, that he told the Rockies' official website, "I'm close -- dangerously close. I'm close enough to start getting my hopes up, and that's something I'm trying to keep together." Then, as if foreshadowing what was to come, Street added, "I got real excited last time [in spring training], and we had the setback. That set us back six more weeks."

Uh-oh. It happened again. Street suffered a setback just when it appeared he was on the verge of returning. It's important to distinguish, however, that this setback was not to his shoulder; instead, Street suffered a groin injury. Fortunately, it appears that the injury was not as serious as first thought, and Street's return may not be extensively delayed. In fact, Street threw a bullpen session Tuesday, which suggests he could be back in a rehab assignment in the not-too-distant future. Fantasy owners should keep an eye on early June if all continues well.

Brett Anderson, SP, Oakland Athletics (15-day DL, April 27): Anderson has been out since late April with a flexor tendon strain in his throwing (left) forearm. ESPN's Buster Olney originally reported that Anderson was expected to miss a month, and it appears that time frame could be right on the money.



Anderson has been progressing well since his injury and threw three innings in a rehab start in Sacramento on Monday. Although it seems like a relatively short rehab stint, the A's must be pleased with what they have seen so far, because Anderson is expected to rejoin the team Wednesday according to Contra Costa Times reporter Joe Stiglich. The plan is for Anderson to throw off the mound and, if there are no setbacks, pitch Saturday. Despite the short rehab assignment, Anderson has been throwing his repertoire of pitches without incident during flat ground sessions since mid-May, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Although this is certainly a strong sign, the demands of throwing off the mound are always greater. It will be interesting to see how deep he goes into his first game out after the layoff.

And yes, there are always more injuries than there is room to discuss here. We might even hit on some of them in tomorrow's Fantasy Focus podcast. Next week, we will take a look at some of those "forgotten" players nearing the end of their terms on the 60-day DL. Will they be ready? Check back and see what we're hearing.

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