Stephania checks in today with the latest on Brett Gardner, Lance Berkman and others:
Did you know ...
... there are so many top closers sidelined indefinitely right now they could comprise an entire division? Yep, it's true. Three are out for the season (Ryan Madson, Tommy John surgery; Brian Wilson and Joakim Soria, both on their second Tommy John surgeries) and two are out for an extended period (Drew Storen, post-bone chip removal from elbow, no firm timetable for his return; and Kyle Farnsworth, elbow strain, out at least a month). That's a total of five, or one-sixth of the league's closers, now out of commission. All we can do is hope this closer injury rate doesn't continue.
Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner has already been placed on the disabled list because of a bruised right elbow. The Yankees made the move Wednesday after an MRI showed a bone bruise and a strained forearm muscle. The involved muscle (extensor) affects grip and extension, and although Gardner is a lefty, the injury could compromise his grip of the bat and his ability to achieve full extension on his swing. According to ESPNNewYork.com, Gardner suffered the injury when he landed awkwardly, bending his wrist under him, while making a sliding catch in Tuesday's game. Gardner reportedly had difficulty swinging the bat Wednesday, hence the decision to rest him. It's unclear at this point whether 15 days will be sufficient for Gardner to fully recover.
St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman has also been placed on the DL after suffering a setback Wednesday with his strained calf. He had a similar injury in 2009, came back prematurely, and then missed three weeks. As Berkman told the Post-Dispatch, "So, you think I would have learned. I tried to play with it, and it kind of did the same thing." Well then, maybe it will take about the same amount of time to recover.
The key for Berkman is getting the calf fully healthy to avoid dealing with a chronic issue throughout the season. After all, he is three years older now, and these injuries can be particularly tricky for 30-somethings. Just ask Derek Jeter and Jimmy Rollins.
Upton is up
How about some good news for a change? As in, someone who is actually coming back to the lineup instead of leaving it. That someone would be B.J. Upton, who has rejoined his Rays teammates and is expected to return to the lineup Friday. Upton was injured this spring when he collided with teammate Desmond Jennings and (understandably) had some lingering back soreness as a result. The extra downtime proved helpful, and after several uneventful minor league outings, Upton is ready to upgrade. There's no reason to think he will have any particular issues going forward, based on what we've heard about his progress thus far.