Stephania Bell: Jon Garland
June, 6, 2011
By Stephania Bell | ESPN.com
As is usually the case following a series of weekend games, there are some comings and goings in the world of baseball. Some players are coming back from injury while others are exiting, or appear on the brink of exiting, due to injury. If only the return list was greater than the departure list, fantasy owners would be looking forward to adjusting their Monday rosters. While sadly this does not appear to be the case, there are still some nuggets of good news to be found in the injury reports. You just may have to scroll down a ways to find them.
Hanley Ramirez, SS, Florida Marlins: It's official. The Marlins have placed Ramirez on the DL, retroactive to May 30. Ramirez led the Friday blog amidst hints the Marlins would make the decision to place him on the DL at some point that day. Friday came and went without any movement for Ramirez, but it wasn't because he was making a sudden return to the lineup. In fact, Ramirez continued to sit out because of a lower back injury, which had been causing him problems for well over a week. It seems the delayed announcement was linked to the Marlins' decision as to which pitcher would be called up to fill his roster spot. According to the Marlins' official website, with Josh Johnson still out with shoulder inflammation (and no set timetable for his return), it was unclear who would take his Tuesday spot in the rotation. That question now appears to have been answered. According to Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post, the Marlins called up lefty Brad Hand from Double-A Jacksonville. As far as Ramirez goes, it was clear he was hoping to avoid going to the DL for the first time in his career, but the pain was such that he couldn't pinch hit or run. Better for him to step away completely and try to resolve this episode than to press through it. After all, he had not been producing well at the plate. Turns out his back had been bothering him for a month but he kept it quiet until the pain got bad enough he simply couldn't function.
Steve Mitchell/US PresswireHanley Ramirez has not played since May 30 but could be activated as soon as next week.
Jake Peavy, SP, Chicago White Sox: The good news is Peavy's surgical repair to his lat tendon has held up brilliantly and his throwing arm is fine. The bad news is a right groin injury sustained during only his fifth start of the season likely will land him on the disabled list. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Peavy said of his injury, "I'll probably miss more time now. ... the way I feel when I walk, [the disabled list] is a pretty safe bet." At this point Peavy is acutely aware of how an injury in his lower half can affect his upper half. When I talked with him during spring training, he acknowledged that the ankle injury he sustained while with the San Diego Padres had not fully resolved when he went to the White Sox. He said he suspects compensations he made for the leg contributed to abnormal mechanics and ultimately the failure of his latissimus dorsi tendon.
After that experience and the lengthy rehabilitation process he has just undergone, it is highly unlikely he would run the risk of returning to play while compromised. A groin strain is no small issue for a pitcher, no matter which leg is involved. In this case, it's Peavy's right leg, or his stance leg, and he needs strength in the musculature for balance during the wind-up. He needs power and flexibility as he moves further into his delivery and transfers his body weight forward to his left (landing) leg. He also needs to be able to move off the mound quickly for defensive plays. In the fourth inning of Sunday's game it was during a defensive move to cover first that Peavy first felt a "grabbing" pain, according to the Sun-Times. Peavy expected to undergo further evaluation Monday, but it appears fantasy owners should plan on a two-week absence, minimum.
Rafael Furcal, SS and Jon Garland, P, Los Angeles Dodgers: Furcal has to be asking himself what he did exactly to deserve yet another injury to yet another body part. On the DL for the second time this season, Furcal is now dealing with a left-sided oblique strain suffered during Friday's game. Oblique injuries typically require a few weeks of recovery, depending on severity, and given Furcal's history of low back problems, it is critical that he not return too soon. In other words, it's hard to imagine him returning before the end of the month, perhaps even the All-Star break. Sigh. The Dodgers also lost Garland to his second DL stint of the season (he started the season on the DL with, yes, you guessed it, an oblique injury). This time it's his throwing shoulder that's the culprit, and no one ever likes to see that in a veteran pitcher. Garland has been remarkably durable, but now that he is 31 years old, this could be a sign of things to come.
Brandon Belt, 1B, San Francisco Giants: Belt was placed on the DL when it was discovered he had a hairline fracture in his left wrist after being hit by a pitch last week. Consider this another blow to the Giants, who had brought Belt back into the lineup following the season-ending injury to Buster Posey. Although Belt's fracture likely will take another month to heal, he could resume baseball activities before then if he's progressing well.
ComingMatt Garza, P, Chicago Cubs: Garza has been activated and will start Monday against the Cincinnati Reds. He has been sidelined with an elbow contusion but has felt no pain when throwing recently, including a solid bullpen outing late last week. Pitching in a game situation is always a little more strenuous, though, so it remains to be seen how he will fare.
Derrek Lee, 1B, Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles got Lee back this weekend after he spent time on the DL with an oblique injury. Lee sustained the injury in mid-May and has returned fairly swiftly. It's worth pointing out that although Lee started the season on time, he missed a good portion of spring training because of his thumb, forearm and foot. The missed time may explain, in part, his unspectacular start to the season. If he is fully healthy now, it will be interesting to see what he has in the tank.
Adam Lind, 1B, Toronto Blue Jays: In case you missed it, Lind snuck back into the starting first-base role for the Blue Jays on Sunday, and all he did was go 4-for-4 with two home runs. It appears his back is much better. Lind had been out for nearly a month with intermittent back spasms. Early on, the team hoped Lind could avoid the DL altogether, but after several setbacks the extended time off became the wise choice. In retrospect it certainly seems as if Lind benefited from that decision, and while back pain is always at risk for recurrence, the hope is that the longer reprieve will help him avoid just that.
Somewhere in between
Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is working his way up the ladder following abdominal surgery in early May. On Sunday, Zimmerman appeared in a rehab game with Class A Hagerstown. After delivering a double, a triple and an RBI, Zimmerman is being moved to Class A Potomac. According to the Washington Post, Zimmerman referred to himself as winded and "sore" after the outing, noting he "was out of breath for a while after that triple." These are all normal responses to returning to game action following the type of surgery Zimmerman underwent, and he will continue to build his endurance and his strength by increasing the level of play. While there is no definitive date for his return, Zimmerman is certainly within the standard timeframe of recovery of six to eight weeks.
Al Bello/Getty ImagesRyan Zimmerman has not played in the majors since April 9 but is making progress in the minors.
Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins was seen limping in the clubhouse Sunday after fouling a ball off his right kneecap Saturday. On Sunday, Rollins told the Philadelphia Inquirer, "It'll be a couple of days, but I don't think a DL thing, not at this moment," explaining that the response of the swelling would determine what he was able to do. On Monday, Rollins was not in the lineup and is considered day-to-day.
The New York Mets won't be getting third baseman David Wright back in the lineup this month. After a re-evaluation, Wright says he will have to wait at least another three weeks before resuming baseball activities. Teammate Ike Davis, who incidentally was injured in a collision with Wright in early May, also remains out with a bone bruise in his left ankle. When Davis tried to progress to running, it became so painful that he was forced back into a walking boot. As Davis told ESPN New York, if he does any running right now it's on an underwater treadmill. The good news is that he is hitting and working on other conditioning activities. But the impact of running is something the joint cannot tolerate yet.
Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria gave everyone a scare when he left Saturday's game early with "tightness" in his left side. Yes, it's the same side in which he suffered the oblique injury earlier this year. But Longoria was able to pinch hit Sunday and is expected back in the lineup Monday. Maybe he just wanted to see if anyone would notice. Judging from the collective anxiety of fantasy owners everywhere, the answer is yes, we noticed.
Resume normal breathing everyone, at least until tomorrow.
March, 18, 2011
By Stephania Bell | ESPN.com
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.
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.
Jake Roth/US PresswireRafael Furcal was limited to just 97 games in 2010 because of injuries.
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.
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