Stephania Bell: Ryan Vogelsong
All projected return timelines should be considered fluid.
AP Photo/Joe RaymondHanley Ramirez injured his throwing shoulder at Wrigley Field on Sunday.
Hanley Ramirez, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers (day-to-day): Playing hard can come with associated risks, as we have seen throughout this season. We also have seen Dodgers starters succumb to an unusual number of injuries. Ramirez fell into both of those classes Sunday night when he injured his right shoulder crashing into the stands while tracking a foul ball. According to the Los Angeles Times, there was initial concern that his injury was serious. The good news is that, as of Monday, Ramirez already reported feeling improvement. According to MLB.com, his pain had decreased and manager Don Mattingly indicated his range of motion also had improved. If his function improves dramatically in the first 48 hours, Ramirez might not need more than a few days of rest. Fantasy owners should plan on a handful of days off at the minimum, but it appears he could avoid another trip to the DL -- it would be his third of the year -- if he continues to progress.
Howie Kendrick, OF, Los Angeles Angels (day-to-day): Collisions in the outfield are always scary, and the one between Kendrick and teammate Collin Cowgill in the fifth inning of Monday night's game was no different. Kendrick's leg hit Cowgill's body, and he was clearly in pain when he hit the ground, ultimately requiring assistance to get off the field. The Angels later reported that the injury is a hyperextended knee (when the knee moves backward beyond its normal range, placing strain on the structures on the back side of the knee) and that Kendrick is day-to-day. Depending on the amount of swelling and the severity of any soft tissue injury, Kendrick could be out just a few days or could require a DL trip. More should be known in the next several days as the team sees how Kendrick's knee responds.
David Wright, 3B, New York Mets (placed on disabled list Aug. 3): According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Wright was diagnosed as having a moderate hamstring strain (otherwise known as a Grade 2 strain) and is expected to miss three to five weeks. Wright left Friday's game early, and a subsequent MRI confirmed the extent of the injury. Apparently, the "cramping" he had experienced earlier in the week signaled something bigger, and now the Mets can expect to be without their star for the better part of a month or more. A one-month absence for a moderate strain would be consistent with what other star players have experienced this year (Hanley Ramirez, Giancarlo Stanton), so fantasy owners shouldn't hold their breath for a dramatically earlier return.
Derek Jeter, New York Yankees (placed on DL Aug. 5): Jeter cannot seem to get any groove going this year. Now that his surgically repaired ankle (and subsequent stress fracture) has finally healed, his muscles are not cooperating. His first appearance in a major league game resulted in quadriceps soreness, which forced him back to the DL just as quickly as he had left it. In Jeter-like fashion, he homered out of the gate in his return to the majors, but, within the week, he was dealing with another soft tissue injury. Jeter was diagnosed as having a right calf strain, and the team returned him to the DL on Monday. With only five major league games under his belt in 2013, Jeter described the season as a "nightmare," according to ESPN New York.
On a more positive note, Jeter also said, "It won't be three weeks," a reference to the amount of time he missed in 2011 with a similar injury. His quick definitive declaration suggests he is not experiencing as much soreness this time around, but you can bet, considering the type of season it has been for Jeter, the Yankees will exercise caution. Even if Jeter feels substantially improved, the team will put him through all the testing paces before returning him to action, just as they did with the quad. At 39 years old, with a rough start to the season and with this injury occurring in the same leg as the recent ankle fracture, the team will ensure he's as close to full health as possible before he plays. It appears he could be available by the last week-plus of August, but, until he strings together a couple of consecutive weeks of plate appearance, there's reason to be cautious.
Desmond Jennings, Tampa Bay Rays (placed on DL Aug. 5): Jennings injured the middle finger on his left (non-throwing) hand on a slide into second base on Saturday. Originally thought to be a sprain when initial X-rays were negative, further tests Monday revealed a small fracture, according to the Tampa Bay Times, hence the placement on the DL. The team has not issued a timetable for Jennings' return, and, although simple fractures can take approximately six weeks to heal, a return to activity can happen significantly earlier. The key is good early healing and functionally being able to grip and swing a bat without threatening the bone. All that's certain at this point is that Jennings won't be in the lineup for at least two weeks.
Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies (day-to-day): Speaking of middle finger injuries, Gonzalez was already day-to-day with an injury to the third finger of his right hand, which has bothered him intermittently in the past month. By Sunday, it seemed he was inching closer to the DL stint he had been trying to avoid. Just a week ago, this was my assessment:
"While it sounds as if the team does not believe a DL stint will completely resolve the problem, it also sounds as if this is not likely to go away anytime soon, no matter what path they choose. The risk of aggravation exists with every swing of the bat. It's unclear how much time he will miss in the near future, as the Rockies are calling him day-to-day. The likelihood is that, regardless of whether he goes on the DL, he will again string together series of games where he performs well, but a setback could be lurking around the corner."
The challenge for Gonzalez is that, no matter what adjustments he tries to make, the finger continues to limit him. "I don't want to go on the DL," Gonzalez told The Denver Post. "But I can't swing. I am just a slap hitter; that's all I can do right now."
As of Tuesday morning, the Rockies had not made the move to place Gonzalez on the DL, and it's unclear whether they will opt (for now) to continue with the current plan, essentially resting him as needed, or move him to the DL. Gonzalez has remained fairly productive, despite the finger issue, when he has been in the lineup. The problem for fantasy owners is that the interruptions seem to be coming a little more frequently over the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately, that pattern is not likely to change in the course of the remaining season -- unless there's a two-week break with a DL move, of course -- so get used to checking the daily lineups.
Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Detroit Tigers (returned to lineup Monday, had been day-to-day): After missing three games because of his strained abdominal muscle, Cabrera made a pinch-hit appearance in the 12th inning of Sunday night's game. Although he didn't run, he apparently showed enough to return to the Tigers' lineup Monday. It's not clear whether he's entirely past the injury, however, and fantasy owners should monitor his performance (and status) closely this week. If he aggravates the injury, he could be pulled again to rest.
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank GunnRyan Vogelsong is all set to return to the Giants' rotation Friday.
Ryan Vogelsong, SP, San Francisco Giants (placed on DL May 21): According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Vogelsong will be activated from the DL and start for the Giants on Friday. His return will be a welcome sight after a May injury in which he was hit by a pitch and suffered not one but two breaks in his hand. He required surgery to stabilize the fractures (and a subsequent procedure to remove pins), followed by a lengthy rehab process. Apparently, the rehab has gone well, as Vogelsong has looked sharp in rehab starts thus far. In fact, part of the length to return is the process of rebuilding his arm strength and overall throwing endurance, but his control has been strong. This all bodes well for a strong return for Vogelsong.
Alex Cobb, SP, Rays (placed on DL June 15): Cobb has made two rehab starts now, and the most important news is that he has not experienced a recurrence of concussion-related symptoms. Cobb told The Tampa Tribune, "The vertigo was nonexistent all night." He went on to say that he did not experience any headache, either, something he was concerned could happen. This ability to get through the next level of performance without a return of symptoms is critical in allowing Cobb to not only continue but to progress to the next level (increased innings, increased intensity of competition).
Also important is that he is getting more comfortable on the mound. After taking a line drive to the head in June, it's understandable that he'd need to acclimate to being back on the mound and facing hitters after an extended layoff. The combination of these two things suggests he is getting closer to rejoining the Rays. The plan was for Cobb to make two rehab starts (not counting a start that was shortened by a blister on his finger), and he is scheduled to make another this Thursday. If he continues to pitch well, is more comfortable on the mound and, most importantly, does not experience any recurrence of symptoms, his subsequent start could be alongside his major league teammates.
Yovani Gallardo, SP, Milwaukee Brewers (placed on DL July 31): Gallardo was placed on the DL with a hamstring injury suffered when he delivered a pitch in the fifth inning a week ago. It was Gallardo's left hamstring, the one on his landing leg that is stretched while controlling his body as he moves from ball release to follow-through. Before he can return to pitching, the leg needs to be strong enough to support him in a single-leg stance as he increases the load through that side. It also needs to be flexible enough to be placed under stretch while controlling his delivery.
One week into his DL stint, Gallardo seems to be making some progress. He has been long tossing to keep his arm loose while rehabbing the leg. The next test will be resuming throwing from a mound, which could happen later this week.
Every Monday in this space, we'll provide updates on a variety of players to help you make your weekly lineup decisions. We'll specifically try to hit the players who are day-to-day, have just gone on the DL or are ready to return, so that you can better decide whether you can count on them or not.
All projected return timelines should be considered fluid.
HittersCurtis Granderson, OF, New York Yankees (placed on DL May 25; expected to miss at least a month): When it comes to injuries this season, if the Yankees didn't have bad luck, they wouldn't have any luck at all. Granderson, whose season finally got under way just a few weeks ago, is now out for at least a month with another fracture.
Two hit-by-pitches have resulted in fractures for Granderson, the first a broken right radius (forearm bone) just above the wrist, and now a broken left fifth metacarpal (the long bone of the hand, at the base of the fifth (pinkie) finger). The latest incident occurred Friday night when Granderson absorbed the impact of a pitch to his left knuckle in the fifth inning. In an almost eerie forewarning of this event, Granderson spoke to the Yankees' website just weeks ago during his rehab assignment (from the first fracture) about not fearing the inside pitches. "There's going to be pitches inside, I'm going to get hit again, but you got to stay in," Granderson said. In this case, he stayed in until he was forced out, literally, because of injury.
If there's any good news here, it's that it appears this fracture, like the first, will not require surgery. Broken bones typically require four to six weeks to allow sufficient healing to permit return to play; if Granderson's finger shows good early callus formation (bone healing) and he can grip the bat effectively, his timetable should fit right in that timeframe. That said, he might have to encase his fingers, hands and forearms in bubble wrap when he steps to the plate to get through the rest of the season.
Shane Victorino, OF, Boston Red Sox (placed on DL retroactive to May 21): Victorino had been battling back spasms in recent weeks yet managed to avoid a DL stint. Not now. This time it's his left hamstring that's giving him fits, and Victorino will be forced to rest until he can run without limitation. Interestingly, Victorino's hamstring started to bother him just days after returning to the lineup following missed time for his back. If these two issues are related, which would not be surprising, this could turn out to be intermittently problematic throughout the season.
Will Middlebrooks, 3B, Red Sox (placed on DL May 24): Perhaps back spasms are contagious in Boston. Middlebrooks left Thursday's game early due to back spasms, something manager John Farrell told reporters might have begun Wednesday night as Middlebrooks came out of the batter's box. The good news is that Middlebrooks said, according to ESPN Boston, that as of Saturday he was already feeling improvement. "I do [think I'll come off the DL when eligible]," he said, adding, "I feel better than yesterday, so if I'm already making steps forward, that's where I want to be." This looks to be a minor episode.
Jayson Werth, OF, Nationals (placed on DL retroactive to May 3): When Werth was first placed on the disabled list, the thought was that he would miss the minimum amount of time. After all, when the decision was made to formally move him, he had already missed eight games and seemed to be faring better. But if there's anything we know about hamstring injuries, it's that they are among the least predictable of all soft-tissue ailments. It is often not until the athlete tests the leg with full-speed sprinting activities that lingering issues make themselves known. In Werth's case, he experienced discomfort when breaking out of the batter's box, according to Amanda Comak of the Washington Times. The persistent discomfort led to an MRI, which manager Davey Johnson told reporters was "alarming." Consequently, Werth's timetable has been extended with a new target date of June 3, according to general manager Mike Rizzo (via the Washington Post). It's worth reiterating, however, that hamstrings remain unpredictable. Let's see what Werth does this week in his workouts before counting on a Monday return.
Chase Utley, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies (placed on DL May 23): Utley's knees haven't really been a topic of discussion this season since they haven't seemed to limit him thus far. Now, however, Utley is dealing with a different type of injury issue: a strained right oblique. The Phillies report it as a Grade 1 or minor strain, and the move to the DL reflects their desire to not allow it to worsen. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. offered a timetable of 2-4 weeks, which is certainly reasonable, adding, "We do believe and hope that Chase will be ready to play in Philadelphia within 15 days." The average missed time for an oblique strain in a hitter runs right around a month, but the most mild forms have allowed an athlete return after the minimum stay (such as Freddie Freeman earlier this season). Although there is some optimism Utley will be back after the 15 days, there's no reason for the team to rush him, especially this early in the season.
Trevor Plouffe, 3B, Minnesota Twins (placed on 7-day concussion DL May 22; expected to return Wednesday): Plouffe took a knee to the head while sliding last Tuesday and was subsequently placed on the concussion DL. Concussions are the least predictable of all injuries, but based on Plouffe's fairly swift recovery so far, it appears the Twins will get him back the first day he's eligible to return. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Plouffe passed his neurocognitive (ImPACT) tests Thursday and participated in cardio work Friday, which shows progression. If he is able to perform baseball-related activities early this week without any recurrence of symptoms, it appears he will be cleared to rejoin his team's lineup Wednesday.
Wilkin Ramirez, OF, Twins (placed on 7-day concussion DL May 26): Another collision, another concussion for a Twins player. Unlike the knee to the head Plouffe sustained, Ramirez was concussed making a defensive play in the outfield Saturday when he crashed into teammate Josh Willingham. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Ramirez was not originally on board with the DL designation, that is until he experienced queasiness during the team's flight home Sunday. Good job by the Twins, who certainly have had experience with complex concussions (think former AL MVP Justin Morneau). Now it will be a matter of waiting to see how Ramirez progresses throughout the next week.
PitchersChris Perez, RP, Cleveland Indians (placed on DL May 27): Perez is sidelined with right shoulder soreness, and he was placed on the disabled list for the first time in his major league career early Monday. He was forced to leave Sunday's game against the Red Sox early because of the shoulder, according to ESPN.com. "It kind of pinched on me and sent a little pain down my arm," Perez said. While any shoulder issue is of concern for a pitcher, this doesn't yet have the sounds of something major. It appears Perez at least needs some down time to let the symptoms settle, and he can then hopefully return to throwing. Hopefully.
Clay Buchholz, SP, Red Sox (day-to-day, expected to start at some point this week): Buchholz was scratched from his Monday start after irritating his right acromioclavicular (AC) joint (the point of the shoulder), something he attributes to falling asleep on his side with his arm wrapped around his young daughter. The impression is that this is just a simple matter of delaying his start to account for the soreness, preventing him from compensating and potentially creating another problem. According to ESPNBoston.com, the plan is for Buchhholz to play catch Monday, and he expects to pitch again later this week.
Chris Sale, SP, Chicago White Sox (day-to-day): Mild tendinitis in his posterior throwing shoulder was the diagnosis for Sale. While any inflammation in a thrower's shoulder is a cause for some concern, the Sox immediately indicated they expected Sale to return for his next start after being scratched last Wednesday. Those plans were confirmed after Sale played catch in the outfield prior to Saturday's game. Afterward, Sale said, "It felt a lot better than I actually thought it would be. Everything is on track, and I will be ready to go Tuesday." He was scheduled to follow up Saturday's session with a Sunday bullpen, and there has been no word of any setback.
If Sale returns without incident, there will be a big sigh of relief from his fantasy owners. But the specter of concern has been raised once again -- last year, there were some questions about whether he was dealing with an elbow injury in May, followed by a reported dead arm period in July -- which must remain in the back of our minds. The bigger question will be whether or not Sale can get through the remainder of the season without this turning into something more substantial.
David Price, SP, Tampa Bay Rays (placed on DL May 16): Triceps tightness originally put Price on the DL, but nobody on the Rays seemed overly concerned. Manager Joe Maddon said he did not expect Price to miss more than two or three starts. Apparently there's now reason to be at least a little more concerned. Despite Price's assertions that his arm feels "great," he hasn't yet begun to throw. According to the Tampa Bay Times, playing catch hopefully will begin within the next few days, but Price will have to proceed through a throwing progression before returning the rotation, which could take an additional few weeks. So much for him missing only 2-3 starts; now there is no official timetable. Until Price actually starts throwing with effort, it's difficult to gauge whether the slow progress is as a result of the Rays taking a conservative approach with him or because of legitimate concern over the health of Price's arm.
Ryan Madson, RP, Los Angeles Angels (opened the season on DL; no timetable for return): Every time it seems Madson is making progress in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, he seems to have some form of setback, which delays his return. The most recent incident occurred last week, when Madson developed soreness in his arm while throwing. Instead of beginning an anticipated rehab assignment with Triple-A Salt Lake, Madson has been shut down indefinitely. He is now 14 months post-surgery, and while the timetable for return following this procedure has a range of anywhere from nine to 16 months, the multiple setbacks Madson has experienced are discouraging.
Rarely is the road back to competition entirely uneventful, but Madson seems to have been pushed back with various episodes of discomfort a bit more than usual. At this point, the Angels seem to be getting solid production from Ernesto Frieri in the closer role, and it looks as if he will stay there for the foreseeable future. No doubt the Angels would like to see Madson return to the mound this year, but it has already proven to be slow going. For fantasy purposes, it's probably time to move along.
Jered Weaver, SP, Angels (placed on DL April 8; expected to return Wednesday): It's always nicer to see someone returning from the disabled list as opposed to going on it, especially when it's your team's -- real or fantasy -- ace hurler. Weaver has been out for more than a month after sustaining a non-displaced fracture of his radial head as a result of an awkward fall on the mound. His road to recovery has been uneventful, with the latter part primarily focused on building up his arm strength to the point of being able to reclaim his spot in the rotation. The Angels have announced Weaver will return Wednesday to face the Angels' neighboring rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and fantasy owners should have no concerns about starting him right out of the gate.
Ryan Vogelsong, SP, Giants (placed on DL May 21; expected to miss eight weeks): Vogelsong had not one break but two in his right (throwing) hand, an injury sustained while hitting last week. He underwent surgery last week which required five pins to stabilize the fractures, according to manager Bruce Bochy, and he will need time for the bone to show evidence of healing before he can resume throwing. He will then need additional time to regain throwing strength. Given the projected timeline, expect Vogelsong to be out until well after the All-Star break.