This just in: Chris Carpenter is for real this year. For those who were worried about his ability to pick up where he left off, after coming back from an oblique injury, worry no more. His performance shows that not only is he fully recovered from the abdominal injury, but his arm, which caused him to miss almost two full seasons prior to 2009, looks to still be solid.
Last week we led off the column with a report on Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado undergoing hip surgery to address a torn labrum. Sadly, he has some teammates joining him on the DL this week. For the time being, Carlos Beltran is not one of them, although his bone bruise, coupled with his extensive history of knee problems (Beltran has undergone surgical procedures on the patellar tendons of both knees), is definitely cause for concern. Currently he is expected to sit out the team's next two games, according to the New York Daily News, which would have him returning Friday. It wouldn't hurt to check the pregame lineup on Friday, as this is by no means a sure thing.
Three players left their respective games early Tuesday as the result of injury, although the extent of their injuries was not immediately known.
The Marlins' Hanley Ramirez was forced to exit early because of groin tightness, according to the Miami Herald. As a shortstop, a position which requires lunging quickly to either side, a groin injury could be problematic. It sounds as if this injury did not appear serious at the time, but perhaps the Marlins thought it better for Ramirez to limit his playing time within the game rather than risk developing a more significant problem.
Brewers' outfielder Ryan Braun was hit in the arm by a pitch in the third inning. If there's any silver lining here, it's that he did not exit the game until the start of the fifth. We will see whether this turns into anything more significant.
Royals' outfielder Coco Crisp did not make it past the fourth inning because of a sore right shoulder, according to the team's official Web site. This is a bit worrisome, as the shoulder has been bothering him since last week. Whether Crisp just needs a day or two or whether this turns into something more protracted remains to be seen.
So here's who we're talking about this week in the world of baseball injuries
Jose Reyes, SS, Mets: I have to admit to not being completely flabbergasted by Reyes' addition to the DL late Tuesday. For those keeping score at home, I speculated on our Fantasy Focus show last Friday that he could very likely end up on the DL. He has been struggling since mid-May with calf pain, recently labeled as tendinitis by the team. He had been unable to play and despite reassurances last week that the MRI showed only tendinitis and that the team was calling him day-to-day, Reyes' comment about his leg to the New York Daily News on Thursday, "That thing doesn't feel right at all," was foreboding.
Why is this injury particularly problematic for Reyes? Simply put, in addition to his bat, Reyes is expected to contribute his speed to the lineup. When the calf muscle, which is so necessary for pushing off when running, is sore to the point that it hurts with every step, there is no way for a player to be effective. Despite his taking batting practice and fielding before games in which he ultimately did not play this weekend, Reyes' lingering inability to run made it apparent that it would not be a quick return. The bigger concern with Reyes' injury, as with any inflammatory condition involving a muscle or tendon, is that trying to play through the pain can result in a more severe injury, which ultimately translates into a longer absence from the lineup. At least the Mets can backdate this DL episode to May 21 and hope that Reyes will be ready when eligible to return.
Ryan Church, Mets: Church's name was another added to the Mets' rapidly expanding DL roster on Tuesday. He suffered a hamstring strain and had missed his third straight game as of Monday. Hamstring strains are notoriously difficult to turn around in a few days and it is no surprise that Church ended up out for two weeks. The New York Daily News reported that his hamstring had initially affected his hip and back, which raises the specter of an injury more complicated than just a muscle strain. While a hamstring injury could certainly lead to compensations in the hip and spine, it is also possible that back problems, sciatic nerve problems and hip problems could all lead to a hamstring strain. For the time being, it sounds as if Church will have a couple of weeks to sort out what the main issues are to get him back on track.
Joey Votto, 1B, Reds: Last week at this time, Votto's dizziness was still unexplained. This week, an explanation was provided -- he was diagnosed with an inner ear infection in his left ear -- but he is still not fully healthy. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, he had a history of ear infections when he was younger, and developed this most recent infection following an upper respiratory illness. Votto has been on anti-inflammatory medication and although his condition has improved, he was still feeling some lingering effects this past weekend. It hasn't seemed to hurt his hitting, though, as he delivered two home runs Saturday. Fantasy owners should continue to check his lineup status throughout the week until we know he is out of the woods.
Jason Bartlett, SS, Rays: Bartlett was sent to the DL on Tuesday with a sprained left ankle sustained in extra innings Sunday. The injury did not appear serious at first, according to the Tampa Tribune, but after a day off Monday apparently the team thought it wise to keep him out for a more extended period. One consideration may have been the demands of the position Bartlett plays. As a shortstop he needs to be able to move laterally in a hurry, something that could be problematic following an ankle sprain of any type. We have seen other position players struggle to return effectively after suffering an ankle sprain (read: Dodgers Rafael Furcal) so there are no guaranteed timetables. Stay tuned for updates on Bartlett's activity as the 15-day mark approaches.
Carlos Quentin, OF, White Sox: Quentin is not on the DL yet. He has been plagued by symptoms of plantar fasciitis -- inflammation of the tissue that supports the arch of the foot -- to such a degree that he actually had to be helped off the field on Monday. This is not a condition that typically goes away quickly and despite his efforts to alleviate it with supportive inserts, various therapies and limited rest, it clearly remains a problem. It has been limiting his activity for several weeks, but like many inflammatory conditions, it has undoubtedly been brewing for a while. According to the Chicago Tribune, Quentin was scheduled to be evaluated Tuesday and although the team is optimistic that he could return this weekend, fantasy owners should make alternate plans. It could very well be that extended rest is required in order for him to be able to play on, and it would not be out of the question for it to be intermittently problematic throughout the season.For updates on John Smoltz, Alex Gordon and more, be sure that you are signed into ESPN Insider. Not an Insider? Join Today!
On the mend
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