• We didn't have to wait even one full day after the All-Star Break to have another injury scare with a star player. The Toronto Blue Jays' Jose Bautista left Thursday's game after twisting his ankle by catching a cleat in the dirt on a slide into third base. Video replays show that his foot and ankle quickly invert (roll so the sole of the foot points inward) when his spikes caught the dirt, a common mechanism for a lateral ankle or foot sprain. X-rays were negative, but there is a possible MRI looming. The best case scenario is that this is a minor issue that causes a big scare but doesn't result in much missed time. Of course, there is the New York Mets' Ike Davis situation to remind us that occasionally injuries that appear minor translate into something far more serious.
Icon SMIJose Bautista's first game after the All-Star break wasn't what he expected.
• Speaking of Davis, who has been sidelined since early May with a bone bruise in his left ankle, ESPN New York reports he has visited with a specialist in North Carolina and has also received a cortisone injection. The decision as to whether the Mets first baseman will need season-ending surgery will be made after another three weeks of prescribed rest. The issue has been -- and continues to be -- that when Davis attempts to run, he experiences pain in the ankle either during or afterward. Thus, the potential of surgery to address cartilage damage remains. The persistence of pain more than two months post-injury is certainly not encouraging, but no decision about his status has yet been made.
• Teammates Jose Reyes and David Wright continue to recover from their respective injuries. Reyes, who missed a third All-Star Game as the result of injury, is nursing a left hamstring strain. Although the injury was described as minor, there is a strong likelihood that he will not come off the DL immediately when eligible. According to ESPN New York, the Mets want to be cautious with their speedy star, who had an amazing start to his 2011 season but is also no stranger to hamstring injuries. Reyes' history, combined with the fact that his game is dependent on his speed and explosiveness (and therefore his hamstrings), prompted general manager Sandy Alderson to say, "This is a two- to three-week injury, probably closer to three than two, given his style of the play and the importance of his legs and his explosiveness. We'll probably be careful with him." In other words, he'll spend a little longer away from the game now in the interest of protecting him for the latter part of the season.
• Meanwhile, Wright is expected to begin a rehab assignment Friday. He has tested his back with running, hitting, sliding and all types of baseball activities. Now comes the time to put it all together in a game situation. If all goes well, Wright could be back within another week or so and should be much stronger following this rehab and heading into the second half.
Bennett Cohen/Icon SMIAlex Rodriguez opted for knee surgery right away instead of trying to play through the injury.
• New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez also missed the All-Star Game as he underwent surgery in Miami on Monday to address a small meniscus tear in his right knee. There had been some discussion as to whether Rodriguez would try to continue to play through the injury or have the surgical procedure. Ultimately, the decision to fix it won out. It was probably a wise move, as it eliminates the uncertainty not only about how Rodriguez would perform in the presence of the injury but also around the possibility that it could progress.
With the injury being to his right knee, the one Rodriguez pivots on every time he swings the bat (which contributes to his power), any limitation could certainly impact his effectiveness at the plate. Plus, there's the business of running (which aggravated the knee previously) and playing defense. The time frame of four to six weeks to return is certainly reasonable and although Rodriguez could return sooner, the goal is to ensure that he does not have lingering knee issues, for this season and beyond. The procedure may have been straightforward, but there is still a joint recovery involved. The Yankees have demonstrated their willingness to be patient with their stars in order to get them back healthy and the same approach seems to be in order here. Much will depend on how quickly he regains his range of motion and strength in his quadriceps followed by assessing how his knee responds (i.e. swelling, soreness) as his activity is increased.
• Another Yankee who missed the All-Star Game is closer Mariano Rivera, who has been dealing with triceps soreness in his throwing arm. Although he returned after a few days of rest to pitch an inning on July 9, Rivera elected not to throw in the All-Star Game because, as he told reporters, he wanted to do "what is right," and ensure he is fully healthy. Rivera acknowledged that this might be something he needs to manage across the season yet he does not appear overly concerned. This is an athlete who appears to have a keen self-awareness of his body and his abilities, yet he's also aware that he is indeed 41 years old. Managing this may be precisely what he needs to do, but there appears to be no reason to panic, at least not yet.
• The Boston Red Sox also had a couple of notable All-Star absentees. Pitcher Jon Lester was placed on the DL with a strain of his latissimus dorsi muscle, an injury which Lester downplayed from the start. After resting for several days, the Boston Globe reports Lester threw from 60 feet Thursday. Although there is still quite a distance to go in his throwing progression, manager Terry Francona's comment that the session went "really well" suggests this will not be a long-term injury. Nonetheless, fantasy owners should anticipate that his return date could extend beyond next Friday, when he is eligible to come off the DL.
Kim Klement/US PresswireCarl Crawford is expected to play a couple of rehab games for Triple-A Pawtucket this weekend before returning to the Red Sox.
• Teammate Carl Crawford is expected to make his return from a hamstring strain on Monday. Crawford had been progressing well before the All-Star Break but the Red Sox exercised caution in bringing him back. It's hard to argue with a few extra days rest when it comes to hamstrings, and maybe Crawford, who's anxious to get back in the lineup, will be a more productive Crawford in the second half.
• The Philadelphia Phillies placed Placido Polanco on the DL on Friday, citing inflammation in his lower back. Although this move did open a spot for the returning Ryan Madson, it's unclear whether Polanco's back is more problematic than originally thought. Polanco has been trying to press through the back condition for over a month. Although he has not played in a game since July 4, he acknowledged playing through pain since June. He has had trouble swinging the bat because of pain, and the Philadelphia Inquirer reported in early July that Polanco had been experiencing numbness radiating into both sides. Despite resting his back, Polanco was unable to participate in the All-Star game and will now be out until at least July 20, when he is eligible to return. Fantasy owners should not be surprised if this extends longer however given the troubles he has been having and the unpredictable behavior of low back pain.
• In the meantime Madson, who has been on the DL with inflammation in his pitching hand after getting hit by a comebacker, is expected to reclaim his closer job from Antonio Bastardo right away. Madson had been experiencing issues with gripping the ball despite continuing to pitch and ultimately, when numbness in one of his fingers was lingering, a brief course of rest was recommended. Soon enough it will be evident whether those issues are behind him.
• And finally, keep an eye on Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who continues to have pain in his bruised wrist. After recently receiving a cortisone injection, it's possible he could be rested for several days. The Denver Post reports Gonzalez has fluid in the wrist, which is contributing to his lingering soreness. The Rockies are calling him day-to-day but resting through the weekend would not be a surprise.