Fantasy league injuries w/Stephania Bell
Send your questions now and join Bell in The Show on Friday at 11 a.m. ET!
Stephania Bell (11:02 AM)
Good morning everyone - Welcome to our weekly "injury" edition chat. I have really enjoyed the questions you all have been bringing each week, and there are already plenty more so we will go right to them...
Good morning Stephania. I miss your frequency on the Fantasy Focus podcast. You have a great chemistry with those two chuckle heads. Do you think Rollins is coming off the DL today? Is he an immediate impact or should we expect rust? I have to drop either Yunel Escobar or Ryan Theriot to make room for him, who do you like the rest of the way as a utility fill in? Thanks.
Stephania Bell (11:07 AM)
Hi Anthony: Thanks for the comment! I miss visiting the podcast - but hope to rejoin those two again soon. I do think Rollins rejoins the team today in SF where the Phillies will try to beat up on my beloved Giants. But as my colleague Buster Olney said yesterday, they will test him when he gets to AT&T park. They want to see him cut, run, etc and prove to them, before they put him in the lineup, that the ankle is really 100%. They may wait until tomorrow to bring him in. Best advice at this point is (depending what time you put lineups in), wait until tomorrow. That being said, I do expect immediate impact. he went 4 for 4 in a rehab start the other day and they really have just wanted the ankle to be 100% to avoid risk of any setback. I think he comes back strong (and it's the Giants).
Assuming you'll get plenty of Smoltz questions! When he comes of the DL - does he close? Should I let go of Soriano at this point?
Stephania Bell (11:10 AM)
Hi Casey: I do think Smoltz comes back as the closer. He has decided it, he is someone who knows his body well, is mature and is a good decision-maker - and who happens to have a 41 year old arm. He knows the arm is not in it for the deep games. The problem with Soriano is this persistent discomfort he's having with no definitive explanation. Word is that an MRI just came back normal, which is good, and they are putting him back on a throwing program, but the fact that he's had so much trouble progressing with no obvious reason, is of concern. I would be prepared to drop him at this point.
Hey Stephania, has the official word came out yet? Is Gallardo offically lost for the season?
Stephania Bell (11:14 AM)
Hi Bill: Everyone wants to know - as do I. But as far as I am aware, there has been no "official" word. Now the asst GM came out with what is as close to officially saying he's done as you can get, but here's the thing. His knee apparently swelled up so much by the following day (which is typical b/c of the bleeding inside), that they wanted to have the swelling come down before they made the final decision. They may well have madde th decision internally, but it is completely normal to let the swelling subside before surgery. They will "re-examine" him, but my money is on him having surgery and being done. He faces a 6-9 month rehab and they have already said that he had a complete tear of his ACL. I think you can bank on it.
Ryan (Cherry Hill, NJ)
Hi Stephania, what the deal with Pedro? Are the Mets just taking their time with him so his arm is fresh in Sept. and October? Perhaps I'm too into conspiracy theories, but this is a long time for a hammy.
Stephania Bell (11:17 AM)
Hi Ryan: I don't think so. Pedro appeared to have a decent hamstring strain and when you combine all the factors for him - his age, the location of his injury (up high near the tendon which doesn't heal as fast), the wide leg kick he has during ball release and follow through, and the fact that his hamstring HAS to be strong to avoid puttting his shoulder at risk, I think his timeline is exactly what I expected it to be - slow. His rotator cuff repair is delicate - and although he came back to pitch well, it is by no menas a "normal" cuff. If he starts overloading the shoulder b/c of the leg, he is really at risk of potentially ending his career. So I think they're just being sensible, not tricky.
okay if Gallardo does have an acl tear, would you still keep him for next year?...
Stephania Bell (11:19 AM)
Hi Lee: Yes I would. I think the fact that he is young, the way he came back from knee surgery at the start of this season (yes, it was less serious but nonetheless gave me an idea of how he rehabs) and the fact that he is a pitcher, not a running back in the NFL. I think he's in good shape following the reconstruction with plenty of time to rehab (assuming surgery is relatively soon) before next year).
Stephania - Could you please fix Howie Kendrick... And if you're too busy to do so, can you speculate as to the likelihood that he can stay healthy once he returns from the DL?
Stephania Bell (11:25 AM)
Hi Derek: And this is for all those Kendrick questions out there, as there are many and I understand why. Unfortunately I can not fix him - but he has a good staff tending to him. Unfortunately, he represents the most classic example of how finicky these muscle strains can be. Until you test the muscle, you really don't know how healthy it is. It's not something you can see, you can't predict with any precision exactly how long it will take to get better, so you balance treatment,rehab and return to sport activities, upping the ante daily to see what the player can tolerate. Then one day when the player says "I felt it pull a little bit while I was out there" the staff pulls him back, reduces his activity and resets the clock. Annoying for everyone - player, team , medical staff, fan and fantasy owners. But that "day-today" term is literal. So - for now, the soonest to expect him is the Angels next homestand. Maybe,.
What is the word with Figgins, the Halo's have been pretty ambiguous with his injury.
Stephania Bell (11:28 AM)
Hi Mark: Seems appropriate to follow the Kendrick question with a Figgins one. He also has a hamstring strain sustained last Saturday. They called it mild but I was a bit concerned by the fact that he was sent immediately for an MRI, suggesting to me that it had some element of seriousness to it. Then after hearing he'd likely be back in the lineup Friday, the next announcement was that he would not even try to run until Friday (today). Figgind says it's not as bad b/c it's the outer part of his leg, not the middle, but don't let that fool you - it's still part of the same muscle group. I think if he's just testing it today I would not count on anything before next week - and keep an eye on the situation.
Hey Stephania, I know you have published that you don't think that A-Rod will play until the All-Star Break, but I was wondering what your thoughts were now that he has resumed baseball activities. Are the Yankees making a bad mistake?
Stephania Bell (11:35 AM)
Hi Dave: I don't think I wrote in my blog that he would be out until All-Star although when we have talked about him on air we have said that could be a possibility. I did note that he had a similar injury in high school that took two months - and certainly if this one took as long, we are looking at the All-Star Break. What I will say is that this Grade 2 type injury is extremely hard to gauge when it comes to timeline b/c the amount of injury to the muscle is so variable. You may have heard that the Yankees plan to perform another MRI next week before letting A-Rod progress to rehab games. They want to get a look at the muscle to seehow the healing is coming along. ALlthough this is by no menas a definitive measure of determining how well he can function, it gives them a little more than just asking the player how he's feeling, which unfortunately is one of the places we have to start in rehab with muscle strains. He is so valuable to the team that they don't want to set him back further, so they want to move him along, but not lose him for more time. Very tough management issue. Right now his activity (light jogging, BP, catch) is all appropriate for where he is timewise, but as we talked about earlier with Kendrick, so much of his evaluation is truly day-to-day. If he proceeds on this timeline without a setback, it looks like he could be back in June.
Any word on the seriousness of Brandon Phillips' calf? Will he miss any significant amount of time?
Stephania Bell (11:38 AM)
Hi John: Several questions re: Phillips today. He has a bruised calf after fouling a ball off of it - which cannot feel good. But I have not been able to locate any specifics as to whether he is expected to miss time, only that the injury is not thought to be serious. I'll keep my eye on it - but unfortunately don't have any more right now.
John (Herndon, VA)
Stephenia, I have not heard a peep about Mike Hampton. The Braves could really use him, and so could I. What's up? Thanks!
Stephania Bell (11:40 AM)
Hi John: You know, I have been pulling for this guy trying to come back after no starts since 2005. But he strained that pec warming up for his first expected start this year, and then was coming along well in rehab, but just recently (I believe last week), felt the pec pull again slightly so his timetable was pushed back - again. I still believe he sees the field at some point, but it is hard to put eggs in that basket with him being so fragile.
Stephania...why a Giants fan when you could be an A's fan!? And now the token Harden question of the week...did his rehab's go well enough to justify breaking up the solid rotation Oakland's got going right now?
Stephania Bell (11:43 AM)
Hi Brad: Well, I'm not opposed to the A's - and when the A's do well, I support them. OK - it's weak, I am really a Giants fan - but I'm happy to throw some props at the team on the other side of the bay. Anyway, yes I think bringing Harden back in is the right thing, even though the A's have been performing beyond expectations. Harden's rehab, by all accounts, has gone extremely well - and remember, as I said when he had this injury, this was not the worst thing that could happen to him. It was not as alarming as an injury to a different part of his shoulder, or a recurrence of last year' symptoms. In fact, I think the A's decreased his return speed simply because of his history and to ensure that they bring him back in a way that promotes long-term success. Look at what he was doing when he went out. I think you get more of the same.
Drew (Chicago, IL)
Hi Stephania, any current info on Lackey. I heard maybe he starts next week but haven't seen an update since. Do you expect him to have any struggles throughout the season?
Stephania Bell (11:48 AM)
Hi Drew: And all the others with Lackey questions...I think there has been no update since b/c he is expected to make another rehab start today (his last one was last Sunday where he threw for 4 innings). If all goes well today, he will rejoin the Angels and start on either the 14th or 15th is what we're hearing. In all of my communications with the Angels, I have heard nothing but good things as to how his rehab is progressing. I think the timeline he has been brought along on is very reasonable. Keep in mind, one of the reasons they wanted him to have several rehab outings is because he only had one spring training start so they wanted to be sure that in addition to being healed, his arm strength would be adequate. Now he hasn't gone particularly deep in his rehab starts so there might be a concern as to how deep he will go in his first game or two back, but I do not expect him to struggle from an injury perspective.. He looks to be well over it.
Do you think Smoltz coming back as a closer will really help his arm? It seems to me the stress of pitching nearly everyday would be worse for it then 5 or 6 innings every 5 days.
Stephania Bell (11:52 AM)
Hi Rod: You ask a great question. There really are two different types of stressing the arm. The problem for Smoltz is that he says he has not been able to go beyond three innings without encountering significant pain. He doesn;t think he can get through four. The pain is related to inflammation, which should settle somewhat with the latest cortisone shot and rest. the key then is not inflaming the shoulder when he returns. He has a better shot of avoiding that by throwing regularly, warming up and cooling down, but keeping the outings short - throwing overall fewer pitches. There are certainly no guarantees, and it is possible that even closing will tax him, but if Soriano makes it back (and hopefully he will, but it may be a while yet), then there may be some sharing, and that could offload him too. For now, it looks like the best option for him.
Is Michael Young's hip flexor tweak a non-issue? I've heard rumors that he's supposed to play today.
Stephania Bell (11:54 AM)
Hi John: It does appear to be minor. Young says that although it was still a little tight yesterday it felt much better and he said that he fully expects to play today. So if we believe him, and I don't see a reason not to, then yes, he should play.
John (Niagara Falls)
Hi Stephania! Great stuff, as usual! What can you tell us about Rafael Furcal's back injury?
Stephania Bell (11:56 AM)
Hi John in beautiful Niagara Falls! I can tell you that Furcal is expected to play today. He had some stiffness in his back, but even head athletic trainer/PT Stan Conte said he only expected him to miss a day or two. Sounds as if he will be in the lineup today.
Fred (East Lansing)
Stephania, In your humble opinion does the "reported" Phil Hughes injury make sense, or was he just not preforming? If truly injured what is recovery time?
Stephania Bell (12:00 PM)
Hi Fred: Oh yes - he had a real injury. A stress fracture in the rib is significant. And anyone who has ever had a rib injury, even if it's soft tissue (like muscle or cartialge around the rib), knows that it is extremely painful. Your ribs move every time you breathe, so just quiet breathing can be painful - certainly any additional motion on top of that (and when you consider the violent motion of pitching it is not light) makes the pain that much worse. In Hughes' case, the other problem is that if he continued to throw with it, it would keep it from healing. So - 4 to 6 weeks for the bone to fully heal. The Yankees already said he would not pick up a baseball until 4 weeks at the earliest and then it would take another month or so of rehab, so plan on after the All-Star break for him.
The Big Kahuna(LB NY)
Cris Carpenter? When should he be able to return or at least start throwing and what can we expect upon his pitching again? Thanks for your insightinto these matters. It really does help!
Stephania Bell (12:03 PM)
Hey Big Kahuna: Carpenter should be rejoining the team in July or August. He has been throwing bullpens and is making great progress. He may be effective when he returns, but pitchers usually need some playing time under their belt after this extensive post -TJ rehab before they return to form. His best performances will likely not come until the very late part of the season or even into next year.
I havn't heard anything about Josh Willinghams back. Is this going to linger through the season?
Stephania Bell (12:06 PM)
Hi Steve: The big concern here is that Willingham has had these back problems before, has missed time as a result and then they disappear and crop up again later - which is actually typical of how most back problems behave. He had an MRI that showed nothing major - which is good news, but given the unpredictable nature of back problems, and his history of multiple episodes, I think you have to consider that this could recur. No way of knowing for sure.
Stephania Bell (12:07 PM)
OK everyone - wow the hour goes fast when I'm getting so many great questions. Again - I promise to get answers to some of your questions in my blog so be sure to check there throughout the week as well (especially Rob in State College - great question, but not enough time to answer it here). Thanks so much for coming - have a wonderful weekend and may all of your fantasy players stay healthy...