Fantasy league injuries w/Stephania Bell
Send your questions now and join Bell in The Show on Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Need an in-depth answer to your question? Want your roster or trade offers reviewed? Get a personalized response from an ESPN expert with The Answer Guys. All questions answered within 24 hours, guaranteed. Ask your question .
Stephania Bell (3:01 PM)
Hey everyone!! It's that time of year. Baseball is underway and so are our weekly chats. I'm so excited!! Welcome Sports Nation!!!
Steve (New Jersey)
A question from Steve to Stephania, Is John Smoltz worth holding onto on my DL? When do you expect him back and how do you think he'll do?
Stephania Bell (3:03 PM)
Hi Steve: YES! I love Smoltz. Picked him as my comeback story this year on our MLB page. He has had a very steady (which I like) progression back from surgery. He has an excellent situation in Boston where they will let him come back at his own pace. And he sounds so eager. I think this will be a great year for him.
Murph (Ann Arbor)
Steph, I know you are optimistic about Smoltz, but how effective should he be when he gets back? Also, how soon will that be? Thanks.
Stephania Bell (3:04 PM)
Hi Murph: So to follow up, given that I think he will not be rushed, I expect him to be effective right away. And it looks like June.
Should I have serious concerns about Ichiro and his bleeding ulcer? Is this something that is going to keep occuring over the 162 schedule?
Stephania Bell (3:07 PM)
Hi Jack: Well it's certainly a serious condition in the sense that it needs to be treated seriously (which it is) and it's important to discover it fairly early (which it sounds as if they did). The good news is that medication and rest should do the trick. HIs body will have to replace the blood loss (which is what caused him to be fatigued, etc to begin with), and medication these days for ulcers is excellent. So once he recovers it should not be a recurring problem.
Mark from LA
Just tell me Ryan Braun is going to be fine. I need to hear a professional say it before he stops keeping me up at night.
Stephania Bell (3:09 PM)
Hi Mark: Sorry - you're going to stay awake if you listen to me. Here's what I don't like. This was a problem late last year - and after an offseason of rest, it's still a problem. If it doesn't get better with rest, it certainly doesn't get better in season. Also, it bothers him (and was originally hurt) when swinging the bat. Hmmm. He has to keep doing that. It's not to say that it will definitively get worse or that he can't manage it, but I think it's going to bug him at some level, off anf on, throughout the season. And it could get worse.
Joe (Morris Plains, NJ)
How's Cole Hamels doing? Will he be OK?
Stephania Bell (3:11 PM)
Joe: Hamels is doing well by all accounts. The location of his elbow symptoms and the fact that he had tightness, not really pain, and it only came between innings, all are good signs. Of course we never like to see anything in a pitcher's elbow, but so far, there's not a great deal to worry about.
I heard A-Rod is progressing nicely with his rehab. Do you really think he'll be back playing before May 15th? Thanks!
Stephania Bell (3:12 PM)
Mike: Yes, he is - but keep in mind that he really hasn't tested his hip much, based on what the rehab protocl allows at this point. I think we'll know more once he gets into baseball activities. I would not be surprised if he's back in the lineup by then, but I would be surprised if he's in mid-season form before June at the earliest.
A follow up to Ichiro: do you expect him back next week? Or will it take longer than the M's are saying?
Stephania Bell (3:13 PM)
Matt: He's scheduled for blood tests tomorrow which should give an indication os how he's recuperating, but no reason to think he can't make it back by 4/15 at this point.
does devine going on the 60-day DL even before seeing dr. andrews mean he'll be having some major surgery?
Stephania Bell (3:15 PM)
Frank: He's seeing Andrews tomorrow and then we'll know more. I think the 60-day menas they anticipated an extended shut-down either way (with elbow problems there is typically a 6 week shutdown, even if no surgery). But I have to agree - it doesn't look good.
What are your thoughts on Scott Baker's recovery and what can we expect from him coming back?
Stephania Bell (3:17 PM)
Jack: This is a strange one b/c although he struggled in spring it was only recently that we heard of some stiffness in the shoulder. I think the DL option gave them some time to allow him to pitch in the minors and see how the shoulder held up. So far there's no indication of anything serious, but it is a bit tough to get a read based on the limited info.
Good afternoon, Stephania. Do you have any concerns about a young guy like Scherzer's performance throughout the season when he has already recieved a cortisone shot in the shoulder. Christopher Harris projects him as a top 50 starter, but how much risk is there? Thanks.
Stephania Bell (3:22 PM)
Hi Will: There's always some concern when a pitcher starts off the season with an injection, but I don't read too much into it. He has been able to throw, and really well based on last Friday, so I expect him to come strong when he comes off the DL. Also some teams may be quicker to inject than others, thinking it will help move the player along faster. I would say based on his performance, I have more reason to be optimistic about him.
Thanks for the chat Stephania. I hear that Kelvim Escobar's rehab is going really well, and that he may be back with the Angels before May. But just how effective can he (or any pitcher for that matter) be coming back from shoulder labrum surgery? What would you expect from him if he can return this quickly? Many thanks!
Stephania Bell (3:24 PM)
Hi Mark: Thank you for coming! Yes, the one bright spot for the Angels' rotation is that Escobar is doing so well and is ahead of schedule. If a player is effective throwing during his progress back, it's a pretty good sign that he'll be effective when he ultimately returns. The team is actually controlling him b/c he feels so good, that they have to rein it in a bit. The timetables we use for recovery are always general, so it is very possible for a player like Escobar to beat it and be successful.
Webb said he suffered from shoulder stiffness. Any reason to worry?
Stephania Bell (3:25 PM)
Rob: Not yet. It's not uncommon early on - doesn't mean I like it, but I'm not ready to panic yet.
Is there any medical explanation for "dead arm"? Will BJ Ryan regain his velocity?
Stephania Bell (3:28 PM)
Mike: Yes, there is - and it's a bit lengthy. I wrote all about it in our fantasy baseball draft kit under the "injury primer" but it's not uncommon to see it crop up during spring training. Not usually a long-term issue. Yes, I think Ryan will get it back. He's been fiddling with his mechanics and I think that accounts for some of his issues.
Chad (St Louis)
Should I even waste my time having Glaus as my DL spot? Sounds like he may never come back, and if so he'll need time to back into playing shape.
Stephania Bell (3:29 PM)
Chad: Don't waste the spot. Too many red flags here. Glaus has had his timeline pushed back after hitting a wall and it's not even really clear what the problem is. So I'd say it's worth moving on.
Todd, Boston, MA
ervin santana... I hear Tommy John whispers -- others say back mid-may and an ace... any thoughts?
Stephania Bell (3:33 PM)
Todd: Yep - it could be either. Here's the problem. We know he has a partially torn UCL (TJ ligament). Sometimes guys can throw with this, sometimes not. He had pain so they shut him down, hoping that if the symptoms went away, he could be brought back on a program to pitch. So far, so good, but every day is a new hurdle. He could get 90% there and then not get past that - which ul;timately might mean surgery. He could alsocome back without incident and pitch well...problem is ultimately this is going to catch up with him. We just don't have great predictability with these things - as in it could be months to a couple years.
John (Philadelphia, PA)
Any reason to think Lackey will have another inconsistent season because of another year of arm injuries? Like you said in your recent article he's been a real workhorse but perhaps this has come at a price.
Stephania Bell (3:35 PM)
Hi John: Btw, thanks for reading. I think ultimately for him, the consecutive wear and tear is making itself known and he's breaking down - it's not a quesiton of if, but when. Once again we have no firmpredictability with these things. He wants to pitch well, it's a contract year. He will try. But how well the elbow holds up is anyone's guess. I'm rating him as a riskier prospect this year compared to last.
Cowboy Mike (Calgary,Canada)
I know you touched on BJ Upton, but... Can I have some more? Mostly wondering about his power for the 2009 season?
Stephania Bell (3:37 PM)
Mike: I think Upton's power numbers will come back big...but it may take a few weeks to get there. He's still working out a little stiffness in the shoulder, not uncommon after his injury, but you know he's got more confidence now since he's been able to swing and miss without any problem(something that caused him pain last year and affected his hitting). Now of course we want him to swing and connect...but he will, just give him a little bit.
Anthony (Ridgewood, NY)
Stephania - follow up on Ervin Santana, but more a question about medical terminology. The Angels website keeps referring to his injury as a sprained UCL. You just said it is partially torn. Is that technically the same thing?
Stephania Bell (3:37 PM)
Anthony: Yes, good question. A sprain is a tear - just a matter of degree. But yes, same thing.
How is Joe Mauer's injury coming along? Are you guessing an April return for him?
Stephania Bell (3:40 PM)
Hi Jeff: I really don't think we know. ALl we've heard is that he feels better with the new medication (don't know what it is), but he really hasn't tested it a lot. The real test will be when he's running, hitting and catching -and then seeing how he feels the next day. I certainly hope that they're able to get this under control, but I also think there's more to the story than the Twins have let on.
Hi Stephania, GREAT, informative chat! Howabout going out on a prognosticative limb and recommend a couple of your favorite buy low presently hampered players that should return to full strength? Thank you.
Stephania Bell (3:44 PM)
Debbie: Love having a woman in the house...and thank you. I don't have many - and I think I've mentioned the ones I would take a chance on - namely Smoltz, Escobar. If I think of another, I'll post it.
Stu (New York, NY)
Stephania - the news on Duchscherer's surgery seemed pretty positive. Do you hear anything different or does a May return sound reasonable to you?
Stephania Bell (3:46 PM)
Hi Stu: I know but keep in mind that these things always are spun in the most positive way - and I understand that, for the player's mindset going forward. There is a very reasonable chance that Duchscherer comes back and is productive- -but I think in the long-term there are some bigger issues here. I have concerns about his overall elbow stability which could have set him up for these symptoms. Even when they say "no structural damage" it doesn't mean everything looks picture perfect, it just means there's nothing glaring to fix. So while I'm hopeful for him in the short-term, I'm not overly confident in the big picture.
Hey Stephania - what's your take on guys like Nick Johnson who are always injured (and the injuries are rarely repeats)?
Stephania Bell (3:48 PM)
John: Now that guy has had some serious bad luck, like unbelievably bad. His injuries are so random and so all over the map, that it's hard to say otherwise. I suppose you could speculate that his "tissue" is inherently a little weaker since he seems to get the major injuries more than most, and also he was a slow healer with that leg, but it's not the same as the guy with tendinitis that keeps flaring up. You have to at least be rooting for this guy that he gets through the year.
King Felix going to be fine his next turn on the hill?
Stephania Bell (3:50 PM)
Kyle: Good question. Sounds like his ankle was really bothering him after the game. But he insisted that he'd make the next start. And since he hurt it in the first but was able to pitch as well as he did, I'd say it's not terribly worrisome.
Follow up on Upton. So his power returns... Does that mean you'd trade Morneau for BJ?
Stephania Bell (3:53 PM)
Gus: You know, I just might. Lots of back probs up in Minnesota and Morneau has been amazingly healthy (which means I'm worried that this could signal the beginning of something). I think I'd take Upton, coming in nice and fresh.
Big Mike (BAHSTON)
Hello Stephania, First off, love your work btw...keep it up. What are your thoughts on Big Papi this year? Is that wrist fully healed? Hoping for a nice bounce-back year from him...
Stephania Bell (3:54 PM)
Thanks Big Mike. I think Big Papi defies the naysayers and has a great year. Maybe it's just b/c I like him so much. But I'd like to think I'm being objective in that he's had an offseason of rest AND he lost a bunch of weight, which always helps the knees. I think he's been frustrated by his performance recently and you'll see him take it out on the ball.
Dan (Bridgewater, NJ)
Do you think Troy Percival is 100%?
Stephania Bell (3:57 PM)
Dan: I'm not inclined to think that Percival is ever 100% - but I think he plays through most of his aches and pains. Unless it's something serious enough to keep him out of the lineup (and I don't think his back is right now), then I'm not too worried.
Will Randy Johnson hold up all year for your Giants?
Stephania Bell (3:57 PM)
NicK I can only hope, I can only hope. Actually the word all around is that he looks pretty darn good, especially for being 100 in pitching years.
holly (st kitts)
during the broadcast of bal/nyy yesterday, joe and jon said melvin mora was running kinda odd, maybe he had a leg problem, looks like something is bothering. have you heard anything on mora? thanks bubbie
Stephania Bell (3:59 PM)
Holly: you know, he's had a sore left hamstring headed into the season. I didn't see the game so I can't speak to it, but I haven't heard any follow-up on him. It's possible that the leg is still bothering him a bit and causing him to favor it - but sorry I can't say for sure.
Takashi Saito - thoughts?
Stephania Bell (4:00 PM)
Dan: I think he's over the elbow problems of last year. He feels healthy and once they sort out how they're going to use thier mix of guys, I expect him to be productive.
Stephania Bell (4:01 PM)
OK everyone: Time for me to go. Thanks so much for joining today. This will be the slot for the weekly injury chat going forward, so I hope to see you all back in the coming weeks. Good luck with your fantasy teams!!!