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May 16, 1:39 PM ET
Fantasy league injuries w/Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:02 AM)

Happy Friday everyone - welcome to the injury chat. Seems like the muscle strains are the biggest problem in baseball right now with a few odd broken bones and torn tendon sheaths thrown in. Let's get to your questions....

Ryan (PA)

Hi Stephania, thanks for the chats. I just traded away Utley and could really use Kendrick back. What is the latest on him?

Stephania Bell
  (11:05 AM)

Hi Ryan: Thanks for coming. Well, I wish I could give you the bottom line on Kendrick's timetable but it appears that it doesn't even really exist at this point. I talked with the Angels earlier in the week and they sounded encouraged that he really is having mostly tightness at this point as opposed to pain. He is doing some light agility drills, but he has not formally re-started his rehab stint since he aggravated the hamstring a while back. This is the most day-to-day situation in baseball I think and it could still be a couple weeks (my guess) before he returns, presuming no additional setback.

Brad (Philly)

Hey Stephania, if the TMR were a muscle strain, would he be a grade 1, 2, or 3?

Stephania Bell
  (11:06 AM)

Brad: Great question - He would be a 3 without a doubt. Complete, done for the season.

Ryan(NJ)

Should Furcal owners be overly concerned about his injuty lingering throughout the year?

Stephania Bell
  (11:08 AM)

Hi Ryan: Whenever there's a back problem, you always worry about it coming back. Remember he had some back problems in September of last year that hampered him a bit so this is not the first time. He got a cortisone shot which he reported "hit the spot" so if it truly calms the inflammation, he could be good to go when eligible next Wednesday. Yes, it may crop up again, but it's not enough of a threat to make me want to trade him away.

Jay (LA)

Please tell me that Howie's teammate won't be day-to-day for the next few months, as Howie has been.

Stephania Bell
  (11:09 AM)

Jay: Figgins is doing light jogging and appears to be in much better shape with his situation than Kendrick.

Dan (Bridgewater, NJ)

Will Smoltz be in and out this year or will he be completely healthy as a closer when he returns?

Stephania Bell
  (11:11 AM)

Dan: It's a great question but there's no way of knowing for sure, especially when you're dealing with an aging shoulder in a pitcher. The key will be keeping the inflammation away. To answer your question - that shoulder will never truly be completely healthy, but it ought to be functional for a closer. The shorter appearances will probably be better tolerated than trying to go deeper into a game as a starter.

Tom (SoCal)

Hi Stephania, Is Chipper's grion injury a concern, Should I try and trade him for David Wright?

Stephania Bell
  (11:12 AM)

Hi Tom: I think this injury is not particularly serious for Chipper. He himself says it's no big deal and expects to play today. The thing with him is he's going to miss a game or two or three here and there with various muscle strains and ligament sprains, but so far none appear to be anything to worry about. And when he's in, which is most of the time, he's too valuable to unload.

Tim (DC)

Good morning Stephania! Please tell me, is Sheff done? I know he's old, but the man was born to hit. Will he get it together or is the shoulder going to be too much to deal with? Thanks

Stephania Bell
  (11:14 AM)

Hi Tim: I'm wondering about Sheff too. I talked with him in spring training and he said he felt so good, he looked like he was ready to go, he was hitting well, that I was surprised when all of these problems began cropping up. I am concerned that the soreness has been lingering around for this long. I'm hopeful that h can work through it, but if it does not improve within the next 2-3 weeks, I'm starting to think it will at least bother him throughout the season.

James (West Windsor, NJ)

What happenned to Santiago Casilla yesterday? Do you have any news?

Stephania Bell
  (11:18 AM)

Hi James: Lots of Casilla questions. For everyone asking, it is too soon to know the extent of the injury. Casilla is being evaluated further today so we can hope for some news later this afternoon, but him leaving the game "clutching his forearm" as it was described on the A's site and him saying it didn't feel too good in his elbow does not bode well.

Patrick (Arlington, VA)

I heard Jeff Keppinger is going to be out 5 weeks with that kneecap- what's your take on that number and what's the real timeframe before he'll actually be out and play well again? Also is there possibly any injury concerns with Nate Ravitz that could be the cause of his horrible baseketball defense against the TMR?

Stephania Bell
  (11:21 AM)

Hey Patrick: Keppinger's timetable sounds reasonable at this point. The range is broad on fractured patellas (kneecaps) depending on the extent of the fracture, etc. If it was more severe it could require surgery. His was more of a crack, so they just have to make sure he rests his quad enough (which when it contracts puts tension force across the kneecap) to allow the bone to heal. My big concern coming out of this injury is how stiff will he be, how tight will his quad be and how long will it take to get that back to playing form. A projection now of 5 weeks is a good estimate, but don't be surprised if another couple weeks gets tacked on. Oh - and there's not enough space to go on as I could about all of the injuries that Nate Ravitz has to deal with...

bill(florida)

Hi Stephania, always enjoy your chats. Do you think there is any chance that gallardo comes back this year? thx.

Stephania Bell
  (11:22 AM)

Hi Bill - and thank you: No. I really think Gallardo is done. It's an ACL reconstruction and 6 months would be the earliest he would likely return. So I really don't see it happening.

Earl: (Bloomsburg, PA)

Good morning Steph, love your once a week chats because they offer the medical insight. With that in mind, will Mark Mulder ever be an ace again? What are realistic expectations for him this season and the rest of his career?

Stephania Bell
  (11:25 AM)

Hi Earl: Thanks for the feedback. Mulder had a minor setback - what they're calling fatigue in his rotator cuff - but keep in mind, this is his second shoulder surgery. He still thinks he'll be back by All-Star Break. The team isn't willing to quite guarantee that and rightfully so. I think he will be back this year - but after two surgeries, the shoulder is definitely more at risk than previously. Very hard to project out his future. Some guys who have had terrible looking shoulders in surgery actually come out and perform extremely well for another season or even a few. But you just have to know that they are higher risk.

kyle (Athens, GA)

Bedard safe to trade for at this point?

Stephania Bell
  (11:27 AM)

Kyle: I'm no convinced that Bedard's hip problems are 100 percent behind him. But that being said, he's back and not complaining of anything right now. So - he appears to be in good shape right now - but you take a bit of risk, not a lot I don't believe, but a bit.

Mike (West Lafayette, IN)

Is Chris Carpenter coming back after the AS break? Would he be worth picking up and stashing?

Stephania Bell
  (11:29 AM)

Hi Mike: I think if you have the room on your bench, he might be worth a pickup. He is still on track to return after the All-Star Break (may be later in the month or early August). The thing to remember is that these guys don't usually produce fantastic numbers right away. They may be solid, but not spectacular. But he should continue to improve as the season goes on.

Sammy (Dominican Republic)

Hello Stephania. I love Albert Pujols and heard from a friend that he may have surgery on his elbow if the Cardinals slip out of contention. Is there any truth to this? How is he doing?

Stephania Bell
  (11:32 AM)

Hi Sammy: Well, that was the thought - including my own - as we entered the season. Pujols ligament is not entirely healthy, and it could give out on him at any point, or he could develop enough inflammation to limit his play. To that end, the Cardinals planned to rest him more on a regular basis this season - but he hasn't rested yet! They do plan to give him Monday off - proactivelt, not b/c he's hurting, but they have to be concerned that they could easily overload him. So far he's holding up better than expected, but he remains at risk of a major setback - it's just unpredictable.

Jason (Atlanta)

Stephania, are you impressed with how B.J. Ryan has recovered and pitched this season? Is it somewhat safe to assume the injury woes are behind him?

Stephania Bell
  (11:34 AM)

Hi Jason: Yes, I am. His rehab went exceptionally well, with really only one setback near the end which is what we call a "typical" setback in the world of TJ surgery (muscle soreness). He was ahead of schedule anyway so when he returned he was really right on time. He is pitching well, and as a closer, has a better chance to be effective more quickly than a starter. Now pitching back to back days, so I think it's safe to assume he's fully healed.

Jon (Boston, MA)

Hi Stephania. The word on the street is that Arod is 95% and joining the team on Tuesday. Care to elaborate? I know you thought the injury was more serious, right?

Stephania Bell
  (11:38 AM)

Hi Jon: Good question. A-Rod is running at 95 percent - that's the percent. Meaning he is almost going full out, and he did run the bases which is more challenging b/c of acceleration/deceleration and turning, than running straight line. The repeat MRI showed healing, but incomplete healing, meaning that even if he feels good, he may not truly be 100% when he returns. We normally gauge return to play by how the athlete is feeling and what they can do functionally, so his tuesday return estimate fits with what he's been doing. I do think re-injury remains a bit of a possibility, but that's just the nature of the ebast. His rehab progression from the outside looking in appears to be very appropriate - and unless he's hiding any discomfort (which I doubt, but the team depends on a player's feedback to evaluate the progress), than he is being moved along at a good pace.

Josh (Toronto, Canada)

Stephania, I (like many other roto-players) lost Vernon Wells to his wrist injury which he suffered. I know reports say he'll be out anywhere from 6-8 weeks, will this be something that he can come back from and produce like he was before he got injured? I'm really afraid that this is going to affect his swing, and in turn affect his power numbers.

Stephania Bell
  (11:41 AM)

Hi Josh: It's a totally reasonable concern. We see a lot of players coming back from wrist/hand/finger injuries and struggling with power at the plate b/c they are still not 100% in their grip. The big key for Wells will be how quickly he regains his range of motion when he gets out of the cast. Expect 4-6 weeks casted - the faster the bone heals, the less time in the cast, the quicker he gets his motion back and the less chance of complication. I would set 8 weeks as my bar of about when I would expect him to be back and swinging the bat decently, but of course, his situation is one you have to monitor b/c of all the variables that aren't yet known.

Jeff (MD)

Stephina, what kind of performance do you expect from Jason Schmidt and when do foresee his return to the Dodgers rotation, Thanks

Stephania Bell
  (11:45 AM)

Hi Jeff: My concern with Shcmidt is that he's another pitcher with a second shoulder surgery, so you know that the shoulder cannot really be 100% healthy. My other concern is that he has been up and down throughout his rehab, at one point feeling very uncertain, then confident, then in between. Now the latest news is pretty good. Some minor league appearances, no reported pain and he is scheduled to make another Saturday - perhaps putting him back with the Dodgers at some point in June (assuming no setbacks) - but he is topping out his fastball at about 88 mph, and it will be interesting to see if he can get velocity back, as that was what was a big problem for him before he went out last year. I am hopeful for him, but not expecting too much.

Jason (Atlanta)

Stephania, thanks for the first answer. Is there a recent update to the status of Josh Willingham?

Stephania Bell
  (11:48 AM)

Hi jason: yes, lots of Willingham questions. My last information is that he experienced a setback while taking batting practice this week and the Marlins are now being cautious because they certainly don't want to rush him back too soon. There has not been a lot of info as to the details related to his back (no major info off the MRI), but we do know he's had problems before (not a good sign) so he may be up and down for a bit.

Dan (Silver Spring)

Good Morning. Any updates on Tulowitzki's rehab? Is there a timetable for his return and what can we expect from him in terms of performance? Thanks.

Stephania Bell
  (11:53 AM)

Dan: There just isn't much because it's too soon for this major of an injury. The good news: He can walk without a limp, he has been doing pool exercises and now just added some quad strengthening exercises. But this is all really early. It's at the minimum a six week injury - and you have to go from tissue healing, gradual strengthening etc (which is at least 4 weeks) to beginning to test the quad under increased load. Remember it was an explosive movement that caused it to fail, so you're not going to potentially see too much until he gets closer to high level activity. Just know that it will be at least 6 weeks. That's all that can be said with a fair degree of certainty right now. And to address the last part, if he heals adequately I expect him to perform at the same level. Rush him back, and there will be problems.

Matt (Atlanta)

Any news on the rehab of Mike Gonzalez? We really need some help with our relief pitching down here.

Stephania Bell
  (11:54 AM)

Gonzalez had been doing pretty well (coming back from TJ surgery) but felt tightness in his elbow in his last extended sprg trg game which pushed him back in his timetable a bit. Think June.

Tim(Clearwater, FL)

Hi Stephania, sorry for so many posts just want to have this question answered real quick. Do you think that B.J. Upton's recent struggle are from his shoulder injury suffered a couple of weeks ago?

Stephania Bell
  (11:57 AM)

Hi Tim: It's OK - sometimes you have to post a few b/c so many questions are coming in. It's a good question b/c that type of pain in the shoulder can affect the freedom of the swing for sure. And Upton seemed to indicate that he stillw as uncomfortable upon his return (went 0-for-3 that day). I do think he is gradually feeling better, I don't think it's the whole picture, but it is reasonable that it has been a factor. I see this working itself out though and not being a problem for long - unless he has a big swing and a miss and really aggravates it.

Tim (nyc)

Hi Stephina, Doumit's thumb injury... could you give us more details.

Stephania Bell
  (12:02 PM)

Hi Tim: Doumit has a fractured thumb and is expected to miss at least a month. It sounds like the fracture was at the tip, not near the joint, which is better in terms of prognosis for overall healing and less complications as he tries to return.It's not his throwing hand, so it's the better of the two, but since he's a catcher, it's more problematic for his glove hand than it would be for another position player. The question will be, as it is with all fractures, once the bone heals, how long does it take to get the range of motion and strength back. This is the variable that is different across players and that we can't project right now. Assume a couple of weeks tacked onto the four, but then monitor closely (and we will of course) as the rehab actually begins for clues as to how he's progressing.

Mike (St. Paul)

Stephania, good afternoon! Real quick, is Baker's injury going to be the nagging type? Should his owners (and fans) beware?

Stephania Bell
  (12:05 PM)

Hey Mike: beware is a good word - it could be nagging. He's already been a little up and down with it. Sounds like abroken record, but it all depends on how he's brought back. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen Thursday, if all goes well he then might go to the minors. But he's still in the wait-and-see-how-it-feels category. Unpredictable. I think you can count on at least two to three weeks. No guarantee on whether it recurs.

Stephania Bell
  (12:05 PM)

OK - it's time for me to go. Thanks so much for all the great questions. Please come back next Friday with more! Have a great weekend...