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June 6, 12:21 PM ET
Fantasy league injuries w/Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:03 AM)

Good morning everyone! Well - after a week of vacationing in Mexico I thought the injuries would have taken a break as well - apparently not. So we might as well start chatting about them...

Blake (Sioux City, IA)

Hi Stephania, what's going on with Ankiel's knees?

Stephania Bell
  (11:06 AM)

Hi Blake in Sioux City (love the name of that town): Ankiel has an apparent infection in his right knee. They think it's related to the diving catch he made on the warning track Saturday, but whatever the origin, these things need to be treated seriously as they can become extremely problematic. He'll be put on antibiotics but as of now, the team is not sure when he'll be available.

nick (sf)

did Manny really leave with an injury or because it was 7-1? He ran off the field, but Sportscenter tried to make it sound like he hurt himself. thoughts?

Stephania Bell
  (11:09 AM)

Reports are that Manny had strained his hamstring mildly during a checked swing in the 7th. To aovid a major problem, since the Red Sox were comfortbaly ahead, they took him out. Doesn't sound like a big deal at this point, but there was something to his departure.

mark nyc

Is this a good time to pick up Hawpe as a free agent? How is hisprognosis for recovery?

Stephania Bell
  (11:11 AM)

Hey Mark: It might not be a bad idea. Hawpe apparently thinks he's ready to come off the DL now and has been faring well in Triple-A. The team might want him to ride out the weekend in Triple-A but it looks like he'll be coming back soon so you can get a head start.

Pete (Tacoma, WA)

What's the prognosis for Ryan Zimmerman's partial labrum tear in his non-throwing shoulder? That sounds like a tougher injury than at first glance, since a third-baseman needs to extend his arm to make diving stops to his left with some frequency. Will it also affect his swing?

Stephania Bell
  (11:14 AM)

Hi Pete: Great question and observations. You hit the nail on the head. A tear in the labrum can cause a painful catching in the shoulder as the humerus (arm bone) moves relative to the torn flap or if the biceps contracts and pulls on it. It can also create a feeling of instability especially on the back end of the swing. I will say though that there is precedent for players to play through the season with partial labral tears as long as it calms down enough to allow them to function and then they can surgically address if needed during the offseason. Right now he will likely get injections, rest, then see how he does trying to return.

Dave (Sioux City, NE)

Stephania, where's the spin on Ortiz?? I haven't seen any article or comment by I missing something?? If not, then can you please speak about his injury, what it means, what should be expected for the rest of the season, and if you would take a chance and buy low on him in a keeper league?? Thank you Stephania!

Stephania Bell
  (11:19 AM)

Hi Dave: You're right! I was in Mexico for 10 days on vacation - so my blog has been on a little hiatus. But it will return by tomorrow and I have a detailed bit on Ortiz prepared. That being said, I will tell you here, yes, take the chance. This injury is not nearly as severe as what it could have been. the normal treatment for this is rest and immobilization, and he is in a cast now for 2-3 weeks (normally it's about 4 but an athlete can be slightly less). Hopefully that allows the tissue to heal enough that he returns without incident. If it doesn't, surgery is always an option but it is rarely needed, so I would be willing to take the gamble. And - it likely will not have much impact on his swing if it heals well b/c the immobilization is not that long, and where the tissue attaches should not make it a problem.

John (White Plains, NY)

Jason Isringhausen isn't on the DL really because of a lcaeration right? What is his real problem and will it be corrected to the point where he can regain the closer role? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (11:22 AM)

Hi John: Well, he is really listed on the DL b/c of a laceration - and I have to acknowledge that without seeing the injury, it's hard to say how bad it really was. But he did manage to pitch once AFTER he cut the hand, so it sure seemed like it couldn't have been that bad. You remember I'm sure that he was struggling mightily and that the laceration came out of frustration (when he swatted at a TV). The DL time allows him to "heal" and to get himself together as a closer. He does have a chronically arthritic hip and although he "manages'" that, it has not really given him significant problems lately.

Wes (North CA)

FURCAL! How frustrating! I asked you a couple weeks ago and you said he would probably be back soon. Funny thing I was thinking the same thing. Now this is dragging to a month with no end in sight. Any new news?

Stephania Bell
  (11:25 AM)

Wes: I KNOW!! I thought he would be and he was actually scheduled to return to the lineup, but the day before he was activated he woke up with "stiffness" and they decided to hold off, especially b/c the team was going on a road trip and they didn't want him flying across country to potentially make the back even worse. The latest reports I've seen are that he has been taking swings, throwing as well, but the team has not given any official return date. If there's any silver lining, it's that hopefully once back he will not be rushing right out to the DL again. Back problems are notoriously annoying this way, kind of like the hamstring strain. Very up and down.

Steve (Mass)

Any insight on the Pierce injury? I know this is titled Fantasy chat...but its also linked from the NBA page.

Stephania Bell
  (11:29 AM)

Hi Steve: All injury questions are welcome - and Pierce's is certainly one that folks are talking about. I will tell you that I wrote a detailed piece on him that should be posted with a link to the NBA page shortly. But in brief, it sounds like he injured the meniscus (Pierce said in a post-game news conference that the MD told him he had a strained meniscus) and it did not appear too serious since he was able to return. The big potential problems come today - have to see how much the knee swells and stiffens as that will then present the challenge for him being able to play Sunday. If he can get by without much swelling and if the injury to the tissue is relatively minor then he should be able to go Sunday.

Chris (Brooklyn)

The great secret of our time - what's the prognosis for Chris Young of the fractured skull? Psychological issues aside, how long after surgery and healing before he can even toe the rubber again?

Stephania Bell
  (11:37 AM)

Hi Chris: Well, when the injury first happened and was reported as a laceration and abroken nose, I wrote in my blog that he was lucky b/c the ball to the face can result in more serious injuries like a skull fracture and/or brain injury. So now we find out that indeed he had a skull fracture. The concern is that the fracture has to fully heal or he is at risk of a brain infection (he does NOT have a brain infection now). The San Diego Union-Tribune reported yesterday that his skull fracture is about 80% healed and that Young hopes to be pitching again somewhere around the All-Star Break. He can't do anything strenuous (although he just resumed some ligh tossing) until the fracture heals and the headaches that he has go away. As long as his breathing is OK, nose surgery can wait until the offseason. The good news is that psychologically it sounds as if he is chomping at the bit, not totally fearful of coming back, although facing live batters is a ways off and may prove to be a little different. I think early July may be ambitious, maybe mid-late July, assuming healing all progresses normally from here.

Mike (The Lou)

Any idea what happend to Jimmy Rollins and why he left the game the other day?

Stephania Bell
  (11:38 AM)

Mike: He got pulled fby Charlie Manuel for not hustling. He even admitted to it. Good news - not injury related, and I bet we don't see it happen twice.

Erik (Overland Park, KS)

Do you know if Jacoby Ellsbury will be available today?

Stephania Bell
  (11:40 AM)

Hi Erik: I once lived in Overland Park :) If you saw Ellsbury, he took a nasty dive where his wrist got folded underneath him. X-rays were negative and the team has him as day-to-day, but I believe he is undergoing an MRI today. No official word as of yet, but I would not be surprised if he is out at least today, even if MRI is clean.

Jimmy (Minn)

Stephania, good to have you back! Speaking of "backs", is Josh Willingham's back going to heal?

Stephania Bell
  (11:46 AM)

Hi Jimmy: Thanks - it's nice to be back. And Willingham's back has a lot of people talking. He has a herniated disc and that is not a problem that just goes away. It's really a matter of keeping the pain and inflammation associated with it under control. There are different degrees of herniation, but it sounds as if Willingham's is not season-threatening given all that he has been able to do. He was swinging from a tee, now swinging with batting coah, all graduated steps, and now hopefully can return to full BP over the weekend or early next week. every new level of difficulty presents a chance for a setback though, especially as he moves faster and torques his spine harder. So be cautiously optimistic, but I would expect he's still more than a week away from returning, maybe two.

Dave ((Wolcott, CT))

What is your take on Carlos Pena's broken finger? It seems like a hitter, particularily a slugger has problems with injuries like this.

Stephania Bell
  (11:52 AM)

Hi Dave (and this is for JB and Wes too): Good point. Pena has a fractured left idex finger after being hit on the hand. It must have been a clean crack, since the projection is now for him to spend the minimum time out on the DL (which would have him back around 6/19). But you're absolutely right. One of the worries is how the player will be able to grip the bat, how well can he bend the finger after iti si immobilized for a period of time and does he have the strength to grip the bat the same way and deliver the same power. He also throws left-handed, but at least at first base, he doesn't have to throw nearly as much as other positions. Also, with his glove hand being his right, that may actually help him. I would be optimistic that his time frame will be what the team is suggesting, but would not be surprised if it challenges him a bit at the plate for a week or so.

john, nyc

So is Chone Figgins gunna be able to steal a bunch of bases when he gets back, or is that hammy going to be a problem all year? Also, are rumors that Conor Jackson is just resting up for lefties @ Pittsburgh true? He's OK?

Stephania Bell
  (11:58 AM)

Hi John: Thanks for being persistent. It's a reasonable question. If we know anything about hamstirng injuries it's that they're hard to heal and always threaten re-injury. And you can bet that after Figgins is now making his second tirp to the DL for this same issue that the team is not going to brimg him back again until they have more confidence. Right now he is with the team and not on a rehab assignment and they won't have him in the lineup until he can run full speed (sprint speed), and base run (so sprint and turn corners). Hopefully then when he comes back he is doing the things we expect, like stealing bases. Doesn't mean unfortunately that it won't resurface again later in the year. Also, for Jackson there has been no word of a setback - but it doesn't hurt to give him a few days of additional rest, especially if Melvin has better options against lefties.

David (Frisco, Texas)

Hey Steph! Same question, same type of injury, different player: What do you think about Byrnes dual hammies issue? Other than his fantasy value taking a huge hit, I wonder if we can count on him even trying to swipe bases this year. Without that component of his game, he seems rather ordinary. If you owned him, would you consider just dropping him? Nobody will trade for him and he is a waste of a roster spot. If he is not going to provide steals, I would rather stream in hot bats than rest injured legs. Your thoughts on his injury status and value? Since he has two torn hammies, is there really any hope for him this year? I know he will return at some point, but what can we really expect from him after such a significant injury?

Stephania Bell
  (12:03 PM)

Hi David: Well if one hamstring problem is bad, two is worse, I'll grant you that. But looking at Byrnes' issues, his MRI revealed small tears, later reported as Grade I (which really are microtears, very mild) - and although they can certainly cause problems, it is not a major disruption of the tissue. Byrnes has sought out some alternative treatments and has been resting and the plan is for him to begin running this weekend. He says his legs feel as good as they have since the winter so I am still willing to believe that he comes back, with his speed, when able. I believe he is eligible to come off the DL on 6/11 and I'm not sure he hits that target, but I don't think he'll be far behind it - likely within that week. Maybe not right away, but I expect him to resume stealing as a part of his game.

Dave (King of Prussia, PA)

Hey Stepahnia, lets end on a positive note. Pedro looked good in his return, did you take anythign away from his return?

Stephania Bell
  (12:07 PM)

Hi Dave: I'm all for ending on a positive note - and I have to say Pedro looked fantsatic. I think what I take away is that the team kept him out for an extended period of time and it served him very well, giving his shoulder some rest along with the leg. I was surprised that they let him go 109 pitches - and I would not expect him to go that deep often (if again this year unless a playoff situation), but I think what it says he can still be incredibly effective, just don't expect him to go six innings every time.

Stephania Bell
  (12:08 PM)

OK everyone - thanks so much. I know I didn't get to all your player questions - but I promise we'll talk about Wells and Thomas either on ESPNews today at 3:50 or in my next blog. Promise! See you next week and thanks so much for all of your awesome questions. Have a great weekend!!!