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August 8, 12:59 PM ET
Fantasy league injuries w/Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:04 AM)

Good morning to everyone -welcome to the Friday injury chat. Greetings from Denver today. Hope everyone out there is healthy -- we know not all of the athletes are, so we get to your injury questions...

Brad (Gadsden,Alabama)

Should I drop Travis Hafner? Is he comeing back?

Stephania Bell
  (11:07 AM)

Hi Brad: This seems to be a question every week - and it's reasonable to keep asking bc it changes every week. We never have been told anything other than that Hafner had a shoulder strain, but it must have been pretty significant to keep him out since 5/30., He was most recently tested at 75% strength (compared to his other arm, which to me, places him even a little lower) and has been cleared to do some soft-toss drills. But this is a guy you wnat back hitting power at DH, clearly still a ways awayy. No one will say for sure whether he comes back this year - I don't think there can be any certainty, but I would look elsewhere.

Victor (NH)

Starphania, how is Todd Jones coming along from his shoulder injury? When will he be back and do you think he regains the closer role?

Stephania Bell
  (11:10 AM)

Hi Victor: Jones, placed on DL with tendinitis in his rotator cuff, is expected to resume throwing today. He is eligible to come off the DL 8/15 and he hopes to pitch that day, but obviously needs to see how he feels (and how he performs) once he starts throwing. Obviously no one has jumped in to be an effective closer in his absence, so the door is wide open for him.

Tony (Minneap)

Hey Star, Obviously, I've found a solid replacement, but do you expect much out of Victor Martinez this year? Out of the Box says he's beginning to rehab this week.

Stephania Bell
  (11:11 AM)

Hi Tony: Yes, it does appear that Martinez will begin a rehab assignment in the next week. He ran the bases Monday (which was a good sign b/c he had a hamstring strain too) and he also threw to all the bases, a good test for his elbow. Apparently his elbow feels good -so these are good signs.

Mike, Clovis California

Is it possible that Furcal will be able to come back and play at the MLB level September 1?

Stephania Bell
  (11:15 AM)

Hi Mike (and all the other Furcal inquirers): It's interesting here. Furcal says he'd like to come back around 9/1. As of mid-July, pain was no longer really an issue, he only had soreness at the surgery site, no more leg pain (which would be the goal of surgery), but Furcal is off in Arizona getting strong. Back surgeries are not clear fixes - and although the offending disc may have been removed, it becomes more important than ever that he increases his core muscle strength and gains his flexibility back to prevent a recurrence - which remains a possibility, although unlikely so soon after surgery. He also becomes a free agent after this year - so he has some incentive to get on the field and show that he is good and healthy. I think even if he comes back he'll be rusty, and it's still too early to project his return with any sort of certainty.

Lew (NY, NY)

What's the word on Jerry Hairston and his lingering hammy?

Stephania Bell
  (11:18 AM)

Well, never good when you aggravate the same thing your first night back (which was last Friday). But - he did say it cramped and wasn't as bad as the original, which is why it seems the team has not sent him back to the DL. He did some running drills Thursday but still sounded like he was a few days away from returning at best. So - sounds like they hope to have him back next week - but if he does not respond over the weekend (i.e. improve in activity tolerance), don't be surprised if they send him for another DL stint. The tricky hamstring - always a problem with recurrence.

Jenny (Philly)

Hey Stephania - give some love to the chick in first place in her league, yep that's me!! Love your stuff, but I am wondering about Brad Penny. He is coming back tonight for LA. How is he looking with the injury, is he safe to start and what about for the rest of the season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:21 AM)

Hi Jenny: Congratulations!! I am not doing nearly as well as you are in my fantasy baseball league - so I am happy to hear that you are. Penny actually looked quite good in his last rehab outing, hitting 98 on the radar gun, more importantly not giving up too much and feeling fine after his performance. And yes, although it pains me to say it b/c it is the Dodgers against my beloved Giants, Penny looks to be a safe start against the Giants. They have brought him along slowly. My expectation is that he's back for good - they will keep an eye on how many pitches he throws so as not to overwork him too soon.

Paul, New York NY

Starphania - Please give me good news on Joba's injury. I've heard that its the kind of injury that can worsen into serious rotator cuff problems but that it doesn't always happen. Is his case one that is more likely to develop into something requiring major surgery? Do you think the Yanks likely shut him down to prevent that? Thanks and please come back to the podcast soon because the show is maybe half as good without you if that.

Stephania Bell
  (11:26 AM)

Hi Paul: Lots of inquiries about Joba today as well. Rotator cuff tendinitis is such a generic term that it is hard to gauge the severity (which can be highly variable) without clinically examining the athlete. Tendinitis means there is some inflammation, which can result from overwork, and you have to keep in mind that he has undergone a transformation this year into a starter from being a reliever. Different frequencies of pitches, total numbers, etc - and the body has to make an adjustment - sometimes it reacts as it appears to have in his case. I think the second opinion from Andrews was precuationary -more to confirm that everyone was on the same page about next steps as opposed to a grave concern that there was something radically wrong. They're talking about him resting a week (settle the inflammation), then gradually resuming throwing. They will assess how he responds at each step to ensure they do not set him back further - but I believe they got it early and pulled him to avoid seirous consequences. I don't think they shut him down.

Stephen (DC)

David Murphy recently hit the DL with a sprained knee. What's the prognosis? He's been productive so far, but if he's going to be out a month, I think he might be droppable. What do you think?

Stephania Bell
  (11:29 AM)

Hi Stephen: It's an interesting question b/c of the specific injury that he had. He strained his psoterior cruciate, which like the ACL, contributes to overall knee stability. A month is probably a reasonable amount, but these can be problematic, depending on the degree of injury. He's got to be able to run - but more challenging slide, dive, etc without any apprehension. Might take longer. So given total time left in the season - I would shop around.

Tim (DC)

What's the best case scenario on Erik Bedard? I'm on the verge of cutting bait, but dropping your 3rd round draft choice isn't easy!

Stephania Bell
  (11:33 AM)

Tim: I feel your pain., I put up big $$ for Bedard in an auction league and have been furstrated all year as a result. But I still believe what I've been saying for the past couple of months. I don't like the fact that Bedard has had so many musculoskeletal injuries (hip/back/shoulder) all in one year. Now he supposedly played catch without discomfort this past week, but that was just his first time picking up a ball in a month, there is a long way between that and pitching. The "Best" case scenario is that he makes some type of return in September -and that is the best case. I'm not buying it for this year. They will rehab him with that goal and not shut him down - but I'm not convinced that he meets the targets.

Stephania Bell
  (11:36 AM)

Point of clarification people so I don't get any more angry posts: Sprain is what happens to a ligament. Strain is what happens to muscle and tendon. Typos are what happen when you try to type out answers and information quickly - unfortunately that typo also creates an inaccuracy - so for the record, that is how they should be reported...

Scott, Groton CT

Mike Lowell- he's a gritty gamer, and that sore hip surely has him slumping, but chances he'll return to form with that cortisone shot now?

Stephania Bell
  (11:38 AM)

Scott: Persistence pays off. Lowell is gritty - which is why he'll likely just inhale deeply and deal with the pain throughout the season. The cortisone injection may have afforded him some temporary relief but this has been bothering him for well over a month and the expectation is that it will continue to do so for the remainder of the year. It's going to be a test of managing it, and hopefully between the treatment and giving him intermittent days off it will help, but I don't see him in top form for the duration.

Mike

Hey Stephania, Whats the word on Harang the arm looks to be fine right?

Stephania Bell
  (11:41 AM)

Hi Mike: Sounds like his forearm is feeling good. He had a solid rehab outing and is expected to rejoin the rotation Sunday. He has really not felt anything in over a week and has had good throwing sessions, so it would appear that he is a safe start.

Brandon (Nashville)

What big name football player do you think you'll jinx this season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:42 AM)

Oooooh Brandon: I'm not cursing anyone this year. I've decided that this year it's going to be the opposite and anyone I mention will be healthy!! (I hope)

Rob, Boston

Chipper..will his hammy hold up.. what can we expect the rest of the year from him production wise even if his hammy continues to nag him?

Stephania Bell
  (11:45 AM)

Hi Rob: Chipper has been able be amazingly productive despite the nagging quad. With the addition of the hamstring I definitely think it slows him down overall, maybe making it harder to extend a single into a double. But I believe he'll find a way to stay productive at the plate. I don't think those muscle injuries really recover until he hits the offseason.

Andrew (DC)

What's the good word on LaRoche? Guy's always been a 2nd half stud and I picked him up just before he was DLed. Thoughts on a return date and expectations after? He's got his little bro on the opposite corner now, so he's gotta want to show him up!

Stephania Bell
  (11:49 AM)

Hi Andrew (and Joe in Boston): It's a little tough to project b/c the Pirates really aren't giving any clue as to timetable. He's eligible to return 8/12 and he's said he wants to come back right then, and he's even more excited now that his brother is there - all the more reason the Pirates want to be sure he's not rushing. The muscle injury was hurting him with rotation - the question will be as he approaches attempting to swing with full power, can he do it without pain and can he swing hard? These injuries are so variable in terms of whether they resolve quickly or linger, that without more details from the team, it's hard to project. I would like to think the family thing adds a little motivation, but I would say don't count on him 8/12, add another week.

Jim (Syracuse)

Billy Wagner - please give me some good news. I've been thinking of trading for him to add some save down the stretch. Is his forearm likely to bark again before the end of the fantasy season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:52 AM)

Hi Jim: Might be a good trade if you can make it. He's had issues with the shoulder, now the forearm, and there are certain pitches he can't throw b/c of his discomfort. I don't like seeing someone dealing with problems in different areas of the same limb (esp when it's your throwing arm), b/c usually that spells a bbigger problem, one that will likely be more completely addressed in an offseason. In other words, I would not expect him to be 100% for the duration.

Mark (Akron)

A lot of NFL Players with Hamstring or Goin Issues: Bouldin,Rudi,TJ Housz, A.Johnson,V.Jackson,Galloway and others. With our Fantsy Draft coming up ...should you stay away from these type of players or will they be OK???

Stephania Bell
  (11:56 AM)

Hi Mark: I wanted to bring an NFL question in - but it's a bigger question than I can really give a good answer for here. You're right - there are a lot of these muscle strains (groin, hammy) and it's not a total surprise to see them in camp as guys are working harder, they get fatigued, easier to see it happen. But there is such a wide range of severity that it's hard to say "Stay away from everyone with a strain." I would say look at the player, how much do they really miss in camp, have they had a number of muscle strains in the past that have forced missed time (that trend can be a big hint), or is this just a minor setback and the team, in an effort to protect their commodities for the season, decides to hold them back so as not to risk a bigger loss for the season. Hope that helps a little.

Chad TN

So, this Peyton Manning guy, heard of him? How's he doing and will he start and be useful for WK 1 of the regular season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:58 AM)

Hi Chad: I think I've heard of him. The best news the Colts got this week was that the infection Peyton was dealing with has been cleared. This presented the biggest risk. Now he can progrssively increase his activity and get back to business. They are targeting an 8/24 return - and I expect him to be 100 percent fine.

ben (chicago)

rick ankiel and milton bradley!!! will they be playing regularly anytime soon>

Stephania Bell
  (12:00 PM)

Hi Ben: Ankiel may play this weekend. His abdominal strain was keeping him from running, but in the last few days he has been able to run pretty well. Still, he may serve as a pinch hitter so he doesn't have to track down balls in the outfield or hurl them in as he is known to do. Bradley is also expected to play some this weekend - but I think he is a more definite case for next week.

Jay (Chicago)

Thoughts on Wainwright?

Stephania Bell
  (12:02 PM)

Hi jay: Well, he is headed for a rehab assignment - and I think he has at least a week there. If all goes well, perhaps you see him back with the Cards in another week or so - may be as a reliever - that still has to play out. The good news is that he has had some excellent throwing sessions and feels like he is throwing at 100% without restriction. Good news for the Cards however they decide to use him.

Stephania Bell
  (12:03 PM)

OK - time for me to go. Thanks for coming to the injury chat - and we will definitely see you same place, same time next week!! Have a healthy and happy weekend.