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April 14, 10:03 AM ET
Fantasy league injuries w/Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (3:01 PM)

Good afternoon Sports Nation: Thanks for stopping by to chat baseball injuries with me. There's certainly plenty of them.....

Zak (Cincy)

Webb is hurt, we are worried, you are informed...

Stephania Bell
  (3:05 PM)

Zak: Love the simplicity of the statement. Webb - I think - looks worse from the outside than the situation really is. We know the insurance company would not insure his arm so he got no contract extension. To me, that's just a sign of the times - and he's a pitcher with some years on him. But he's been durable - and an offseason visit to Andrews basically confirmed that he looks like a pitcher - no unusual reason to worry. This has been mostly stiffness, a subsequent MRI still shows nothing, and I think it's just a slow start for him AND the team wants to be sure that nothing sends him over the edge. He skipped a start - they want to slow him down a bit - sounds like some bursitis - and while I never like to see a guy start out this way, something still tells me not to be that concerned.

Jordan (OH)

Over Under: Joe Mauer return date of May 1? And I appreciate all the work you do Stephania

Stephania Bell
  (3:07 PM)

Jordan: I appreciate you coming to the chat. But this is a no-win answer for me if I wager a guess. Reason? The critical thing for me to make a good guess here is how he responds to running -and that is hwat we still don't know. If he runs (and not once, but a few days in a row, and feels fine afterward), then mid-May is reasonable. But if running bothers him still, then I become very very concerned. they say he's close to trying running, so if you can wait for that, that will be THE key.

Greg (Yorkville) NY

Brad Hawpe? How concerned are you?

Stephania Bell
  (3:09 PM)

Hi Greg: Not too much so yet. He siad it tightened up on him - so they may be cautious - especially since it bothered him in the spring, but not a serious concern (and they don't want it to become one).


Mark Texiera? Worried

Stephania Bell
  (3:09 PM)

Dave: Nope - not yet. He should be in the lineup tonight. Now if he scratches....

David (LA, CA)

Hi Stephania! Got a Lackey update handy? Also, any concern over Jon Lester's bad starts? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (3:14 PM)

Hi David: Lackey still has some discomfort in that elbow so although the team continues to project him for a mid-May return, I want to see him get further through his throwing program before I feel that confident. As far as Lester, I think he's OK - it's been a little rough, but he's still throwing some strilkes. I don't see enough to think injury concern.

Bob (Portland)

Glaus, going to be able to contribute in the second half?

Stephania Bell
  (3:17 PM)

Bob: Big question mark. I think what's really troubling here is that they looked inside his shoulder (when they did the minor offseason surgery) and really saw nothing to address. Other than a very tiny tear which was fixed. But his plateau and persistent discomfort tells me there's something more - maybe with his overall mechanics in his upperback and shoulder...something non-surgical that will have to be corrected to get him to the point of playing. And that takes time. He's in AZ working privately so hopefully they'll get him there, but I think this is going to be a slow road back.

Blake (Indiana)

Hey Stephania, will Chipper be okay with that thumb injury... Or is this a very lingering thing

Stephania Bell
  (3:19 PM)

Blake: Well, he did aggravate it SUnday -but I still think it's minor in the big scheme of things. The problem with Chipper is that you'll deal with these ups and downs across the season and even though typically not major, it's enough to strain your lineup on a day to day basis.

Brian, (Boston)

Got Hamels and Er. Santana....HEEEELP!

Stephania Bell
  (3:21 PM)

Brian: Keep Hamels - he'll be OK. I know the Angels are thinking positive about Santana -but honestly, knowing he's got that partial UCL tear, it's probably just a matter of time...too risky for me

Clark (Los Angeles)

My shoulder hurts, any advice?

Stephania Bell
  (3:21 PM)

Go see a PT Clark - lots of awesome folks in CA!

Jack (ohio)

Thanks for all the useful info it does help! In you opinion how long do we realisticly have to wait for K. Escobar to be back to speed?, and is he going to be more or less of a risk than Smoltz?

Stephania Bell
  (3:24 PM)

Hi Jack: Thanks - glad to know it. I think Escobar's timetable has just been pushed back a couple weeks. Remember he was way ahead of schedule - and these rehab programs always have some cushion built in b/c we expect players to flare up intermittently during their return. Also, the location of his symptoms is less concerning for me. So although the team has backed him off a bit, he still is expected to return in May - which still makes it a little ahead of what they originally thought. So I'm still encouraged. That being said, I like Smoltz the best b/c when he's come back from injury before he's been exceptionally consistent - and I think that will be the case again.

Jack (Seattle)

WIll the bleeding ulcer bother Ichiro all season?

Stephania Bell
  (3:25 PM)

Jack: Shouldn't. His quick return to feeling healthy and the excellent meds they have these days to treat ulcers should make it a non-issue going forward.

Brian (Bal)

Is there any news on Jesse Litch today?

Stephania Bell
  (3:28 PM)

Brian: Have not heard the results of hte MRI yet. To me, this is a concerning situation. You see a pitcher struggle in two starts, He's sore the first time. The second time he's more sore and after a particular pitche exits the game holding his arm against his body. Not good. Prepare for the worst.

Rob (NJ)

What is Smoltz's timetable?

Stephania Bell
  (3:29 PM)

Rob: Sounds like June is the target date for him. So far he's on pace.

Bobbo (NY)

A-rod's recovery seems to be moving along fast but the return date of May 15th still stands...what gives?

Stephania Bell
  (3:31 PM)

Bobbo: No reason to bring him back before then - and May 15th is still very fast for this type of surgery. I know everyone's all excited, but really he hasn't tested the hip with the hard stuff. We need to see him field the slow-rolling bunt while running full speed to approach it, then make a cross-body throw, slide, dive and hit a 95 mph fastball. Then we'll know he's ready - and I don't expect that stuff to happen for a few weeks - at least.

James (NC)

Any word on Duchsherer? Expect him to recover fully?

Stephania Bell
  (3:34 PM)

James: I'm not exceptionally confident here. His latest surgery, although minor, was to address a spur and these often develop in response to some instability within the elbow. So although there's no definitive season-threatening injury to be found, I'm not confident that his elbow is worry-free either.


Hey Stephania! I knew Hank Blalock and Milton Bradley would get hurt at some point this season, but I didn't expect it this early or at the same time. Any insight on their "injuries"?

Stephania Bell
  (3:36 PM)

Naturally it didn't take long for these guys to end up injured. Bradley has a history of soft tissue injuries, so the groin strain is no surprise. They say they think he'll be OK in 3-5 days, but that remains to be seen. Blalock has a history of neck ans shoulder problems so you never like to see something bothering him there that early. Neither one sounds major as far as the injury itself, but both of these players are injury risky.

Hardy (Jacksonville, IL)

Are the injury worries on C. Wang legit? Have you noticed him favoring anything while on the mound? Possibly a change in delivery?

Stephania Bell
  (3:39 PM)

Hardy: you're asking a fair question. I believe that he's recovered from his injury -but what we're seeing is that his pitching hasn't recovered yet. Pitching is such a "feel" thing - that's why we see it take so long for guys to come back to form after TJ surgery. It's all the time away from the act of pitching. Even though Wang's injury was to his foot, it was serious. He has to get the feel of the leg back, the confidence in the leg and then that has to translate to the entire pitching motion - and I think he's just not there yet. The concern here is if an athlete is struggling that he will try to compensate somehow and shift his mechanics and then end up with a legit injury. I think he's mostly rusty and that this will start to turn around.

Chris (Panhandle)

Hey Stephania. This doesn't really impact fantasy much, at least for me, since he's on the fringe of ownership, but is there any news about Cristian Guzman? I was watching the game (unfortunately without the voice of Harry Kalas) and it didn't look too pretty. I read it was a "pop", and usually that's not too good of a sign.

Stephania Bell
  (3:44 PM)

Hi Chris: It's still a good question b/c you often hear about a "pop" with an injury. I will tell you that typically we don't like that -meaning when a ligament tears it often pops, but Guzman had a hamstring injury with a "pop." Sometimes when the tendon tears it pops, and that would represent a more serious injury, but Guzman seemed to think it wasn't that bad. Occasionally they will just tear a little piece and the pop isn't too much of a big deal. It's hard to truly assess in isolation. If a pop is loud, accompanied by a lot of pain and swelling, and functionally the player is limited, it's obviously bad. But sometimes, it represents a smaller tear and the sound is scarier than the injury itself.

The Feldman Brothers (NJ)

Hello Stephania, It must be tough fielding all the calls once you get well known for being a great source of information. Our concern is for Lance Berkman, we read that Bicep Tendonitis usually develops as a result of shoulder or rotator cuff tendonitis and we are concerned for his production this year. We value your thoughts! Jeff & Seth

Stephania Bell
  (3:49 PM)

Jeff and Seth: Two for the price of one! It's true - biceps tendinitis is often associated with bigger shoulder issues - and can be a precursor to a labral injury - especially in a thrower. But you can also get much more minor cases in isolation with someone who's a position player. Although Berkman had some decent symptoms this spring and couldn't get his arm overhead, he seemed to be respinding pretty quickly to treatment. That said, there's always concern that the issue could become chronic. At this point I don't think that's a smuch a risk for him, and he doesn't have to make repeated overhead throws, but he may still be doing some symptom management, and it could be affecting him in a low-grade way. I don't see it being a huge ongoing problem for him though - at least not as of right now.

Joba (The Mutt)

What the heck happened to Lowrie? Big BoSox fan and knew about his issues last season, but this seemed to come outta no where! Input? What about OAK's Joey D?

Stephania Bell
  (3:51 PM)

Joba: Same wrist that bothered him last year -and there's reason to be concerned. He's getting a number of tests - but I'm worried that his small fracture from alst season may not have fully healed - and then they will have to decide how to approach it. As far as Devine, he's 60 day-DL so you're not going to see him for a while. At last report they were doing more bone studies (you can get stress fractures in the elbow) so there's definitely some biger concern there. Have not heard the results yet.

Stan (Richfield MN)

Timmy Lincecum seems a bit off and we've heard rumblings of a blister injury. I'm not one to panic, just wondering how soon those problems usually clear up. It just doesn't seem like that serious of a thing, you know?

Stephania Bell
  (3:54 PM)

Hi Stan: I've heard the rumors too but no confirmation of a blister problem. Anyone who works with pitchers will tell you that blisters become a big concern not b/c of hte blister itself but b/c of how much it affects the way a guy throws - and then he will start making adjustments which can have bigger injury consequences. Lincecum says he can't get in a rhythm but if his hand isn't right, then it's understandable for sure. I have no info to confirm or deny, but his starts are definitely worrisome. Something to keep an eye on.

Rob (NJ)

Hi Stephania. Assuming Webb returns from the DL when he is due to come off, would you bench him to see how he reacts to the time off, or will he be a must start right away?

Stephania Bell
  (3:56 PM)

Hi Rob: If he comes back, I'm not waiting. If it's any longer than projected, then I get concerned. Although you never like to see a guy miss a start early, he's another one where I'm not AS worried right now, b/c of both the location and the description of his symptoms. A few days rest can go a long way to preserving a season - and I don't see that time frame as being enough to throw him.

Austin (B/CS)

Any concern over Carlos Lee? Slow start or finally starting to show signs of breaking down?

Stephania Bell
  (3:58 PM)

Austin: There's nothing really there to make me think anything other than slow start. There's still a lot of time...I don't see anything to suggest a major concern.

Jeff (NY)

Trying to sneak a last one in! Any value in stashing Sheets? Will he be able to stay healthy even through half a season? Will he have value? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (4:00 PM)

Jeff: I wouldn't waste a spot on holding him. There are too many red flags there and there is definitely a high level of concern amongst various teams that he can stay healthy. Not worth the gamble if you ask me.

Justin (Queens, NY)

Anything on Mora's hammy? It's supposedly "sore" that another way of saying slightly strained?

Stephania Bell
  (4:02 PM)

Justin: They're calling it a strain. You often see a mild strain equated with a "tweak" or a tight or sore hamstring - usually something to not be exceptionally concerned about, but a team is smart to pull a player back a bit to make sure that it doesn;t turn into something more.

Stephania Bell
  (4:03 PM)

OK everyone -sorry it's time to go. Wow - an hour flies when everyone is posting so many awesome questions. I will be posting my blog late this afternoon so check it out for some more detailed info on these players and others. And we'll be back here next week to chat again! Thanks for stopping by.....