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May 22, 12:01 PM ET
Fantasy league injuries w/Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:06 AM)

Good morning Sports Nation!! Happy Friday - thanks for bringing your injury questions. I see a bunch in the queue so let's get to them...

Jeff, Huntington WV

When does Ludwick come back....I want some Albert insurance

Stephania Bell
  (11:08 AM)

Jeff: He should come back when eligible next week. You never know with a hamstring but the good news is that he said this injury felt minor compared to other things that sent him to the DL. Has been hitting from a tee and doing light workouts so so far, so good.

Billy (NYC)

What happened to Joba last night???

Stephania Bell
  (11:10 AM)

Billy: He took a shot to the knee. He tried to stay in but apparently it was bothering him enough that they pulled him. All we've heard so far is that initial X-rays were negative. May come down to how much swelling there is as a result of the hit, but since he's not an every day guy, there's a decent chance that he's fine.

Sam (Boston)

Now that we know whats going on with Votto, how long is he out? Is there any lingering impact to his numbers?

Stephania Bell
  (11:11 AM)

Hi Sam: I don't think there will be any lingering impact. The good news is that an ear infection is one of the lesser things that this COULD have been. There are so many problematic causes of dizziness. Luckily this one is treatable with medication, and not flying for a while also helps (doesn't affect the pressure buildup in his ears). He already feels better and is doing light workouts. I think he'll jump right back where he was.

Jeff (SF)

Good morning STARphania! I've got a DL spot open and would appreciate your opinion in filling it with either Kuroda or Smoltz for the rest of the year. Many thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (11:15 AM)

Jeff: This is one of those apples and oranges questions. Not really comparing two like objects. Smoltz is coming off of major shoulder surgery and is older, projecting him as more of a risk. That being said, I've been very impressed with Smoltz's recovery and I expect him to be solid for the remainder of the year. Kuroda had a hard time with his oblique injury intially and it wasn't responding well, but now that it really looks to be healed, it's just a matter of getting him built up endurance-wise to get back in the game. I think he may exhibit some rust, but the Dodgers have an excellent medical staff that does not rush their players. Once he's back, this should not recur. I just favor Smoltz as a pitcher.

Dave (Villanova, PA)

Hi Stephania, seems to me it would be wise to DL Reyes and let his troublesome injury fully heal, do you agree?

Stephania Bell
  (11:18 AM)

Dave: I think he may yet end up there. I know they're trying to avoid it, but clearly when he last tried to play, he couldn't run. My concern would be that if he runs too hard too soon, in other words when it feels some better but the tissue really isn't healed fully, that it turns into a bigger problem - more severe inflammation, or even a partial tear. THis guy needs his calf to propel himself as a speedster. I think if he doesn't show remarkable improvement after resting this weekend, that he will end up on the DL.

Ben (Omaha)

Stephania, need help please! Volquez injury even short term hurts. Already waiting on Webb & Duchscherer to come back and T.Hanson to make his debut. 12 team 5x5 mixed, top 9 teams separated by 5 games, i'm fifth, surviving. Would it be wise to drop any of the above and go with a hot arm or try to hold strong? thx

Stephania Bell
  (11:21 AM)

Ben: You are ina bit of a jam. Although Webb and DUchscherer are improving, both teams are being cautious and you're looking at potentially a month. At least so far Volquez is projected to return on time. Of everyone you've named my biggest concern healthwise is Duchscherer - at least long-term, you might want to go find someone else who can help you in the more immediate sense.

Chad (Iowa)

Hamilton seems to be a constant injury risk player. If you were being offered Grady Sizemore for him, would you make the trade? Thank you

Stephania Bell
  (11:24 AM)

Chad: It's funny - Brendan Roberts and I were having that conversation at the start of the season and he thought this would be the healthiest he's been. If you think aobut it, his injuries are really related to collisions with the wall. It's almost as if playing reckless is what's hurting him. Some guys seem to judge the wall pretty well all the time and rarely get hurt. Other guys slam into it and routinely set themselves back. I would take Sizemore for a number of reasons, but Hamilton's setbacks would be a part of the reason.

Todd (Philly)

Can we expect Aramis Ramirez to display his usual power when he returns this summer, or should I temper my expectations?

Stephania Bell
  (11:27 AM)

Todd: Temper, temper. This is a tough injury to come back from. He is not scheduled to ahve surgery, but we don't really kno how stable that shoulder is. He's had a couple prior episodes - and if there's residual feelings of instability it could definitely affect his power. Look at guys like Hanley Ramirez and BJ Upton who had intermittent feelings of instability and ultimately needed surgery b/c the swings and misses at the plate would set them back so much. He may do fine - but I at the very least suspect that it will take him a while to get back up to speed with his hitting, and then we don't know if he can even get back to his prior level.

Jon (Grimesland, NC)

Chipper and his bunions-any idea how bad a bunion can be? Chance of a DL trip or just a few days off?

Stephania Bell
  (11:29 AM)

Seriosuls Jon: Chipper has had a bigger variety of injuries than any major leaguer I can think of. THat said, he plays through most of them. As in - no DL. But he also tkaes a couple days off here and there. Bunions don't go away - but when they hurt, they can be really limiting to how much you can use your big toe to push off (which obviously you need to do to run). I would expect that he might do the usual - few days off -but not likely DL.

Larry (Baltimore)

Who has a better chance of playing today?? Votto or Hamilton??

Stephania Bell
  (11:31 AM)

Larry: I don't think either one plays today. Hamilton has said he wants to wait until Saturday but his manager could press him into service tonight. Votto is a few days away.

Mike (San Diego)

Were you wrong about ARod, or will the hip affect him at some point later in the season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:34 AM)

Mike: No - I wan't wrong. If you look at his batting average, (.171), he's not exactly smokin' it. Yes, he has the homers when he connects, but he is missing a lot - and all along, I said that he would probably suffer from a lack of spring training. Now he has certainly impressed me with how hard he worked to meet the timeline in terms of being strong enough to physically play and be out there, but he still hasn't had to run hard. I was at the game the other night, watching him closely. He dived for a ball to try to make a play at third (happy to see he would dive without fear) but he missed. Still think he's working his way back. I don't think the hip itself will give him a problem; I think it will take more time for him to really look like himself. My initial projection pre-season was the All-Star Break. Let's see how he's doing then.

Grady (Newport, MI)

Frank Fransisco is back. Is he safe to deploy?

Stephania Bell
  (11:36 AM)

Grady: All signs point to yes. In his simulated game he threw all his ptiches with good command and velocity, and no follow-up symptoms. Sounds like he's ready.

Venus: (Fly Trap):

Can you discuss Delgado and if you think he is worth retaining in a mixed league? Thanks

Stephania Bell
  (11:38 AM)

Venus: Depends what kind of bench space you have. You're talking late July if all goes well. As in the very, very end of July - maybe August. So if you have room on your bench, fine. But as we just talked with A-Rod, some of these quick pabral repairs may have the hip healed, but may be a little slower to return to form. He has to really stretch it out at first and put a lot of torque through that lead leg when he swings. Unlike A-Rod he played in a number of games, so his timing is perhaps better - even with the interruption mid-season - but it's still a big procedure to come back from, so you are taking some risk.

Dan (Monpelier VT)

Take your pick of some minor, yet concerning, injured players: C.Quentin or E.Bedard. Take your pick and discuss (or discuss both if you're feeling especially charitable!). Thanks for chatting!!!

Stephania Bell
  (11:43 AM)

Hi Dan: Sure! WE'll cover both. Quentin's dealing with plantar fasciitis - which I always suspect when they have heel pain - and the problem with this is one of degree. It can become chronic and nagging, or it can be relatively minor and not interfere. Sounds like they are aggressively trying to manage it now with him being in a boot for a few days and being fitted with some new cleats. The goal is to try to miniumize stress on the arch. He says he can play - but you never really know when this is going to flare up. It would be a concern for me going forward in that regard. No guarantees. As far as Bedard, it looks like he escaped something serious and is expected to make his next start. I have thought he would be an ongoing soft tissue injury risk - and this was a soft tissue injury - but minor as it turns out. Hamstrings can recur, but since he's not sprinting anywhere, it's less likely to be severely problematic.

Charles Manson (Yellowstone, CA)

Coco Crisp is hurt. What is the latest?

Stephania Bell
  (11:44 AM)

Crisp only has minor soreness and it doesn't appear to be a true injury per se. Seems like no big deal.

Hank (LA)

What are you expecting from Vlad next week? Is he back Monday?

Stephania Bell
  (11:46 AM)

Hank: Yep - looks like he'll be back in the lineup Monday - but as DH. That's what he'll be for a while b/c he has not been cleared to throw yet. That being said, reports are he's been tearing it up during BP.

frank - salt lake city

Regarding highly touted college pitcher Steve Strassburg who throws 100+ mph, is there anything in his motion that could be a future problem? In other words, is he susceptible to throwing him arm out? Thanks much.

Stephania Bell
  (11:49 AM)

Frank: Great question. I have seen some video of him, but not extensive. The biggest worry is the speed. A lot of the problems we've seen in pitchers in the last few years come with the speeds at which they're throwing. THe pitching motion (even a "good" one) is so unnatural, that when you combine it wiht high speed, it subjects human tissues to a strain that dooms them to failure. Some just fail earlier than others. So I can't fully answer your question b/c I haven't watched enough to see anything specific, but sure, there would be some concern just b/c of how hard he throws. But teams will always risk that if they think the reward outweighs it. And the key to his longevity is protecting his arm with enough rest in between, and a good stretching and strengthening program

Jonathan (Indiana)

What's the latest on Soria?

Stephania Bell
  (11:50 AM)

Jonathan: Throwing from flat ground this week was fine for him -no soreness. Still needs to progress to a mound, then to rehab assignment, so don't count on him for a couple of weeks, but early signs are positive.

Chester the Investor (NYC)

Please give me a Johnny D update.

Stephania Bell
  (11:51 AM)

Can't imagine he sits more than the one game. He was just sore from hitting the wall Weds but there was no reported injury.

Jim (Houston, TX)

Should we expect much from Kelvim Escobar, whose minor league rehab starts today, this year?

Stephania Bell
  (11:54 AM)

Jim: I think the fact that he has made measured progress is a good sign. Of course every step presents a new potential hurdle, so it's really ahrd to evaluate beyond the day-to-day. After all, right before the season started he was throwing in Petco Park to major league guys, then the setback. I think they hope for him in June - but they're not putting too many eggs in that basket. He has not been a regular part of the rotation for over a year, so it will be touch and go. I would say it's hopeful and I think he can do well, but I wouldn't be staking my future on it.

Mark (SF)

Tim Hudson seems to be making nice progress back. Does he hold any value later this year?

Stephania Bell
  (11:57 AM)

Hi Mark: I MISS SF!! Yes, I think there's some sleeper value there - but you can't totally count on it. He feels great - and is supposed to throw from a mound next week. But keep in mind, even if he returns this year (and it looks like he could come back in AUgust), many times these guys don't quite locate the ball where they want when they first return - at least not consistently. Often takes until the following year to restore their feel. That being said, as the time approaches, if he's doing well, he could be worth stashing on the bench in case he comes out on fire.

Scotty (Detroit)

Brandon Webb.....?

Stephania Bell
  (11:59 AM)

...is maintaining a low profile. He's only throwing for minutes at a time off flat ground - and the mound is over a week away. Then rehab starts, etc, etc. There's a month to go at least.

Sandy (Princeton, NJ)

Always great to see a former student (though not in my classes) do well! Anyway, my son is begging me to get your perspective on Rich Hill (Baltimore?) who has apparently returned from both emotional and physical maladies. All the best!

Stephania Bell
  (12:03 PM)

Hi Sandy: Always happy to help out a fellow Princetonian! Hill is still a work in progress the way I see it. His elbow, although reportedly without major structural damage, was the source of his inability to start the season. He has struggled with his location, especially of his curveball, and still walks a lot of hitters. Part of that is likely attributable to the rust from being away from the game. I still have hope that he's on an upward track, but I'm not sure how long it's going to take him to really get back his form.

Chaz (Windy City) - BUzzer BEATER

HEy SB, what is the deal with Abreu and will he be back for the WE series? thanks!!!

Stephania Bell
  (12:05 PM)

Hi CHaz: You made it! It's unclear. If you have to set your lineup in advance I'd avoid him b/c there's no guarantee. His toe reportedly feels a little better but he said he might not be ready until next week. IT's one of those situations where they might use him if they need him...but then they might not.

Stephania Bell
  (12:07 PM)

Sorry everyone - it's time for me to go. I hate to leave - still great questions coming in. But my turn is up. Thanks so much for coming - I'll be posting my blog Wednesdays now so check there for additional updates. Have a great Memorial Day weekend!!