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August 7, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Injuries w/Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:01 AM)

Good Morning Sports Nation: Don't know about you but I have had a rocky start to my Friday...here's hoping that we all pick it up heading into the weekend. And here's hoping we see some of our teams' fantasy fortunes improve...To that end, let's talk injuries.

Matt (CT)

Good Morning Stephania! Hows Soto's oblique lookin? What do you think we can expect out of him once he returns?

Stephania Bell
  (11:03 AM)

Hello Matt right here in CT: It sounds as if they still expect him in the Friday lineup. I'd like to think that he should be ready to go, given that he had a little extra rehab time. It's always a little adjustment when returning to the big league hitting, but shouldn't take him long.

Knish (Princeton NJ)

Jed Lowrie left last nights NYY/BOS game with numbness on the same hand he had wrist surgery on. Will this issue continue through the season? I guess what I am asking is, CUT BAIT?Thanks in advance

Stephania Bell
  (11:06 AM)

Knish: This is really tough to say without having the player right in front of me b/c there are so many potential causes for the numbness. From a distance, there is certainly concern that what sounds like ulnar nerve related symptoms (inner forearm to pinky finger on that hand) are happening in a wrist that had the ulnar styloid (bone piece) removed. But...it's possible that the source could be more removed from the wrist (like the elbow for instance) and then we're opening a can of worms. It's also worsened in the last week...may want to find yourself a replacement.

Jeff (Portland,ME)

Hi Stephania, can you give us an update on Tim Hudson and a possible date of return? Is he worth stashing or will he go to the bullpen?

Stephania Bell
  (11:08 AM)

Jeff: I still think he makes it back late August (as long as the hamstring is indeed mild and doesn't flare), maybe first week of September - and so far, I expect him to provide some starts.

Adam (PA)

Sorry to hear about your bad morning. At least its Friday, and if you're on the East coast today, its a beautiful day! Have you heard anything about Berkaman? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (11:11 AM)

Adam: Well, with that kind of encouragement, how can my day not get brighter??? As for Berkman though, a little gloomier. The calf is coming along slowly and although the Astros originally hoped to get him back this week, that will not happen. He's still struggling with running and at the earliest it will be next week. Problem is it's very much a day-to-day assessment with him and it all depends on how he feels - very hard to predict as fantasy owner. I would say you should at least plan on closer to another full week.

Sam (San Diego)

Weird question, I know, but do you somewhat WANT injuries to give you a job? Or would you rather a healthy world that doesn't need you?

Stephania Bell
  (11:12 AM)

Sam: Just to be clear, I NEVER wish for injuries. But then again I don't have to. Sports = injuries. But it is nice to feel needed.

fred (toronto)

Do you think that Ian Kinsler will be able to come off the DL next Thursday - the first day he is eligible?

Stephania Bell
  (11:15 AM)

Fred: A couple things. Kinsler has a significant injury history - works against him. Second - this hamstring injury turned out to be worse than originally thought. Not good. Now he is doing agility drills, some batting, and no one has said he WON'T come back, but as you can see with all the other guys who have muscle injuries, very hard to predict. Err on the side of caution with him though and plan as if it will be longer.

Colby (Boise, ID)

Starphania love the knowledge. Any prediction on Justin Upton? Does he make it back?

Stephania Bell
  (11:19 AM)

Colby: Love that you come to the chat! Danger, always, in predictions - but here's what I will say. Sounds like the D-Backs this is on the mild side of oblique strains, one that would take around 10-14 days to recover from. Given that time frame, made most sense to put him on DL. Also, given that this was an aggravation of something that was already present, it made sense to keep him quiet for a bit. Now, Geovany Soto supposedly had a very mild oblique strain - and he was extended well beyond the 15 days (hence the danger in prediction), but all things considered, I would plan on Upton returning this year, just might take an extra 7-10 days.

Jon (MI)

As a Bay Area girl, have you heard anything about Justin Duchscherer's "non-baseball related" reason for being scratched from his last rehab start?

Stephania Bell
  (11:21 AM)

Jon: NO - and it is really bizarre. I have tried to dig but no luck. Thought maybe there was some trade discussion, but that wasn't it. Apparently the A's are considering releasing some information on this topic later today, so hopefully we'll all find out then.

Jared (Waco)

Quentin, Vlad. Who to drop based on their recoveries from injuries and potential impact for remainder?

Stephania Bell
  (11:23 AM)

Jared: I'd drop Quentin. I almost feel bad saying it b/c I think this guy is really trying to push himself back. But that foot is not right and I don't think it will be until he has an offseason. Vlad will hit (and hit well I believe) at the DH for remainder of the season.

John (NY)

Hey Stephania. Do you own Grady Sizemore in any leagues? I just don't see him turning things around this year and have him benched but it's a keeper league so I don't want to trade/drop him. What would you do with him?

Stephania Bell
  (11:24 AM)

John: It's a good question/observation. I did own him and dropped him - but it was a non-keeper league. I wasn't confident that the elbow would be fine through the remainder of the season - especially knowing that he will have surgery once the season is over. But since we know what he's dealing with, and since the surgery is very likely to help it, if I had him in a keeper league, I would KEEP him.

EK (SD)

Hi Stephania. What's the news on Jose Reyes. I was under the impression that scar tissue is a somewhat good thing (depending on the injury). What does this mean for him specifically?

Stephania Bell
  (11:28 AM)

EK: So complicated this Reyes situation. Lots of factors. Scar tissue is often reported/described as a good thing b/c if the perception is that the buildup of scar is causing discomfort, as opposed to a more severe or entirely new injury, that's a better option - usually. But, excessive scar can really alter the performance of contractile (muscle/tendon) tissue, in addition to causing pain. When you have a guy like Reyes with longstanding soft tissue injury problems, complicated by tissue that does not heal well, i.e. lots of scar, it just doesn't make for a great outcome. Now the manual therapy he will undergo can help a great deal - will it help enough to get him back this season? Still unclear - this is a longer term resolution issue for him I think - as in I don't see him running like before until next season, hopefully.

Bobby V (NJ)

Hi Stephania, Jenks going to the DL? Thanks

Stephania Bell
  (11:29 AM)

Bobby: Sounds like the team hopes he can make it back late next week. Poor guy - miserable kidney stone problem.

Stuart (Brooklyn, NY)

Any word on Lilly's return? Also, what exactly happened to Slowey that he must have surgery on his wrist and be done for the year? I had thought that it initially felt better when he was resting it. Thanks Stephania!

Stephania Bell
  (11:32 AM)

Stuart:Slowey just had persistent discomfort, and although he initially felt better, he felt worse when he tried to increase his activity - not uncommon. the good news is that with the timing of surgery, he should have plenty of time to be all set by the time spring training rolls around. As far as Lilly, his knee is doing great, shoulder feeling better. Sounds like Cubs are hoping for a return in the series starting 8/17.

Andrew (AB)

Do I risk starting Oswalt next week in a weekly locking roster? His back really concerns me, have you heard anything more about his back? Will it take something off his stuff?

Stephania Bell
  (11:35 AM)

Andrew: His back should concern you - all disc problems are notoriously unpredictable. I would wait on him with a locking roster. He only threw off flat ground Weds and last time he switched to the mound, he felt worse. He's scheduled to throw a bullpen today ad we'll see how he handles it, but even if he does get a start next week, I'd like to see a) that it happens for sure and b) how he performs, how long he lasts and really importantly, how he feels afterward before I'd feel confident in starting him.

Every Guy (USA)

I ask, regretfully, what is it about Jenks condition that will keep him out a week? I thought they blast the stones into little bits with sonic waves, he passes them (!!) and then he's good. Why the recovery time?

Stephania Bell
  (11:37 AM)

OK for every guy: There's no doubt that he immediately felt 1000% better after those things were gone. But he was down and in pain for a while with those, and they want to make sure he is truly pain-free, and that he has his strength (he certainly wasn't active while he was agonizing with these), give him a few days to work his arm, and then put him back.

Kyle Johnson (Asheville, NC)

How is Nelson Cruz's ankle and should I risk starting him next week?

Stephania Bell
  (11:39 AM)

Kyle: Sounds like Cruz avoided a more serious injury and was looking a lot better by mid-week. word is that he could be available for pinch hitting this weekend (which may or may not mean a ton), with a likely return next week. Here's what I'd look for. See if he pinch hits and if he gets a hit, how does he look running. If he looks pretty good, then I'm OK starting him next week.

Dan (NYC)

Good Morning, what's your take on Zimmermann? Will he be limited by a pitch count, or an innings limit? Is he likely to get shut down early since the Nats are going nowhere. I've been holding on to him, but with no DL slot I could use the space if he will not be helpful in the fantasy playoffs.

Stephania Bell
  (11:43 AM)

Dan: I think once they decide he's ready to return, they use him as they normally would. In fact, I think they may bring him back into the rotation sooner rather than later. These things are always in flux, but it's looking that way right now to me.

Al (Buffalo)

Hey Stephania, it seems like Alexei Ramirez keeps getting pushed back. Is a trip to the DL coming?

Stephania Bell
  (11:45 AM)

Al: I don't think so. I know they've said it before, but the Sox are saying he might be back today. I do think it's a situation where the sprain was relatively minor, but if he still feels like it's a little weak, or he's favoring it a bit with certain movements, that they hold him back b/c they simply don't want to risk a bigger injury, especially late in the season.

me (work)

Hi, loving this chat. There has been some speculation that Cueto has some sort of injury that is causing his performance woes of late. Could you shed some light on this rumor?

Stephania Bell
  (11:49 AM)

Hello you: Whenever a pitcher is struggling consistently, it always leads to speculation that there is underlying injury - which is reasonable since it helps explain why a guy tries to compensate and the results generally show themselves in poor performance. Cueto has complained of a stiff back in the not too distant past, and it may be one of those things where he doesn't have a specific "injury" per se, but he is trying to play through pain/stiffness/discomfort. He has not blamed any injury, and certainly no one has said that there is something going on, but that's often the case as well. All we can do is watch...

Anthony (Cali)

Please talk about Torri Hunter .... when should I expect him back? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (11:51 AM)

Anthony: Wish I could tell you. Obviously his strength is just not there since they are keeping him out of a rehab assignment for now based on strength tests he recently performed. He admits that the might struggle running the bases right now. He will continue to work on rehab/strengthening exercises and the team has not issued any indication as to when the next target for rehab games will be.

Mike (NYC)

I read that Westbrook's off-season ankle/knee surgeries should clear up some of the issues that have been causing him to miss time over the past couple of years. Any truth to that or will he pose the same start/scratch dilemma all year? Could the surgeries increase the risk even?

Stephania Bell
  (11:54 AM)

Mike: Making the switch to a little football...I do believe that the knee surgery (clean-up) is probably a big help, although keep in mind, these clean-up procedures are meant to make the best of what the joint is currently, they can't restore it to perfect health. But they do often buy a player some more, pain-free playing time.As for the ankle, the bigger concern is that some of the issues that forced him to surgery signal some degeneration at the ankle. This tends to be more complicated in terms of both mobility and stability for a running back. The biggest challenge for the Eagles will be preserving what he's got - so in the end, I think they will use him less this year. If not, I think it risks his overall health more.

John (OR)

Anything new on Bay? I heard he might miss the entire Yankees series?

Stephania Bell
  (11:56 AM)

Well John: He obviously missed last night and will miss tonight too. But he might come back this weekend. That said, you know how delicate these hamstrings are. If he doesn't feel right, they just won't use him - although Francona says they don't expect a DL stint. The fact that Bay said he didn't feel real good as recently as Thursday makes me a little less optimistic about what he could do this weekend.

Kevin (Philly)

What do you at this point about Carson Palmers elbow? It has to be fine right considering he declined surgery? Its hard enough being a Bengals fan but if he's out it will be 2008 all over again!

Stephania Bell
  (11:58 AM)

Kevin: Palmer sure makes it sound like his elbow feels good. And the thing on his side is all the time he had to rehab since he played so little last year. His throws are a lot less stressful than a pitcher's on the elbow, so yes, it's conceivable that he could be fine, even without surgery. But remember, he was hurt by contact, so the risk is more likely in the form of contact. If he gets hit the same way, then that could be very bad.

Tyler (VT)

Hi STAR! What about Wandy?

Stephania Bell
  (11:59 AM)

Hi TYLER! Wandy should pitch Sunday - that's the plan!

Jimmy (Boston)

Does no one care about Meche. Is that the problem?

Stephania Bell
  (12:01 PM)

Jimmy: We care. We care. Meche is supposed to be on track to return next week, assuming rehab starts this weekend go OK. It will be a test for his back to see how it holds up not only during the outing, but immediately after and then the next day.

Stephania Bell
  (12:02 PM)

OK gang - sorry but I have to exit the room. Thanks so much for coming and for brightening up what otherwise started as a rough day. I hope all your fantasy players stay (or get) healthy this weekend..and you too.Have a great weekend - see you next week!!