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August 14, 11:00 AM ET
Chat with Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:04 AM)

Hello and Happy Friday Sports Nation: I'm fresh off a plane after checking out the Steelers-Cardinals game last night. Can't believe baseball is heating up and football's getting started. Is this a great country or what? Let's get to your great questions.

Ryan (FL)

How bad is Steve Smith's shoulder injury? Do you think his injury is something that will linger for the whole season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:07 AM)

Ryan: Since I just came from a football game we'll lead off with football...Smith's injury looked bad when it happened, but sounds like he avoided something major. He's expected to be back in practice next week so...we'll see how he does.

Douglas (Pittsburgh)

Stephania, it sounds like Jake Peavy is on his way... What's your expected arrival of him into the Sox rotation?

Stephania Bell
  (11:08 AM)

Douglas: You're right -based on the innings he pitched last night and how he reportedly felt afterward, I'd say it's another good sign that he's on track. He should be on track for late August (28th maybe?)assuming all continues to go well from here.

Marc (Charlotte)

Can we have a moment of silence for Adrian Beltre?

Stephania Bell
  (11:09 AM)

Marc: Yes. It is hard to imagine the agonizing pain that that injury caused. It's hard to say what the timetable will be b/c it depends on whether they end up having to do something surgical. As soon as i know, I will update it.

Brendon (Chicago, IL)

I keep hearing that Aramis Rameriz is going to be back this weekend. However, I wonder if he will have any power left in the tank with this shoulder injury. What is the normal return time and is surgury neccessary?

Stephania Bell
  (11:13 AM)

Brendon: Still haven't heard definitively - but he was hoping to be back in the lineup today. I do believe he will end up having offseason surgery since the dislocation was not his first episode with this shoulder (although this was the most severe), and since he no doubt has some lingering instability. Even he said that he still had pain with swings and knew he wasn't 100%. I think the big question is whether they will be able to manage his pain enough to allow him to play intermittently. I think he'll have good days, bad days - and the team just has to hope that they can get more good days. From a fantasy perspective, it will be a potential nightmare in that you'll always be concerned in the background.

Chris (Waterbury)

Do you have any updates on Billingsley? Are these just nagging hamstring injuries or is something more serious going on?

Stephania Bell
  (11:15 AM)

Chris: He had a Grade 2 strain of his lateral hamstring. The positive is that he was the recipient of PRP (platelet) therapy which seems to have an effect on the healing process (speeding it up). He was able to get back to throwing in 4 days - but they want to make sure he doesn't flare up again - and with his mechanics he'll stress the hamstring, but it looks like he'll be back next week.

Nate (NOLA)

Beltran? give me good news please my team is sinking fast and i could use the bat?

Stephania Bell
  (11:18 AM)

Sorry Nate: My guess is that he will not return. And remember way back when he went to Colorado to visit Steadman and everyone jumped on the fact that he was not having microfracture right away as evidence that he was out of the woods? I was concerned then - simply b/c of the fact that he went to see the guy who essentially developed microfracture, as in he would probably need it eventually. And so, that is what I think will happen here and he will not return until next season.

Nick (Philly)

Is Beltran or Reyes safer to drop?

Stephania Bell
  (11:18 AM)

Nick: Equal.

Michael (St Louis)

Morning, Starphania. you have to have the coolest job of anyone in your medical field. How did you get so lucky?

Stephania Bell
  (11:19 AM)

Michael: I ask myself that question every day. ESPECIALLY this time of year. Lucky, lucky me...

Cody (Philly)

Starphania, After an impressive start from Brady last night, is it safe to assume he is back and should be the first QB drafted in fantasy leagues. Thanks

Stephania Bell
  (11:21 AM)

Cody: I've been on Brady's bandwagon for a long, long time. He has done everything possible to get back and he's ready. I think he'll be the best fantasy QB, although one could make a great case for Drew Brees too, but look how well Brady did in only playing a partial game last night. Wow....

Michael (Milwaukee)

Is Reyes done or do i have a small glimmer of hope he might actually help me this year?

Stephania Bell
  (11:22 AM)

Michael: Like a candle blowing in the wind....very, very small "glimmer."

Tommy (VA)

OK we all know no injured Met will be rushed back. What's up with Torii Hunter?

Stephania Bell
  (11:24 AM)

Tommy: Hunter should be in the lineup Saturday. He's actually been feeling pretty good for a while but they (wisely) wanted to be sure he was truly strong enough to avoid re-injury. I think he'll jump right back in.

MIKE (TAMPA, FL)

Stephania, Duscherer is coming off the DL soon. How does he look?

Stephania Bell
  (11:26 AM)

Mike: He's looked pretty darn good in his rehab starts. Granted, he really hasn't thrown in the majors this season, but I do think he's healthy and we'll get to see him perform Tuesday. That's when he's scheduled to rejoin the A's rotation.

Rick (Watertown, MA)

Speculation up here in the Nation is that Youkilis didn't appeal the suspension because he injured his arm while throwing his helmet. Is there any truth to that?

Stephania Bell
  (11:27 AM)

Rick: Hmmm. Haven't heard that - but now makes me want to go check it out. Have to get back to you on that.

Hugh (Memphis)

What is up with Justin Upton? Will he be back soon?

Stephania Bell
  (11:28 AM)

Hugh: The team didn't think it was too serious as obliques go - hopeful that he'll come off the DL when eligible, so just about another week.

Charlie (Arlington)

Stephania: I appreciate that you take the time to write out our names like this. Ian Kinsler's coming back tonight. What are your thoughts on him?

Stephania Bell
  (11:31 AM)

Charlie: I want you to know that I do pay attention to those kinds of details...and it's like we're having a conversation.I do expect him to be in the lineup tonight as projected. I think they put him on the DL specifically to force him to rest a little more than he wanted to, so I expect him to be ready to go. But you know I always say the same thing with these muscle strains. It's so subjective as far as the player feeling ready to go, it's based on how they feel when they test the leg. Obviously you can't test for all situations, so it's possible that they aggravate it when they're back in a full-speed game. But I would say you have to trust that he's ready to go.

Mike (St. Louis)

Stephania, Rumor has it Tiger is still battling injuries but he looked good to me yesterday. Anything you can elaborate on with him?

Stephania Bell
  (11:32 AM)

Hi Mike: I don't buy that. THere was some speculation that he strained his torso during a practice round b/c he was seen grabbing his side, but I think he pretty much put that to rest.

P (Boston)

Hi Stephania what do you think about Oswalt after his first start? Looked to me like rust. Do you think Lilly will come back as strong as he was b4 the DL stint?

Stephania Bell
  (11:35 AM)

P: I think Oswalt is rusty - and his back is not quite 100%. Better, but not quite behind him. As far as Lilly, he seems to have done really well after his knee surgery - and I think the extra time for his knee recovery actually helped his shoulder. I'm always a little anxious to see how a pitcher performs during his first major outing following a DL stint for his shoulder, but I feel like he's in pretty good shape - and he sure sounds like he feels great.

Jordan (Oh)

Stephania, really appreciate you taking the time to chat. What are your thoughts on brandon webb? I realize he is shut down for this year, but what are your thoughts in keeper leagues? Top 10 sp next year?

Stephania Bell
  (11:38 AM)

Jordan: A bit of a puzzle given how much he struggled this year and there wasn't a really obvious reason. If there's any good news, it's that he did not end up having labral issues (no damage when they went in surgically) and that's always something you want to hear with a pitcher b/c these labral recoveries are tough and unpredictable. He may have just had enough chronic inflammation that he couldn't get it going and the clean out from the surgery, not to mention all the strengthening he did all year long on that arm, should have him in really good shape for next spring.

Tony (Nashville)

Stephanie: Is fashion above safety? Would you wear these new "safer but ugly" helmets if you were an MLB player?

Stephania Bell
  (11:38 AM)

Tony: Safety always wins over beauty. Period.

Rob (NY)

Hi Stephania. What are you hearing about TO's sprained T.O.E.? Is this the type of injury that could linger all year?

Stephania Bell
  (11:40 AM)

Rob: This is not T.O.'s first issue with his toe. I believe this goes back to SF days. The key is resting it when it flares so that it doesn't become a huge issue. Sounds like he'll be back practicing with the team next week...so will be interesting to see how he responds.

ben (los angeles)

Stephania, both Smoltz and Schmidt have had arm and shoulder problems and now they are older. Can either come back to pitch effectively? thanks.

Stephania Bell
  (11:43 AM)

Ben: I was singing Smoltz's praises as much as anyone - and based on how well he did through every single step of his rehab, I believed he would come back and be effective in the late second half...but sadly he has hit a wall and couldn't really get past it. Schmidt I was never as confident in, but it did seem like he might be able to deliver for the Dodgers for a couple months. Both had very complicated shoulder injuries (both with extensive labral damage), and a lot of mileage on their arms. I think Schmidt is done. I'm not quite ready to say that about Smoltz, but it may be the case.

Dave (Columbus)

Thanks for the chat. The Indians shut down Jake Westbrook again. What are his chances of being ready for Spring Training like the Tribe is saying he will be?

Stephania Bell
  (11:45 AM)

Dave: Well, if you look at the positives, the Indians are reporting that based on all the tests that Westbrook went through with Yocum, the ligament is intact. They believe that there is irritated scar tissue and some flexor tendinitis, and that sounds like a much better chance of resolution by next spring.

Peter (Springfield )

Good Morning Stephania. What's the latest on Nelson Cruz??

Stephania Bell
  (11:47 AM)

Peter: I suspect he will go on the DL. The team needs to do it by today to backdate it and given that he's still got soreness, despite his progress so far, and if they need to give him a few more days they will. I think they will.

Perry (Boston)

Will Bedard be healthy next year? Should I drop him or do you think he'll have value next year (it's a deep keeper league)?

Stephania Bell
  (11:49 AM)

Perry: Before this year I did not have confidence. I have less for next year. He's one of those guys who I believe has soft tissue that's more susceptible to injury. Continued problems ahead.

Drew (Hudson Valley)

Hi Stephania, can we stick with Westbrooks? What's the latest news on Brian Westbrook this year?

Stephania Bell
  (11:52 AM)

Drew:We don't have much. The Eagles say all is great and he's ahead of schedule. And he's doing some good things in his workouts. But he's still quite a distance from real football and contact. I want to see what he looks like when he actually returns to practice with the team, but my instinct tells me that they limit his playing time more anyway this year just for precautionary reasons and they let McCoy do more.

Michael (Milwaukee)

Is Berkman out of the woods? Is this calf problem behind him?

Stephania Bell
  (11:53 AM)

Michael: I won't be confident of that until I see him play a few games with no problems. He's already had a delay in his return and the soreness turned out to be more than he expected. Cautiously optimistic is how I'd rate my expectation.

Sam (ER...seriously)

But hey not to shabby, it's got wi-fi. ANyways, Downs. Does he get any more saves?

Stephania Bell
  (11:56 AM)

Sam: Wow - saving lives and checking up on fantasy baseball...impressive. Tough call. Sounds like he may be out longer than the DL minimum, especially since this is an aggravation of an already existing injury. They've been kind of quiet....which I never interpret as a great sign. Sure wouldn't count on him for my playoff hopes.

Tom (CA)

I have a son pitching in Little League. What age do you feel is safe to begin throwing breaking pitches?

Stephania Bell
  (11:59 AM)

Tom: Great question - several variables which include how solid his mechanics are with the basic fastball and changeup. But go to USA Baseball on the web. The guidelines they publish are supported by the medical community (and Dr. Andrews had a big role in this) - good detailed info there. We used to say in the clinic...no breaking pitches at all before he can shave...in addition to mechanics need physical maturity to help prevent injury.

Gabe (NJ)

Stephania: Is C. Zambranos back issue going to linger all year? I heard its because he takes to much BP. Thanks

Stephania Bell
  (12:01 PM)

Gabe: I think you have to look at the chronic nature of his back problems. He has had flare-ups for years, and will likely continue to have them. I doubt you can pinpoint it to any one thing, it's more important how it's managed and when he can get back. Sounds like they hope this time it will be about when he's eligible to come off the DL.

J.R. (Cincy)

Thanks for the tutorial in your blog on the platelets therapy that is being used on Billingsley. Please keep up the in-depth reporting. It's always great to learn something new.

Stephania Bell
  (12:03 PM)

J.R. And on that nice note, thanks for reading. It's time for me to go...but I'm always appreciative of all of you coming. I don't get to post all the questions - or answer them all - but please know that I do read them, and some of those questions prompt me to cover certain players in my blog or on the air. So thanks - please keep coming back on Fridays! Have a great weekend.