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April 6, 3:00 PM ET
Fantasy Injuries w/Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (3:01 PM)

Hi everyone - and welcome back! The injury chats have been on a brief hiatus between football and baseball...but no longer. Glad to see some of you have posted some pre-chat questions. Without further ado...here we go!

Pete D. (Litchfield, CT)

Hello Stephania. Should I wait for Brandon Webb? I'm in a 12-team H2H and my top 3 SPs are Jimenez (COL), Nolasco (FL) and Kershaw (LAD). I'm fine with rolling with my stacked offense (Pujols, Wright, Tulowitzki) and legging it out until May, but only if you say he'll return and show decent value. Thank you.

Stephania Bell
  (3:03 PM)

Hi Pete: If it's my team, I wouldn't be holding a spot for him. The biggest problem I can see is that his problem has not clearly been defined. He's having very similar setbacks to the type he had last year - and that's after a surgery! And in surgery they didn't find much. The problem is still a puzzle - and while the Diamondbacks are saying all the right things, it's hard to have confidence in this situation. I'd be looking for someone else who can produce for you right now.

Steve (New Jersey)

Does Ryan Madson have potential long term value or will Brad Lidge be back in a week or two?

Stephania Bell
  (3:04 PM)

Steve: I think Lidge will be back sooner rather than later. he threw 25 pitches in a Sunday bullpen and had no pain, no problems. He's eligible to come off the DL 4/10 -I think it could be another week or so beyond that, but so far, there's nothing about Lidge that has me concerned long-term.

Jon (NYC)

Hi Stephania, what can be reasonably expected from Bedard this season?

Stephania Bell
  (3:06 PM)

Jon: You're hoping for a return in late May or June IF there are no setbacks. Labral repairs do not behave the same from one pitcher to another - and therefore no strict timetable is to be trusted. Plus Bedard's history makes me a bit more skeptical.

Mike (Austin)

So when can I expect my fellow Longhorn Street back?

Stephania Bell
  (3:08 PM)

Mike: I think about a month is what you should plan on - and that's presuming that they won't have to halt Street's progression (which has happened 3 times already). The good news is that he paid a visit to Dr. Andrews Monday and got a good report that everything in his shoulder looked fine. The plan is for him to resume throwing sometime within the next week - but he'll need to get on the mound and get a few innings in. No strict timetable -but I'd say you're hoping for about a month.

Brian (NY)

Hi Stephania, Can you please offer some insight into Ian Kinsler's injury, i.e. how long he'll need to recover? Thanks.

Stephania Bell
  (3:11 PM)

Brian: kinsler has a high right ankle sprain - and everyone knows these are a little trickier to recover from than a routine ankle sprain. With everything he has to do at his position - it is high demand on the ankle, so I expect it will take a little longer than he likes. In fact after having some pain while batting, they had him do nothing for a few days, then try hitting again. He tolerated it the second time (yesterday) - but it shows he has to go slower. He's eligible to come off the DL around 4/10 - but he's not even running yet, nothing lateral and he will need to get into a few games before he gets back - so I would push this back another week or two.

Mike (Boston)

What can we realistically expect from Dice K this year? Keep up the good work!

Stephania Bell
  (3:13 PM)

Mike: I think this is a tough one. It seemed like things were all good heading into spring training and that he was on board with the team's training regimen, etc, etc. Then it was the upper back strain, then neck stiffness, all very vague and non-descript. Could mean it's not serious - could mean that it's vague and sort of lingers like a nagging problem that crops up intermittently throughout the year. Put it this way - I'm hoping that this does not turn into a long-term issue, but I'm not yet convinced.

John (WI)

Are you one that likes Lincecum to play the full year or is there warning signs he breaks down simular to Peavy and Webb??

Stephania Bell
  (3:15 PM)

John: well, being a Giants fan, I sure hope he holds up across a full season. I know there were some murmurings about his velocity being slightly down early this spring. I'm not especially worried - other than beyond the idea that all pitchers ultimately are headed for some type of wear-and-tear issue...minus the rare Nolan Ryan-ish exceptions.

mark (NYC)

What can you tell us about Jose Reyes? I saw he played a full extended spring training game and stole two bags. does this mean he will be going full speed ahead as soon as he is eligible to come off the DL?

Stephania Bell
  (3:18 PM)

Mark: I think Reyes will certainly come out going full speed ahead. He has looked good this spring and I've been talking to some folks who have been watching him run lately. The surgery no doubt helped his tendon heal, but remember he has had multiple issues with his hamstrings in the past - and this is not a fix-all. One concern I have is that he will be so eager to push it, so eager to show he's past it, that he may just end up overdoing it, especially after the latest thyroid setback. I think he'll start great - worry he won't be able to maintain it.

Mark (Seattle)

I'm surprised there hasn't been a question yet about Cliff Lee, arguably a top-10 fantasy pitcher. Stephania, what's the scoop there? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (3:22 PM)

Mark (with a shout out to Matt in Chinatown who actually posted a Cliff Lee q too): Lee is doing better. Expected to throw off a mound Friday. But he'll have to get his pitch count back up...and we have to see what happens when he throws at "competitive" velocity - that can often be the real test - and a guy can look fine until then...and then not quite have it all together. Given his history of multiple abdominal strains, I think they will not push him too hard. The hope is that the PRP helps the quality of the healing so that once he DOES recover, he's less likely to re-injure himself. But I would put his return at the mid-latter part of April.

Norman (Brooklyn, NY)

Hi Stephania,What does it mean to have your knee "drained"? What kind of long term effects does it have if it has been drained multiple times as Berkman has had done since arthroscopic surgery in mid March?

Stephania Bell
  (3:24 PM)

Norman: It literally involves using a syringe to drain excess fluid from around the knee. Not really side effects from the draining but the issue more importantly is why does it continue to swell and how to better control that. It may be that he's pushing too hard and they need to back him off a bit. While it's not encouraging, it's not devastating...yet.

Billy (NYC)

How long do you see Kerry Wood being out for and how long after that before he gets his closer role back?

Stephania Bell
  (3:27 PM)

Billy: When this injury was announced, the Indians' head athletic trainer very specifically said it would keep him out a minimum of 6 weeks. While Wood said he hoped to be back sooner, there is really no reason to expect that. Even if the injury is not particularly serious (and at first glance it doesn't seem to be), the Indians seem to be indicating that they absolutely will not rush him. Given his history, that sounds reasonable to me - they're looking at getting him back and keeping him, not having him go back out again. I would say given what the team has projected, do not assume a return before mid-May.

Tyler (VT)

Hi Star! Nice to have you back. Any chance Beltran returns to full capacity this year?

Stephania Bell
  (3:30 PM)

Hi Tyler: It's nice to be back! I have really missed these Sports nation chats - awesome questions so far today. Yes, there's a chance. His return will not likely come before June - but he is making step-wise progress and when I spoke with him while at Mets' spring training, he told me that this was the first time in nearly a year that his knee is pain-free.Keep in mind that his knee joint is not "perfect" - he has arthritis and could develop some recurrence of problems down the line - but if he makes it back without big setbacks, I think there's reason to be optimistic that he can finish out the season strong.

Roger Waters (You Know)

Is Duchscherer a safe play this year? He can really pitch when he's on, but will he make it through a full season?

Stephania Bell
  (3:32 PM)

Roger: Don't know if I could go far enough to call him a safe play. But I will say this - I saw him in his first spring training outing and talked with him afterward and he said physically and mentally, everything is feeling great. As he came back from the elbow, he had issues with his back, but a pain injection he received this spring he said made a huge difference. One issue for him is his hip flexibility (as in he doesn't have much) - and he really needs to continue to work at that to try to decrease stress on his back. I'm hopeful for him...but he's definitely a risk/reward guy.

Justin (Boston)

Do you expect Volquez to pitch this year for the Reds? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (3:35 PM)

Justin: I don't think he's someone you should count on. If he does, it's likely to be late in the season. Remember he didn't have his surgery until late (August) - and it's typically a year (minimum) before a guy is ready. There is no reason to rush someone back after this type of thing - so while he's making steady progress, I would certainly not count on his return until 2011.

Justin (Boston)

I would love to have your take on Oswalt for the year, thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (3:38 PM)

Justin: While Oswalt got through yesterday apparently without any major post-pitching pain, it's still too early to say his back problems are behind him. After all, he had a whole offseason to rest and condition, and then it cropped up again in spring training - which is normal by the way for disc problems. This is likely going to be one of these manage-as-you-go issues and I could see it forcing him out for a period of time again. unfortunately no way to predict - just have to ride the wave.

JD (DC)

Stephania: How's Lilly progressing? Also, great to have you back.

Stephania Bell
  (3:41 PM)

JD: Thanks! Lilly appears to be on track for the third week of April. He has had a pretty uneventful rehab course which is a good sign. Any shoulder surgery is a big deal for a pitcher - and at 34, you have to expect that there is some breakdown in there. But the fact that they were able to do a "clean-up" scope and seemed to feel this would be enough, is encouraging.

Bernard (Princeton, NJ)

Should we expect Kazmir to come off the DL as planned? Any long term effects from his injury?

Stephania Bell
  (3:44 PM)

Bernard: Kazmir is on track to come back for the Yankees series next week (I felt confident enough to draft him last night in my auction league...so that gives you a hint as to how I feel). I think the hamstring was minor - but he has worked so hard this offseason on mechanics that they don't want any impairment anywhere to offset those mechanics. So I understand why they were being careful - again looking at having a guy for the long haul (hopefully) as opposed to having him there on the first day.

Rebeka (Canada)

A follow up to the Volquez post - if you have 1 DL spot in a long term keeper league who gets it Volquez or Nathan?

Stephania Bell
  (3:44 PM)

Rebeka: Thanks for making the conversation international...Nathan gets my spot. He's just that good...

Chase (Toronto)

Not sure if he is really considered injured now but what do you think about Glaus for this year? Is he going to be able to mash this year or will the shoulder surgery sap his power?

Stephania Bell
  (3:46 PM)

Hi Chase (sticking in Canada): If I hadn't seen him and talked with him during spring training, I'm not sure that I'd feel this way...but I do think you will see a resurgence of the Glaus you knew before all the shoulder issues. They had a very hard time localizing his specific injury before and once they did, it was a very slow rehab with several setbacks - but during that time, he learned a lot about how to take care of his shoulder going forward - and now he will be at first, so defensively that makes it a little easier on him. He is very excited about being in Atlanta...I'm optimistic.

Steve (Chicago)

How long will it take Joe Blanton and his oblique to return to how effective he was last year?

Stephania Bell
  (3:50 PM)

Steve: What we've learned about these oblique injuries in throwers is that they average about 30 days. He strained it in late March - so I would not expect him before late April. Manuel has been positive on how he looks early, but like we said earlier with Lee, it's a whole different story when these guys amp up to competitive velocity. So even when it sounds like they're doing well, or are ahead of schedule, don't get too excited.

Taylor (San Fran)

Are there always this many injuries at the begining of the season? I feel like my roster is littered with DTD and DL notifications

Stephania Bell
  (3:51 PM)

Taylor: It's funny - it seems that way every year - but I think overall the numbers don't truly fluctuate that much. I don't have specific data on that...but that's what I think.

jeff (Rochester, NY)

I'm wondering about Nolan Reimold. What kind of limitations can we expect to see from him throughout the season?

Stephania Bell
  (3:53 PM)

Jeff: As long as he doesn't have a setback early on, I don't think the limitations will be there. The key is making sure he's not doing too much too soon - not sure if he's in for Pie today, but if he is, it's a pretty good sign that they think he's ready.

Bernard (Jersey City)

What's happening with Jeff Francis? When can we expect him to pitch? Are these issues going to impact his effectiveness? I thought he could be a contributor in a deep league this year. Thanks for your thoughts!

Stephania Bell
  (3:56 PM)

bernard: this is one of those where I'm not totally comfortable with what we're hearing. he had shoulder surgery - then looks pretty good - then has shoulder stiffness (or that's what they called it), then he says it's not related to the shoulder. Hmmmm. Very hard for me to imagine that these things are TOTALLY unrelated. The body doesn't work that way. So while it's encouraging that he's not saying he's having the same pain as he had pre-surgery, this is still a bit of a red-flag. Too soon therefore to say whether it impacts his effectiveness and when he comes back.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Are Former San Diego Padres General Manager Kevin Towers & MLB Pitcher Josh Towers Related?

Stephania Bell
  (3:57 PM)

Chris: I do not know the answer to this question - so I'll throw it out to the group...

Ed (Charlotte, NC)

Stephania...I really enjoy your chats and insight. Speaking of that, do you have any insight into Hafner's health and prospects for this year?

Stephania Bell
  (4:00 PM)

Ed: thank you - and thanks for coming. If you listen to Hafner, he believes that he has made some mechanical adjustments to his swing that help his shoulder. He said he was able to get through the winter without experiencing pain - ever. he showed some nice swings this spring and it certainly looks like he could be a contributor this year. Given his age and his history, he's no lock to stay healthy - but he's got a lot better prospects heading into this year.

Stephania Bell
  (4:01 PM)

OK everyone - time for me to go - but thanks so much for coming!! You gave me some great questions - and I will be posting blogs again with various injury insights as the season goes along. If I can't get to a question here, I will try to incorporate it into a blog somewhere along the way. Good luck with your fantasy teams - and hope all your players stay healthy!!!