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April 20, 3:00 PM ET
Fantasy Injuries w/Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (3:01 PM)

Happy Tuesday everyone and welcome to the injury chat. For only being a couple weeks into the season there sure are plenty of injuries to discuss! Glad to see so many of you already here with burning questions...so here we go!

William (Pine Knot, KY)

Based on what you know about Aaron Rowand's injury, do you think he is back in the lineup immediately after he comes off the DL in a couple of weeks?

Stephania Bell
  (3:03 PM)

Hi William - and congrats on being the first post: Right now it sounds encouraging. Rowand had the 2 facial fractures and a concussion after benig hit by a pitch Friday. The big question was whether he'd need surgery and apparently he doesn't. He may be able to begin baseball activity Friday. His concussion symptoms have to be resolved and the bones in his face need to show adequate healing for him to face live pitching...but it's possible he could be ready when eligible.

Travis (Nashville)

Hey Starphania, good to have you here! How "good" do you feel about Berkman coming back? Reservations about plugging him back in right away?

Stephania Bell
  (3:06 PM)

Travis: I don't feel particularly good. He's been hitting the ball well in his rehab games (but only had 2) - and even he admits that's not like facing the big league guys. The bigger concern is that his knee is still sore and still swelling to some degree. So what happens when he presses more? Probably not good things. Can he play through it? Maybe..but it doesn't sound like he's ready to be out there every day. Definitely need to keep an eye on him if daily league.

Norman (Brooklyn, NY)

Hi Stephania, Lance Berkman is returning tonight and has admitted his knee is not 100%. Why are they letting him come back so early and what are the ramifications of doing so as opposed to letting his knee be fully healed before allowing him to step to the plate?

Stephania Bell
  (3:09 PM)

Norman: THis is a good follow to the last post. It's hard when you're at a distance - as I am - to speculate as to all the factors going into that decision. It's a careful evaluation by the team of risk:reward. They clearly feel that the benefit of getting his bat back in the lineup (which they clearly need) outweighs the risks posed to his knee. They must feel that it is not a situation where he can do further damage, and will try to help him play through it. But I don't anticipate a smooth road - in order to manage it, will probably mean days up and down.

chris (new york)

Is Reyes 100% healthy? He looks a step or two slow and I was wondering if this was something to be concerned with or just give him some time to get his wheels back.

Stephania Bell
  (3:11 PM)

Chris: The question is whether Reyes will really ever be 100% healthy...yes, he looked pretty good in the spring, but I worry more about him having a flare-up as the season progresses. RIght now he is wearing a protective foot guard since he fouled a ball off his foot - and that is likely slowing him down a bit. Otherwise nothing major...yet.

Shaun (NYC)

Would you be trying to acquire Lackey after yesterday's outing or stay away due to the beating he took yesterday and lack of K's in his prior 2 starts which were good? I know there a rumblings of injury concerns with him this year.

Stephania Bell
  (3:13 PM)

Shaun: I'm staying away from Lackey. Prior to this season he visited the DL the prior 2 years with arm issues. While neither episode was major, when you look at the workhorse that he was for the Angels, that's a lot of wear and tear..and to me it's starting to show up in the form of these lesser injuries and a bit of a drop in performance. I think the other shoe is going to drop...but don't know when. A little risky for me

Nelson (NJ)

*closing eyes and crossing fingers* Have you heard anything about Kinsler yet?

Stephania Bell
  (3:15 PM)

Nelson: Well, keep eyes closed and fingers crossed through today as Kinsler is supposed to try running again today. Remember last time he tried he couldn't run at more than 50% - not surprising to me as high ankle sprains are always harder to recover from than a player initially thinks. If today goes better, it could mean a sooner rehab assignment. If not, dial it back a couple weeks.

James (Seattle)

Who's the better waiver wire stash play? Who will come back healthy sooner and be productive? Webb, Beltran, Dice K?

Stephania Bell
  (3:18 PM)

James: You must REALLY want to know with the gazillion posts. It's easy to tell you who's coming back sooner. Dice K is the only one with even a remote target in sight. Another minor league start tomorrow and then may rejoin the rotation. He's looked pretty darn good in the rehab games, so you have to hope it carries over. I'm not convinced that he can avoid aches and pains throughout the year, but so far, so good. Webb was transferred to the 60-day DL and Beltran has yet to run.

Blake (Abilene, TX)

Howmany French majors get into Physical Therapy?

Stephania Bell
  (3:19 PM)

At least one.

JasonG (St. Louis, MO)

Hey Stephania! Dear Mr. Beltran was supposed to start running 10 days ago but reportedly still hasn't... What kind of timetable are we looking at with him?

Stephania Bell
  (3:21 PM)

JasonG: To follow up with the Beltran thing, apparently he is going out for a recheck with his surgeon in Colorado. The team says it's a routine checkup, naturally there are rumblings of a setback, just because it's the Mets and he was supposed to start running sooner. But it's possible that the team announced that he would start running when his MD might have wanted to clear him first. Wouldn't be the first time that a premature announcement was made. That said, until that appt, we won't really know.

Brian (NY)

Stephania, in terms of Kinsler, do you know if he's tried to run already or will he do so this evening before the game?

Stephania Bell
  (3:22 PM)

Brian: My understanding is that it will be before the game tonight.

Mike (Nashville with Hot Girlfriend)

Cameron reportedly has an abdominal tear? You hearing this as well?

Stephania Bell
  (3:24 PM)

Mike: Thanks for sharing. Yes, it's been reported that he has an injury along the lines of a sports hernia - which may mean surgery - either sooner or later. They may just have him rest initially and then see how he responds before deciding. Right now, if he's in your lineup I'd be finding an intermediate length replacement.

James (London)

Thoughts on Ted Lilly's return? Will he return to his quiet dominance or is Ervin Santana a better snag? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (3:26 PM)

James: I like the way he's looking. This is one of the few players - pitcher or hitter - who has had an uneventful rehab this offseason. He struck out 9 in his last minor league appearance and he has been completely pain-free. He's expected to start Saturday.

david (edroy)

What's the latest on Jimmy Rollins?

Stephania Bell
  (3:28 PM)

David: Haven't heard much but that's not a surprise b/c he's probably not doing a whole lot right now. Rollins said he felt much better within a few days, but that's usually the case. He thinks the 4 week timeframe is a little long, but until we see how his leg responds to activity, my inclination is that it's the more conservative timetable.

Jeff (Portland, ME)

Stephania, I, we, all have confidence in your knowledge, expertise and advice. Thanks for keeping all us frantic fantasy players in check. That being said, has a time table been set for Erik Bedard's return? Do you believe he'll return without setbacks? Thanks again.

Stephania Bell
  (3:32 PM)

Jeff: Well, thanks for the vote of confidence...just humbly plugging away. You probably know that I am a little suspect of Erik Bedard's overall health given the last few years, so even though he is indeed ahead of schedule - and looking good according to Wakamatsu, I'm still not drinking the Kool-Aid. He's thrown bullpens only. THings change a LOT when you have to throw to live hitters. Guys have more adrenaline, throw harder, get a little wilder...there's no official timetable yet but it sounds like the Mariners hope for May. I'm still skeptical and would not be surprised to see a setback - even if minor - along the way.

Brian (NY)

Any insight on Fuentes' back? Nothing to worry about or keep an eye on him?

Stephania Bell
  (3:33 PM)

Brian: I don't think this is a big deal. Judging from how the DL was utilized with him, it never seemed major. He's expected to rejoin the team Weds when eligible and get his closer role back.

W. Melhuese II (Waldorf Astoria (literally right now))

How are you feeling about R Branyan coming back off the DL and his subsequent line/chances for the rest of the year?

Stephania Bell
  (3:37 PM)

W. the II: I love the Waldorf...I like Branyan coming back right now, especially since he's expected to be activated before tonight's game - a little sooner than expected. Always a concern that back problems could be recurrent, but so far this does not appear to have been especially serious. Bodes well going forward.

Carl (Bethlehem)

Is Joe Blanton set for early a early May return? Is this an injury a pitcher can safely shake of in a season?

Stephania Bell
  (3:39 PM)

Carl: If all continues well, then yes, early May appears to be in order. He has been cleared to start in his first rehab appearance. The key to the rest of the season and not having it be a problem is making sure that he is fully healthy, no lingering issues when he does return. That's why they tend not to rush these injuries. WHen guys are rushed they tend to re-injure.

Steve (Philly)

There are so many contradictory reports on Ellsbury. How much longer do you think?

Stephania Bell
  (3:42 PM)

Steve: You're right - some saying he's better, others saying minimal progress. It could be that he's going to actually test it out by trying to swing harder - so some think that means he's better, but it may just be a test to see how much this injury is really impacting him and trying to gauge whether a DL stint now is warranted...still a possibility but no way of knowing just yet.

Brady (work)

Star, great work as usual! What low down on Brian Roberts? Give me, in your estimation, when we can expect his return. Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (3:44 PM)

Brady: Thanks much. It's a little unpredictable right now. Roberts still has not been cleared for baseball activities since he had the second epidural injection. Team is making it sound like this will be slow and they will be patient...meaning at the very least, longer than the 15 days...I would plan on 3-4 weeks - if no setbacks.

Tina (Los Angeles)

I?ll limit asking my question to three times so this is it?Edinson Volquez, heard he?s ahead of schedule from TJ surgery and could be back right after the All Star break. Is he worth grabbing and stashing in a non-keeper league this year? Thanks.

Stephania Bell
  (3:48 PM)

Tina: Well....perhaps you've heard that he was just suspended for PEDs...but apparently can serve this suspension while out (go figure) - so in the long run it may not impact his timetable whatsoever. Now that that's out of the way, he has been doing pretty well but is still quite a ways off from return to play. There are so many progressions to still go through that a true timetable is not yet possible, although I would project a year (which would be August)...so I probably wouldn't waste the spot on my roster.

andrew (chicago)

whats the latest on aaron hill? Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (3:50 PM)

Andrew: So far, things have been moving right along. He's scheduled to go on rehab assignment and is expected to come off the DL when eligible, next Friday.

Luke (NYC)

Is Kazmir ever going to return to past form?

Stephania Bell
  (3:51 PM)

Luke: I think so. It was his first game back and it was the Yankees...at home... don't panic yet.

Jim (Boston)

Hey what's the latest on my Boy Trevor Cahill?

Stephania Bell
  (3:52 PM)

Jim: He was scheduled to make a rehab start yesterday but I'm not sure how that went. I would expect at least a few rehab starts before rejoining the team...so maybe a couple weeks?

Paul (Tampa)

Any word on Huston Street? Rockies could sure use him back the way Morales is pitching.

Stephania Bell
  (3:55 PM)

Paul: No official timeline yet. He's still throwing off flat ground (I think there was some thought he'd be throwing from the mound by now) but I think they're being cautious and bringing him along slowly...which is reasonable. May was looking realistic, perhaps middle to late month vs early as some were hoping.

Tom (Boston)

Stephania, in reference to your previous Volquez answer. I heard the contrary. How would that make sense otherwise. What's to prevent plyers from using PED's then when they know they won't be back for sometime?

Stephania Bell
  (3:57 PM)

Tom: That info came from our own Jerry Crasnick who spoke with a named MLB source who says the suspension begins immediately. I suppose the punishment is the loss of pay, but you're right, otherwise he's already out. Who knows why players resort to these things? We could have a whole discussion point there - but apparently that's how the suspension will play out.

Mike (Reno)

How do players get hamstring injuries, groin pull injuries, etc when they are supposed to be the best conditioned players in the world ? Are they not stretching enough ? What gives ?

Stephania Bell
  (4:00 PM)

OK Mike: Let's take a look at all sports. Do you really think baseball players are the best conditioned - in the WORLD? Some are in phenomenal shape, but I would limit that to some. So there's that point to argue with. And trust me, if every team and medical staff could figure out a way to predict and prevent injuries, they would! They do a pretty good job keeping as many as they do out there for the bulk of the season...

Biswas (NJ)

How bad of an injury do you think Mike Gonzalez really has here? Another dr visit today...yikes!

Stephania Bell
  (4:01 PM)

Biswas: Well, they say it's for a second opinion, which is generally a good idea when it's less than clear...and his injury has been less than clear. The team remains hopeful that the initial projection is still around 3 weeks, but that remains to be seen. You're right, it's a bit murky...

Stephania Bell
  (4:03 PM)

It's time for me to go my chat friends...great questions as ALWAYS today. If you have other burning questions, feel free to send a note to my mailbag. Have a great week and may your players stay healthy!!!