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June 29, 3:00 PM ET
Fantasy Injuries w/Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (3:02 PM)

Hi everyone - Seems like lots of big names have found their way to the DL in the last few days, hours even...giving us a LOT to chat about...

Travis (Nashville)

Hey Stephania, thanks for being here! Of the Red Sox latest injuries, the most ambiguous seems to be Clay Buccholz. Can you shed some light on the situation?

Stephania Bell
  (3:05 PM)

Hi Travis: And thank YOU for being here. I actually have a blog posting today on the Red Sox injury trifecta so will avoid lots of detail here, but the bottom line is that he strained his hamstring down near the attachment at the knee, not uncommon with a hyperextension...and he's lucky it wasn't worse. But looks like he'll avoid DL.

Greg (STL)

Stephania,Is 6 weeks realistic for Dustin Pedroia or do you see his recovery having similar woes as Jacoby Ellsbury's?Hope you have a wonderful 4th!

Stephania Bell
  (3:08 PM)

Greg: Thanks for the nice holiday wishes! As far as Pedroia, again details in blog, but I think as long as the bone heals well, and that is the absolute key here, that 6 weeks is reasonable. I obviously haven't seen the pictures of the crack, but it might just be a small crack -not a huge break in the bone, and they recognized it immediately which is a huge bonus in terms of protecting the foot so it can heal.Pedroia is such a hard worker that as soon as the bone heals and he's cleared to return to baseball activities, I think he makes up time. The issue with these types of fractures is that sometimes (and I stress sometimes) they don't heal well, but that is more often the case when they aren't immediately recognized and a player continues to move the foot.

Nik (Dallas, TX)

If you had to pick one for the rest of the season Brandon Webb or Erik Bedard?

Stephania Bell
  (3:13 PM)

Nik: Hard for me to even pick your question b/c these are my LEAST favorite. Nothing personal, it's just not the way my medical brain thinks. We look at day-to-day performance and know things can change on a dime. Many of these injured players need to come back and stay back before we can be convinced they're out of the woods; it's not like the injury is automatically behind them with one or two good outings.That said, LOTS of people are asking the same thing...so I caved. But I'm still gonna hedge. Look, Bedard is ahead of Webb right now. He does look good and it appears they will activate him soon, maybe even next week. I'd like to see more outings before being sold, but based on what he's showing, he's got good command and no pain, two key ingredients. And since he's ahead of Webb in terms of pace to return (way ahead), he gets the vote. But I still have concerns about his durability.

Fred (New York)

Utley to the DL!? How long as a Mets fan can we expect him out for ?

Stephania Bell
  (3:16 PM)

Fred: Brutal. There's a reason managers do not prefer the face forward slide. Hands (thumbs especially) can get caught on the bases and then...DL stints. they're calling it a sprained thumb and right now sounds like the minimum DL time. If truly a minor sprain (and I have not heard much detail yet), then quite possible that that's the time frame.

Scotty Mac (Seattle, WA)

What's the status of V-Mart and his fractured thumb? I know he's on the DL, but how long can we expect him to stay there?

Stephania Bell
  (3:18 PM)

Scotty Mac: I think they're hoping just the 15 days. There was talk of padding his thumb for his catcher's glove, but I have to believe his ability to grip the bat was a concern contributing to the move. Not an automatic, but reason to hope it's the minimum.

Marc (CT)

Steph - what are you hearing on Carl Crawford? will he play today? should we be worried?

Stephania Bell
  (3:20 PM)

Marc: he says the shoulder is feeling better. Have not heard definitively, but expect he will play, sounds like plan is to DH him if he does.

Norman (Brooklyn, NY)

Barring any other surprises, can we expect a full recovery from Jacoby Ellsbury after the All-Star Break?

Stephania Bell
  (3:23 PM)

Norman: I'd like to think that the extended down time will allow him to truly, fully recover; the question is when will we see him again. The latest is that even though he's improving, he's not ready for baseball activities. May return to Boston before 7/5 road trip,but it sure sounds to me like he won't be ready to play at that point, even if he does make it back. So....hmmm, hoping for shortly after All-Star break, but still day-to-day

Matt (NJ)

Stephania, just read that they have diagnosed Utley with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament of the right thumb. Assuming this is correct, please let us know whether that changes his time frame. Also, any reason to expect Freese to miss more than the minimum time? Thanks.

Stephania Bell
  (3:25 PM)

Matt: Just want to follow up on previous Utley post - yes, this is the ligament most commonly sprained when the thumb hooks the base and gets stretched backward. It all depends on the degree of sprain and instability. The good news is that in very severe cases (complete tear), it requires surgical stabilization...and we're not hearing anything like that. While it might exceed 15 days, there's no reason to think that yet.

Pat (NY)

I can undertsand you point why you don't like answering questions on who is coming back sooner because things change, but is guys like Bedard who are espcially valuable to those who play in h2h league, where he is avaliabe for the playoffs. What are you thoughts on Brett Anderson coming back after the ASB.?

Stephania Bell
  (3:30 PM)

Pat: Exactly, which is why I cave and answer it, but I have to give the caveat b/c it's not like I'm saying Bedard is awesome, guaranteed, 100% solid...which I know my friend Matthew Berry would love to hear, but I just don't have that confidence. Nonetheless, he is ahead of Webb. As far as Anderson, as you say he's expected back after All-Star, and I think at least this time it has been a slightly slower progression back, so we can have a little more confidence when he does come off the DL. That said, two back-to-back episodes are concerning and it's possible the underlying problem will creep up again. So pick him up with some risk in mind.

Jim (DC)

Are you hearing anything that would help give us a real sense of if/when Roberts will return. I've read that it may not be till August, and maybe he's even facing season-ending surgery?

Stephania Bell
  (3:34 PM)

Jim: I think all of that is speculation, but the speculation is understandable given all the setbacks he's had this year. Aside from pitchers and shoulder/elbow inflammation, any player with a back problem is one of the most difficult things to try and project. Oswalt had a herniated disc and although he had an early season setback, he's been OK since. Roberts has a herniated disc and more severe symptoms that have not been particularly responsive to treatment. just shows how different they can be.He is back to light baseball activities and everyone will just have to patiently watch his daily progression to see how he does.My advice a long time ago was to clear space on your fantasy roster for someone who could contribute. If you're lucky enough to have DL space, keep him, but given the uncertainty (and I doubt a return before late July/early August), why not find someone who can help you now? You'll have plenty of advance notice when he starts to do more to go back and get him.

Stephania Bell
  (3:34 PM)

Jim: I think all of that is speculation, but the speculation is understandable given all the setbacks he's had this year. Aside from pitchers and shoulder/elbow inflammation, any player with a back problem is one of the most difficult things to try and project. Oswalt had a herniated disc and although he had an early season setback, he's been OK since. Roberts has a herniated disc and more severe symptoms that have not been particularly responsive to treatment. just shows how different they can be.He is back to light baseball activities and everyone will just have to patiently watch his daily progression to see how he does.My advice a long time ago was to clear space on your fantasy roster for someone who could contribute. If you're lucky enough to have DL space, keep him, but given the uncertainty (and I doubt a return before late July/early August), why not find someone who can help you now? You'll have plenty of advance notice when he starts to do more to go back and get him.

Ryan (NY)

How much trouble is Zumaya's career in?

Stephania Bell
  (3:37 PM)

Ryan: Well, I don't know that anyone is prepared to make that leap just yet. Our news is reporting he's done for the year with a fractured olecranon (that's the bony bump of your elbow). The triceps attaches to it and frankly, he throws so hard that I'm not surprised he broke a bone. As impressive as a hard thrower looks like that, the worrisome thing is that biomechanical studies show that the tissues in the shoulder and elbow fail at speeds under 100 mph. He's now had shoulder issues and elbow issues - serious ones - in his throwing arm. Just not sure how much his body has left to give him.

Brian (Princeton, NJ)

Hi Stephania, thanks for being here for us! Can you please discuss Heyward? He slumped badly before going on the DL. Do you think that was a result of the injury, do you see him recovering quickly and once he returns, do you see him regaining his stroke? Thanks!!!

Stephania Bell
  (3:40 PM)

Brian: Thanks to you...Yes, I believe his slump was definitely attributable to his thumb. He had injured it sliding into base (like Utley) and it had been sore for a while, making batting difficult. The soreness continued to worsen as he tried to play through and after seeing the bone bruise, the decision was made to rest him formally. Yes, I think he'll regain his stroke, although it may take a bit to get in the groove again as it often does after these injuries.

John (San Francisco)

If all continues to go well with Beckett's rehab, is there any reason to think he won't be the pitcher he's always been?

Stephania Bell
  (3:42 PM)

John: I think Beckett should be Beckett-like when he returns. He's had a couple of these injury incidents where he's missed time and had to work his way back, but he seems to always eventually return to form. I think it will be the same here.

John (NY)

Stephania - for all Strasburg owners - can you elaborate on this statement regarding Zumaya: "biomechanical studies show that the tissues in the shoulder and elbow fail at speeds under 100 mph. "

Stephania Bell
  (3:47 PM)

John: yes, figured that would raise Strasburg-owner eyebrows. In Birmingham, they have quite a sophisticated lab where they do video analysis of pitchers and other biomechanical studies. They have taken cadaver arms and put them through the motion/speed of pitching and looked at what point to tissues fail (literally, break or tear) and at speeds in the 90's, many tissues' capacities are being overloaded. But that's not the whole story. In a live human, there are muscular elements at work that help protect and control some of these other tissues, so they are able to actually hit these red-lines and still survive. Then there's the notion that not all people have identical tissue, mechanics, etc. Some guys throw hard and will seem to be OK. Others don't throw nearly as hard yet break down. Still trying to unlock all the mysteries, but the bottom line is we know that throwing a baseball is a highly unnatural movement for the body...maybe why we're amazed when we see it done so well.Shameless plug: Check out my interview with Dr. Andrews on Baseball Today podcast (a couple weeks ago). He talks about this.

Daniel (NY)

Based on your previous 74 chats, I think you are contractually obligated to discuss Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Beltran....

Stephania Bell
  (3:51 PM)

Daniel: Ha! Funny...along with Webb and Bedard, they might be the next 2 most popular.OK - Rollins is back, as we've seen, but he'll get some intermittent time off - and needs to work back up to more steals, etc (both of which i warned of). Another couple weeks back and I think we see better performance and more confidence.Beltran is hitting the ball well and getting folks excited about his play...but they really need to see that the knee does well across multiple rehab outings, so I don't think he comes back until late July. Power looks good, but don't expect a base stealer.

Ben (Hamilton)

How is Jorge De La Rosa progressing? Once he is back what are his chances of this being a recurring injury?

Stephania Bell
  (3:53 PM)

Ben: One more rehab start and then he looks to be rejoining the team. I think that it looks as if the finger has healed well and they have now had him test it by throwing his full repertoire of pitches. never say never - but I don't expect this to be a recurring problem.

Josh (Phoenix)

Happ's velocity is way down. I think he's topping out at 87-88 as opposed to 92-93 pre-injury. Can we expect him to continue to struggle with the velocity? He can't pitch with the big club with that can he?

Stephania Bell
  (3:55 PM)

Josh: Well, that's the concern. I can't see them promoting him just to promote him. They want to see improved performance before they actually restore his spot.

Eric (Chicago)

Steph, to go against your point, Nolan Ryan threw hard and he was fine...but is that why crafty lefthanders (Moyer, Buerhrle for example) are rarely injured or not injured because they don't throw that hard?

Stephania Bell
  (3:57 PM)

Eric: Actually you're making my point. As I said, humans are different. One of the things that's amazing about Ryan is that he did throw hard and throw often...and was fine. So genetically, he has something going for him. And interestingly, he is not a believer in pitch counts for their organization's young throwers. It probably does not make sense to him b/c he did fine. But not everyone - in fact, I'd argue most - are not like him.

Tim (NY)

Please Stephania, something about Gardner. Do you expect him to have no issues with this latest injury?

Stephania Bell
  (3:59 PM)

Tim: So polite! It's always hard to say "No" issues, but the fact that this is a contusion, day-to-day, nothing more serious, makes me think that this will not be a huge, lingering issue.

Ronnie (Boston)

To follow in Tim's wake, please Stephania, something about Magglio Ordonez. I have heard nothing?

Stephania Bell
  (4:03 PM)

Ronnie: Well, it was a surprise that he ended up being scratched. The oblique is not new and he supposedly had been feeling better. Could very easily be that it tightened up during BP before the game or some such thing and they decided to pull him rather than risk an injury that could cost multiple weeks. Just a guess at this point.

Lizzet (Coachella, Cali)

Have you been watching Soccer?Stephania, give some love to a fellow CALIFORNIA GIRL/GIANTS FAN! I have no replacements for V-Mart or Utley. i Can drop Brad Hawpe for either Montero or Posada. n i can drop Cueto or Gavin for Yunel, Scutaro, or Jose Lopez. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Stephania Bell
  (4:07 PM)

OK Lizzet: Last question of the day goes to the CA/World Cup/Giants gal...I like Montero. Was out with the meniscus injury but came back strong. Had to rest a bit b/c of the back, but I like what he brings. And I like Scutaro, but know that in the background he's had some neck/elbow issues, although the recent injection seems to have helped. Still hasn't hurt him a ton at the plate - which you have to like. Good luck...

Stephania Bell
  (4:08 PM)

It's tough to go b/c there are still some great questions out there...but my time is up!!!Thank you all so much for coming...and stay tuned as there will be much more coming in the next week. Have a happy and healthy 4th of July! See you back here next Tuesday!