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April 23, 11:00 AM ET
Fantasy Injuries with Stephania Bell

Stephania Bell
  (11:05 AM)

Good Morning everyone - thanks for switching to the morning chat today. Never a shortage of injury news to discuss. I know you all will have great questions...so here we go.

Jeff (Portland, ME)

Good morning Stephania, lets talk appendectomies. Thanks to Atlanta management, I will get a big fat zero from Jason Heyward this week. How long should we expect him to be out? Could this be the reason for his struggles? Thank you.

Stephania Bell
  (11:08 AM)

Jeff: Let's. Now, I just woke up to the news that Heyward is having (or had) the procedure, but at first blush, hard to cast blame. Usually these things are rapid onset. More importantly, how long will he be sidelined? If we look at guys who recently had appendectomies (Matt Holliday comes to mind), they have missed only about a week, perhaps less. Now that most of these procedures are done laparascopically, the recovery is quicker. That presumes a straightforward procedure, no complications, etc, etc. So there may be more when more news comes out, but right now, I'd be inclined to be encouraged.

Mark (Florida)

Stephania, what's the dilly yo with Ryan Zimmerman's hammy? Word out of Washington is there was an MRI and to the DL he went. Is there a strain, tear, is it in need of repair?

Stephania Bell
  (11:09 AM)

Mark: A strain. No indication as to severity, but they flet he needed about 10 days to rest. So, presume rest, treatment, get back to running and baseball activities, if all goes well, the minimum stay. Of course, hammies can be unpredictable so have to throw in that caveat.

Adrian (Colorado)

Which hurt star WOULD you be trading for right now in anticipation of them returning strong?

Stephania Bell
  (11:11 AM)

Adrian: Brian McCann. Knowing it may even be a little slow out of the gate (and not necessarily since he's been hitting for a while). But I really like him trending toward improvement as season progresses too.

Dave (NY)

Hanley Ramirez is ahead of schedule! How soon do you think he'll be back, and what do you expect from him once he is?

Stephania Bell
  (11:13 AM)

Dave: He is indeed. The fact they had him doing some throwing even while in his cast was great. Got his range of motion back quickly when cast came off. Biggest challenge for him will be throwing the ball, places a little stress on the thumb repair. But as he gets comfortable handling the ball, should move quickly. Orig projection 8 weeks, looks like he could be 5-6.

Gary (New Jersey)

Do you think Pujols eventually will hit the DL?

Stephania Bell
  (11:13 AM)

Gary: Yes, reluctantly, but yes.

John (St Louie)

Stephanie, traded detwiler for greinke after you wrote that he cold resume throwing in around the middle of this week..what do you think the odds are that he resumes throwing this week?

Stephania Bell
  (11:14 AM)

John: He's already doing some light throwing so he made that timetable. As long as things keep going the way they are, he could return somwhere around 6 weeks post-op, maybe sooner.

Joe [via mobile]

Any observations on Ortiz since he has returned? Has legged out a few doubles already. Does it change your thinking on him in any way?

Stephania Bell
  (11:16 AM)

Joe: Really happy for him to see him back and having some early success. Good sign. BUT, even he says he's not quite there. And I still think the biggest challenge will be avoiding a setback. It's that awkward misstep, the hard landing on the bag, those things could set him back. Really just a wait and see.

Scott (MI)

What do you think of Kyle Lohse's injury? I know from experience a busted pinky can be a real problem even though it's on his non-throwing hand. Will he hit the DL, miss a start, or keep right on going?

Stephania Bell
  (11:17 AM)

Scott: He says he's actually dislocated this finger before and doesn't think he'll miss a start! We'll see how that plays out but sounds like he ought to know...

Ryan (DC)

Heard some positive updates on Granderson. Mid-May still sound realistic?

Stephania Bell
  (11:21 AM)

Ryan: Definitely looks that way. His recovery has been textbook perfect based on the injury he had (simple, non-displaced fracture above the wrist) and how he kept up with his conditioning, etc throughout. So far, every activity he's added has been uneventful - which is how we like it in rehab - and it's just a matter of progressing through the rigors of baseball activities up to games. He never really got spring training so part of it is getting "game ready." But right now that time looks about right.

Franklin (ME)

Hi Stephania - many people are blaming Matt Kemp's lack of production on his shoulder surgery. Do you think he will be "back to normal" eventually, or will this continue to be an issue for him this season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:27 AM)

Arggh!! My computer just dropped out and I had to log back in. Franklin - I will rewrite my answer now.

Stephania Bell
  (11:29 AM)

Franklin: OK, where were we? I have been studying this for a while, find it fascinating (and frustrating - for him as a player and me having him on my fantasy team where I expected a slow start but not this slow). I'm not prepared to fully reveal my thoughts as I'm still studying it, but I think he has changed something mechanically about his swing - either because the shoulder was bothering him or because he was apprehensive - and that habit has stuck. I can tell you that he is not having pain in his shoulder and he is functionally doing well. But I think there are some leftover habits that came as a result of the injury and need to be addressed. Question is though, how long will that take?

Chad (Charlotte (niners fan!!))

Who returns first for the yanks? Granderson or Tex?

Stephania Bell
  (11:31 AM)

Chad: I think it's Granderson. Teixeira not able to progress as quickly as he'd hoped (but not altogether surprising). I still have concerns that no matter how Teixeira progresses, until he's hitting full power, we won't know if he CAN hit full power without re-injuring the tendon sheath.

LittleRon (WV)

Morning Stephania, Do you expect Aybar to come off DL this week and, if so, what level of performance?

Stephania Bell
  (11:34 AM)

LittleRon: He sounds very hopeful that he'll be activated Thursday when eligible. He has tested running and hitting and would like to return without the rehab assignment but that decision has not been made. I think if he's truly pain-free, no drop off in performance because the downtime was relatively low. These heel bruises can be improved however and still flare up if you land wrong or otherwise set it off.

Paul (Chicago)

Do you really think running the basepaths a coupe times a game at best is making Pujols' plantar fascitis worse? I don't see what he gains by resting - he's a baseball player playing DH, he IS resting!Unless they really want to get him back out on the field, then I could see sitting him until he seems to have it fully under control. But anyone with that injury knows there's no such thing - it could come back at any time.

Stephania Bell
  (11:38 AM)

Paul: You're asking a great question. If the team had a good solution, they'd use it. The problem, as you mentioned, is that it can flare up anytime and it gets worse with any acitvity. It seems to me they are trying to find the medium between not making it worse so it becomes constantly excruciating and complete inactivity. Because yes, if he goes on the DL, he might feel much better in a couple weeks, comes back, flares up again and back to square one. Outside of resting for a few months, it's hard to imagine it getting suddenly vastly improved (and even with a few months off no guarantees). So I think the decision is keep him at DH and hope they get some productivity and don't make it over-the-top worse.

Andy (Lawrence, MA)

What are your thoughts on Marcum once he comes back and rest of the season?

Stephania Bell
  (11:40 AM)

Andy: Nervous. Anytime you have "inflammation" in the neck that's irritating a nerve, it is something that has the potential to become chronic. So while he's doing better now, there is reason to be worried that it will act up again. His first couple outings back should tell us quite a bit, just in terms of how he's able to perform. But I don't have the greatest feeling about this.

Chad (Macon)

Freeman going to be activated for today's double header?

Stephania Bell
  (11:41 AM)

Chad: expectation is he's activated. Don't know if he plays in both games though.

Norman (NYC)

How come they use cortisone shots for inflammation mostly everywhere else but when it comes to plantar fascitis, they don't? Isn't that inflammation of a tendon as well?

Stephania Bell
  (11:43 AM)

Norman: High association of rupture of the plantar fascia with cortisone injection locally. Hence the non-injections.

Mike (MIL)

Aramis getting closer?

Stephania Bell
  (11:46 AM)

Mike: Lots of Ramirez questions out there. And with good reason. Brewers have not given us much. Sounds like he's been increasing his workouts and Roenicke says timetable should become clearer within next few days (which sounds to me like they're considering a rehab assignment soon because that officially starts a clock). But they still haven't ever indicated what exactly he sprained and as recently as a week ago it was reported he was struggling more with it this time than during the spring after he first injured it. So...a bit tough to make any accurate predictions.

Keith (VA)

Cueto?

Stephania Bell
  (11:48 AM)

Keith: Lots of Cueto questions too. Returned to playing catch yesterday. Uneventful, good sign. Now begins the ramping up of the throwing and seeing how he responds. He's eligible to return next week but I imagine his progression will be a little slower if he indeed has a lat strain.

Ian (NC)

Is that also why they don't use cortisone for the achilles?

Stephania Bell
  (11:49 AM)

Ian: Yes.

Troy Lazaro (Bridgeport, CT)

Are you worried about Youkilis's latest back injury?

Stephania Bell
  (11:50 AM)

Troy: Sure. Given his history of back problems, any time they crop up there's reason for concern. And after Girardi initially said he expected him back Monday but now it looks like it could be a couple more days (and they hope that's all). It doesn't sound like a major flare-up; the worry is that the major one is just around the corner.

Blake (IL)

Garza?

Stephania Bell
  (11:54 AM)

Blake: He has a few more rehab starts to get under his belt. He's thrown a few innings in a sim game and done OK. Still looks like early-mid May if continues well. As I mentioned on the podcast, one of my concerns is just how long it's been since he's pitched in the majors after the elbow last year and the lat this year. Maybe all the downtime will turn out to be a blessing in disguise given all the rest he's had. But I need to see the proof in terms of performance before I'm buying in.

Brian (NY)

What are your thoughts on Ryan Madson?? He seems to have a setback and constantly tease us.

Stephania Bell
  (11:57 AM)

Brian: I know. I have him stashed on my bench too so trust me, I monitor his progress carefully. It's actually not completely atypical in terms of what he's experiencing which is this intermittent soreness and then it resolves. Most guys returning from TJ surgery go through these minor ups and downs when they resume throwing. Maybe we just don't hear as much about them. It does seem that his has been a little more extended than most in that he's now over a year removed. But I guarantee the team would rather wait and delay his return another few weeks to a month than have him come back and have to go back on the DL. So we'll probably continue to get teased.

Eddie (Hoboken, NJ)

DO you expect Dickey's injury to linger?

Stephania Bell
  (12:00 PM)

Eddie: Don't know that I have a handle on exactly what is going on with him. Heard about reported neck and back tightness - which is vague enough to be both worrisome and trivial. But at the same time, we're hearing that he's expected to make his next start. No way to know whether it was a random event and no big deal or whether this is going to turn into something more sinister.

Justin (Boston)

Had high hopes for Eaton this year can you give us an update?

Stephania Bell
  (12:03 PM)

justin: Probably still a month away (at least) from returning. He's been hitting, that's all going fine. The bigger issue - and worry - has been throwing. He has just barely started throwing (few days ago) and will have to take it slowly through a progression before he can resume making hard throws from an outfield distance. And then the test will be, how does the elbow respond as the throws get harder and the distance increases.

Matt (Los Angeles)

Stephania, I'm a sports PT as well. Is Pujols plantar fascia injury anything like the tear Antonio Gates had a couple seasons back? Trying to figure out whether or not to trade for him! Thanks!

Stephania Bell
  (12:04 PM)

Matt: At this point I've only heard it described as plantar fasciitis. As you know Gates had a partial tear (he had PF a couple years prior, then eventually a tear). So it hasn't progressed to that degree based on what I'm hearing.

Stephania Bell
  (12:06 PM)

OK friends, time for me to go. Thanks so much for coming to the chat today. Many, many great questions and never enough time. I'll be heading to the NFL Draft studying players for our upcoming football season. Wishing you all a healthy week...