With the All-Star break (ASB) upon us, many key players will get a chance for a much needed rest. Some teams have also chosen to avoid a DL stint for their players in the hopes that these few days will cure various ailments. Let’s take a closer look at the key injuries that affect the majority of Fantasy owners:
Ryan Braun (calf): Braun had a MRI taken on his calf last week, which revealed some inflammation. The Brewers were hopeful that he would return for this weekend’s series against the Reds, but Braun didn’t feel he was ready. The Brewers have decided to rest Braun until after the ASB, forcing him to miss the game.
Placido Polanco (back): Polanco will also miss the All-Star game, citing a painful back injury. I am not sure that the ASB will alleviate the problem here. Look for a continued loss of power for Polanco and don’t be shocked to see him undergo surgery at some point this season if his back issues are not resolved.
Pedro Alvarez (quad): Alvarez was activated off the DL and immediately sent to Triple-A to get some more ABs. Look for him to be called up right after the ASB and provide the Pirates with some much-needed power. Chase d’Arnaud will move to SS when that happens.
Chipper Jones (knee): Chipper went in for surgery this weekend to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. Reports say that he should miss two-to-three weeks. Look for him to be out closer to three weeks. Brooks Conrad will replace him in the short term.
Martin Prado (infection): With Chipper Jones’ injury, many people thought that Prado would be activated this weekend. The Braves decided to err on the side of caution. Look for Prado to be activated right after the ASB.
Nick Swisher (quad): The Yankees decided to give Swisher a few days off with a strained quad. The Yankees are saying that he should be back right after the break, but be wary of those reports: quad injuries tend to linger if there is not appropriate treatment and rest.
Carlos Gonzalez (wrist): Surprisingly the Rockies put Cargo into the lineup this Saturday, bringing him in as a pinch runner and defensive replacement late in the game. Hopefully, the contusion on his wrist has improved, because if there is a further setback his date on the DL would begin from July 9 instead of July 3.
Alex Rodriguez (knee): A-Rod has also decided to skip the All-Star game as he is suffering from a slight tear in his meniscus. He has decided to undergo surgery and is expected to be out for the next four-to-six weeks. Look for Eduardo Nunez to get much of the time at third base to replace him. If Nunez can replace A-Rod as effectively as he replaced Jeter, the Yankees may lose a bit of power but little else.
Shane Victorino (thumb): Victorino is on the DL with a Grade 1 strain of his thumb. He is hoping to return as soon as he is eligible (July 19). Until then, the Phillies will go with John Mayberry and Michael Martinez to replace him.
Scott Baker (elbow): Reports out of Minnesota are that the Twins have decided to move Baker to the back end of the rotation to give him about 10-12 days rest between starts. The Twins are hoping that reducing the number of starts and innings will help reduce the strain on Baker’s elbow. Tread carefully here, as elbow injuries seldom resolve with simple rest.
Julio Borbon (ankle): The Rangers have placed Borbon on the DL with a sprained right ankle. Considering that Borbon is known for his speed and defence, this is a big blow to his Fantasy value. Look for Craig Gentry and Endy Chavez to see some more action in Borbon’s absence. Neither guy will help you with power, but they might be a good source of speed for those who are desperately seeking a few stolen bases.
Austin Jackson (wrist): Jackson has been suffering from a sore wrist, but was in the game on Saturday as a pinch runner. Expect him to return right after the ASB.
Lonnie Chisenhall (cheek): A game after he hit his first major league HR, Chisenhall fractured a bone under his cheek after he was hit by a pitch. Look for Chisenhall to return soon after the break, as the Indians need his power bat in the lineup.
J.J. Putz (elbow): Putz has been on the DL with a sore elbow, but looked good in a throwing session on Friday. He followed Friday up with another good session Sunday and the D-Backs are expected to activate him right after the ASB. Owners may need to realise that Putz may not throw back-to-back days when he first returns from the DL, so David Hernandez may still be in line for some saves for the next few weeks.
Shin-Soo Choo (thumb): Choo recently had his cast taken off his thumb and will undergo extensive rehabilitation. The Indians are hoping that Choo will be able to return by mid-to-late August. My prediction is that Choo’s dedication to his rehab will be intensive and that he will return sooner rather than later (expect early August). The Indians will continue to use Shelley Duncan and Travis Buck in Choo’s absence. Neither player is worth a pickup.
Clay Buchholz (back): Buchholz went for a third opinion last week on his ailing back and was told that surgery would not be necessary. He received a cortisone shot and will continue his rehab over the ASB. He is hoping to return soon after the ASB, but be wary, as backs are very precarious and a slight tweak may set Buchholz back for weeks. The Red Sox will be very cautious with Buchholz, as should all Fantasy owners.
Carl Crawford (hamstring): The big free agent signing of the off-season, Crawford has been out since mid-June with a strained hamstring. He has been improving steadily and will use the ASB to continue his rehab. He recently has been running the bases at full speed and the Red Sox are expected to activate him from the DL as soon as next Thursday.
Josh Beckett (knee): Beckett was forced out of Friday’s game, as he appeared to hyperextend his knee after slipping on the pitching mound against Baltimore. He will throw a session on Sunday and then determine if he will be able to pitch at the All-Star game. Look for the Red Sox to be very conservative with Beckett. With both Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester (strained lat) on the DL, the Red Sox can ill afford to lose another starter to the DL.
Denard Span (concussion): Span finally ran the bases the other day and looks to be over his concussion. The next step in his recovery is taking batting practice. Once he appears ready, he will go on a rehab assignment and return to the Twins lineup. With continued improvement, Span could be back as soon as the end of next week. Span’s return creates a bit of a log jam in the Twins’ outfield, but Manager Ron Gardenhire has confirmed that he would like Span and Ben Revere to get as much playing time as possible when all the players are back and healthy.
Jose Reyes (hamstring): Reyes was placed on the DL and is expected to return as early as July 22. He has not yet begun to run at full speed, but he is hitting, which is a very good sign for Reyes owners.
Ike Davis (ankle): Davis successfully ran on the treadmill the other day, giving all his owners a glimmer of hope that he can return this season. However, running on a treadmill is only the first step in his rehab and he needs to prove that he can withstand all weight bearing activity on his ankle.
Johan Santana (shoulder): Santana threw some fastballs and some changeups in a side session this past weekend. He has yet to throw from a mound, so until he does, don’t expect him to go on a rehab assignment.
David Wright (back): July 22 looks to be a big day in the Big Apple as both Jose Reyes and David Wright are expected back from their respective injuries. Wright will begin a rehab assignment next week and is hoping to get around 30 ABs before being activated from the DL.
Dr. Roto’s Orders: Remember, don’t be your own physician; make sure to schedule your appointment with those who can help you.
Dr. Roto is a Fantasy Sports Writer & On Air Personality. A subject of a UPN newscast for guiding numerous Fantasy Sports participants to league titles, Dr. Roto has answered over 10,000 Fantasy MLB, NFL and NBA questions over the past two decades. You may email Dr. Roto directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @DrRoto
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