Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Baseball Injury Updates & Fantasy Impact - Week 2

Each week, FSE takes a look at the key injuries affecting fantasy baseball owners and offers updates, projected return times and the impending fantasy implications.

Bats

Curtis Granderson (Broken Right Hand) – Granderson began taking swings yesterday for the first time in two and a half weeks and will continue to do so as long as there is no swelling in his hand.

Fantasy Impact: Fantasy owners and the surprisingly feeble Tigers lineup are both hoping for a speedy recovery.

Projected Return: Late April

Jorge Posada (Shoulder) – When your catcher is saying things like “I am not 100 percent” or “It’s dead, no strength” in regards to his throwing shoulder you have a problem. The Royals ran all over Posada before he left the game and he will have further tests to gauge the severity of the injury.

Fantasy Impact: When healthy, Posada is a top 5 catcher, however, he is 37 years old and injuries are bound to occur. A DL stint is very likely here as the Yanks will probably play it safe with their veteran backstop.

Projected Return: 2 Weeks

Derek Jeter (Quad) – Jeter’s quad continues to sideline him, however, the Yankee captain has said he will be back for Friday’s game at Boston.

Fantasy Impact: Like Granderson, the Yankees and fantasy owners alike can’t wait to have him back.

Projected Return: We take Jeter at his word around these parts – Friday vs. Boston.

Michael Cuddyer (Finger) – Cuddyer visited a hand specialist as he recovers from a dislocated right index finger.

Fantasy Impact: With Cuddyer out, Jason Kubel will be guaranteed at-bats in either RF or DH nearly every night. He has decent power potential and is worth a look.

Projected Return: Early May

Scott Rolen (Finger) – Is making good progress as he recovers from a broken finger and is on track to return by the end of the month.

Fantasy Impact: With Rolen back, Marco Scutaro will return to the bench. In other words, there isn’t much impact to discuss here.

Projected Return: 2-3 Weeks

Arms

JJ Putz (Ribcage) – Although he is eligible to come off the DL in 8 days, the team is not sure if Putz will be able to return to action that quickly. Putz will test out his strained ribcage by throwing in the outfield this afternoon at which point we will know more about the extent of his injury.

Fantasy Impact: After Mark Lowe flopped in the ninth inning, the team turned to Ryan Rowland-Smith to close the door on the Rays and he came through with an impressive 5 out save. The Mariners insist that they will use a closer by committee system while Putz is out, but right now the edge has to go to Rowland-Smith as the best source of cheap saves in the M’s bullpen.

Projected Return: 2 Weeks

BJ Ryan (Elbow) – Pitched well on 2-days rest in Class A ball. He will continue to rehab in the minors to build up strength in his pitching shoulder.

Fantasy Impact: Jeremy Accardo who amassed 30 saves with Ryan injured last season will continue to close. He has shown that he is more than capable of working the 9th and is a great fantasy option while Ryan is out.

Projected Return: Late April

Chad Cordero (Shoulder) – The Chief will begin a Class A rehab assignment tonight and should be ready to make his season debut this weekend against the Braves.

Fantasy Impact: With Cordero back, Jon Rauch will return to his role as the Nationals’ primary 8th inning setup man.

Projected Return: Friday vs. Atlanta

Orlando Hernandez ( Foot Pain) – El Duque returned to New York for MRIs on his ailing left foot; the same foot that was bothering him during Spring Training.

Fantasy Impact: With Duque and Pedro both out, Mike Pelfrey and Nelson Figuerro will serve as the Mets 4th and 5th starters. If either should struggle, the Mets may turn there attention to the free agent market which includes the recently released Claudio Vargas and Robinson Tejada.

Projected Return: Late April – Early May

Matt Garza (Arm) – Garza was forced to leave his start against Seattle early on Tuesday due to an irritated nerve in his pitching arm.

Fantasy Impact: With Garza out, Jeff Niemann looks primed to snag the 5th starter role while the ever-improving Edwin Jackson will have additional time to secure a role in the Rays rotation.
Projected Return: Early-Mid May

Doug Davis (Thyroid Cancer) – Davis will undergo treatment for Thyroid Cancer and is out indefinitely.

Fantasy Impact: Randy Johnson is currently on class AAA rehab assignment and the team says he will be ready to make his season debut in Davis’ spot on April 14.

Projected Return: Mid May

Yovani Gallardo (Knee) – Out since March following arthroscopic knee surgery, Gallardo threw 90 pitches in his recent rehab start and looks ready to return to the Brewers’ rotation.

Fantasy Impact: Gallardo’s impending return means the Brewers will have some choices to make in regards to their starting rotation. Manny Parra and Carlos Villanueva have both looked very good thus far in the 4 and 5 slots. Thus, I wouldn’t be surprised if Dave Bush is the odd man out of the rotation when Gallardo returns and is moved into a long relief role.

Projected Return: April 19th at Cincinnati

Joel Pineiro (Shoulder) – Pineiro was strong in his last rehab outing Tuesday and looks to be on a fast track back to the Majors.

Fantasy Impact: Pineiro was strong towards the end of last season and given the success of the Cardinals staff here in the early season, he could be a nice sleeper candidate going forward. Take a flier on the righty in AL-only and deeper mixed leagues, the talent is there.

Projected Return: Next Week

Shawn Hill (Forearm) – Hill was impressive in his final Class A rehab start pitching 5 scoreless innings and touching 90-91 mph on the radar gun which is normal velocity for his fastball.

Fantasy Impact: Hill has a ton of talent but he is always hurt. Keep an eye on the Nats’ defacto ace as he can be a strong play in favorable matchups and may eventually be a decent fantasy contributor.

Projected Return: Sunday vs. Atlanta

Bartolo Colon (Oblique) – Colon will miss his next minor league start with an oblique injury.

Fantasy Impact: Clay Buchholz looks safe for a few more major league starts.

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