Friday, May 9, 2008

Injury Updates and Fantasy Impact - Week 6

Each week, FSE takes a look at the key players on the DL and offers updates, projected return times and the resulting fantasy implications.

Back This Weekend

Jimmy Rollins (sprained left ankle) - Rollins has missed the last month with a nagging ankle injury. However, he looked good in a rehab start on Wednesday and was activated tonight and is hitting leadoff for the Phillies.

Fantasy Impact: Get him back in your lineups immediately. Rollins is an all-around fantasy weapon. 

Rich Harden (strained shoulder) - After missing a month with a strained throwing shoulder, Rich Harden will make his return Sunday at Texas.

Fantasy Impact: Harden has fared well in his two starts this season, allowing only 1 ER in 11 innings of work. He'll look to pick up where he left off against the Rangers. With Harden back, Chad Gaudin will move to the Oakland bullpen.

See You Next Week

Alex Rodriguez (quad) - A-Rod took swings and fielding practice at the Yankees minor league complex Friday and came away feeling good.

Fantasy Impact: The Yankees don't want to rush A-Rod back but are sorely missing his bat in the lineup. He is eligible to return May 14 against Tampa and you would figure that both the player and team will be pushing for him to return that day. With A-Rod back, Morgan Ensberg and Wilson Betemit are mercifully taken off the fantasy radar. 

Projected Return: Wednesday May 14 at Tampa

John Lackey (triceps) - Lackey looked strong in his 4th and final rehab start Friday, throwing 88 pitches in an extended spring training game.

Fantasy Impact: The Angels ace is scheduled to make his return Wednesday against the White Sox and looks like a good start. Lackey's return means rookie Nick Adenhart's short stint in the Angels rotation is over.

Projected Return: Wednesday May 14th vs. Chicago White Sox

Josh Willingham (Back) - The Hammer was forced to the DL after his chronic back problems flared up last week. According to Willingham, he has had back problems since 2006 and they tend to flare up once or twice a year without warning.

Fantasy Impact: The Hammer was on a tear before he went on the DL hitting .340 with 6 HR and 18 RBI over the first month of the season. He has told anyone who will listen that he will come off the DL the first day he is eligible, May 13th. However, he hasn't swung a bat in two weeks and this could just be wishful thinking on his part. Either way, expect Willingham to be a bit rusty upon his return and may not be the best play in week 7. 

Projected Return: Tuesday May 13 at Cincinnati, possibly later.

Getting Closer...

Wandy Rodriguez (groin) - Rodriguez threw a bullpen session without incident on Thursday and is now scheduled for another on Saturday. If all goes well, Rodriguez will pitch a simulated game in San Francisco next week before starting a rehab assignment.

Fantasy Impact: Rodriguez was pitching really well before leaving his April 19th start with  a groin injury. Through four starts, Rodriguez is 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. More impressively, Wandy has struck out 24 batters in 23 1/3 innings of work while only allowing 5 walks. He has great potential going forward and is a prime DL stash candidate.

Projected Return: Late May

Return Pushed Back...

Howie Kendrick (Hamstring) - Kendrick, who is on a Class A rehab assignment, appeared on track to return to the Angels lineup next week. However, he felt his hamstring stiffen and was forced to miss Wednesday's rehab game. He will be reevaluated before returning to his rehab assignment.

Fantasy Impact: Tough blow for fantasy owners who were looking forward to getting Kendrick's consistent back into the lineup. Kendrick was hitting an even .500 (18/36) before getting hurt and is a great breakout candidate at second base. Stash him on the DL and wait out this nagging hamstring injury.

Projected Return: Late May

Updates From The Shelf...

- After going an unimpressive 2-2 with a 6.66 ERA in 5 rehab starts, Mark Mulder was shut down with a mild rotator cuff strain. Mulder was on schedule to return in mid-may, but is now out until mid-June at the earliest.

-  Orlando Hernandez had his the protective boot removed from his injured right foot Tuesday and can now resume jogging and throwing. The plan is to get him ready for rehab assignments soon; however, no definitive time table has been set.

- Pedro Martinez threw 60 pitches at the Mets spring training complex Friday. No time table has been set for Martinez's rehab starts or return to the majors. A late may rehab assignment followed by an early June return are the optimistic estimates.

- Jorge Posada took batting practice from both sides of the plate for the first time since being sidelined with rotator cuff tendinitis April 28th. The Yankees backstop could begin throwing early next week and is expected to miss at least another month.

- Dontrelle Willis who's been out since April 11th with a hyperextended knee was removed from his rehab start earlier this week due to pain in his injured knee. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen session this weekend and be reevaluated. Don't expect to see the D-Train in the Majors until June.

See You Next Year...

- Yovani Gallardo will have surgery on a torn ligament in his left knee and miss the rest of the 2008 season. The 22 year old phenom looked great in his three starts and this is certainly a tough blow who took a chance on Gallardo in the middle rounds of the draft. Dave Bush will fill his spot for now; however, with a majority of their Brewers rotation struggling some changes might be on the way.

- Twins setup man and holds specialist Pat Neshek is done for the season after an MRI showed a partial ligament tear in the reliever's throwing elbow. Matt Guerrier stands in line to see more work in the 8th inning with Neshek out.

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