THE BIG HURT: Hurt file, April 5-10

This column will be patterned after the Daily Call-Ups column, though it will be updated three times a week (Wednesday, Saturday, and Monday) unless there's breaking news to discuss. We obviously can't cover every injury here, so we'll base our coverage on both fantasy relevance and the injury itself. For example, we're not going to tell you that someone's 6th starter needs Tommy John surgery—that has low relevance and there's little analysis needed. Instead, we'll talk mostly about key fantasy players and injuries that need more explanation than "he'll be out 4-6 weeks."

Our primary focus will be data-driven: What's the typical recovery time? What are the odds that it turns into something worse? How effective is the player likely to be upon returning? Of course, we can only speak in terms of averages and distribution of outcomes—not only is each injury unique, but teams don't often release detailed medical records, so it's difficult to get and accurate assessment sometimes. Still, but properly assessing risk, you should gain an advantage on your fantasy opponents.

We covered some key spring training injuries in our column last week. We won't discuss those players unless there's an update. Injuries will be listed in roughly chronological order, with the most recent on top. Updates will be at the end.

Note that the "impact" assessment will only mention playing time if there is an expectation that the player will have reduced PT after returning from the injury.

A complete list of current injuries and statuses can be found here.

Enough for the ground rules; on to the injuries:

 

April 10, 2017

Colin McHugh (RHP, HOU) - R Elbow impingement (4/8/17)
McHugh has been shut down for six weeks. At this point, it's impossible to tell what is causing the impingement; it might simply be excess stress on the elbow. Impingements often resolve on their own, but if there are bone spurs and loose bodies, he'll probably need surgery, which would effectively shut him down for the season. This is not a common injury, so there's little to go on to predict the odds of him returning when the six weeks are up.
2017 Impact: High risk, possibility of missing season
Est. Return: Late May if there are no further problems.

Gary Sanchez (C, NYY) - R Biceps strain (4/8/17)
The Yankees are sure that this is a muscle strain, with no damage to the tendons. While this is good news for Sanchez owners, recovery from even a mild strain could be 3-6 weeks, plus some time in rehab. That would push his return to late May. We will update as more information about the injury comes out.
2017 Impact: Minimal
Est. Return: Late May

Adeiny Hechavarria (SS, MIA) - Oblique strain (4/8/17)
Oblique strains are not serious injuries, but do take some time to recover. Given that Hechavarria tried once already and experienced more pain, the team likely will be more cautious this time. If he comes back too soon, though, there is a good chance of recurrence.
2017 Impact: Elevated risk if not given the proper time to heal
Est. Return: Early/mid-May

Alex Dickerson (OF, SD) - Back, disc protrusions (3/16/17) UPDATE
Dickerson was transferred to the 60-day DL, which means his back isn't healing as expected. This is probably a more severe injury than was initially reported, putting him (perhaps) on par with Clayton Kershaw's 2016 injury. Until and unless he needs surgery, everything depends on his progress—we can't project a distribution of outcomes.
2017 Impact: High risk
Est. Return: Mid-Late June (best estimate)

Adrian Beltre (3B, TEX) - R Calf Strain (3/27/17) UPDATE
Beltre was diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain in spring training, but that was the other calf. This is a less severe injury, but the fact that he's having problems in both calves is a concern. Expect him back soon, but treat him as a high risk due to his age and recurrent injuries.
2017 Impact: Elevated risk
Est. Return: April 14-21

 

April 8, 2017

Drew Smyly (LHP, SEA) - L Arm, flexor strain (3/31/17)
Smyly was first placed on the 10-day DL at the end of spring training, but the injury is likely more serious than first thought (or it was just DL juggling by the Mariners). This is an injury that often resolves with rest, but as we noted below for Steven Matz (LHP, NYM), there is a wide range of possible outcomes.
2017 Impact: Elevated risk; possible recurrence
Est. Return: Late May

Glen Perkins (LHP, MIN) - L Shoulder, recovery from labrum surgery (2016)
Perkins had labrum surgery in June and as anyone who's had a bad shoulder can tell you, rehab is a long road. He was never expected to be ready at the start of the season, and being placed on the 60-day DL doesn't change expectations. The Baseball Forecaster noted that there's a lot that can go wrong on the road to recovery, and that still holds true. Surprisingly, this has been a much more common injury for hitters; the only real recent comparison for Perkins is Ted Lilly in 2012, and that injury ended his career (he did attempt five starts in 2013, but was ineffective). Lilly was 37 at the time, but Perkins is 34, so the odds are not great.
2017 Impact: High risk; risk of recurrence; all bad outcomes are plausible
Est. return: Post All-Star break, in a perfect world

Garrett Richards (RHP, LAA) - R Elbow, recovery from torn UCL (2016) UPDATE (Initial Coverage)
Richards left his start on April 6 with biceps cramps and is now on the 10-day DL. To recap: He was diagnosed with a torn UCL in May 2016 and opted for a stem cell injection instead of Tommy John surgery. The UCL does not connect to the biceps in any way and the biceps muscle group isn't worked very hard during the pitching motion, so it's not likely that this is directly related to the original injury. It's not panic time; you'll have to take the news day by day for now.
2017 Impact: Unknown (he was already a high risk)
Est. return: 3-10 days (assuming there's not a hidden injury)

Anthony DeSclafani (RHP, CIN) - R Elbow soreness/UCL sprain (3/12/17) UPDATE (Initial Coverage)
When DeSclafani first received his PRP injection, the timetable was "a month at least." However, he was recently transferred to the 60-day DL so he now won't be eligible to come off the DL until mid-May. However, we stand by our July "best estimate."
2017 Impact: High risk
Est. Return: mid-July

 

April 5, 2017

Roberto Osuna (RHP, TOR) - Neck spasms (4/2/17)
This is a really tough one to call, as neck spasms are a symptom and not an injury; there are many possible causes. The most common are muscle strains, which are relatively minor and heal in about 5 weeks. However, there is a host of conditions that could be the underlying cause. There's also a risk of recurrence and continued pain if he comes back too quickly. Note that the estimated return is a bit of a guess and assumes the main problem is a neck strain.
2017 Impact: Difficult to diagnose, but likely minor if he's given the time to allow it to heal
Est. return: Early May (best guess)

Luis Valbuena (3B, LAA) - R Hamstring strain (3/23/17)
Valbuena was diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain, though it's probably somewhere between Grade 1 and 2 given the projected recovery time. This is not good news for Valbuena owners, as this is the same hamstring that required surgery in 2016. The hamstring has several muscles, so this is not necessarily a re-injury, but repeated strains may indicate that there's too much load being placed on the muscle. Hamstrings have a high recurrence rate, though most recurrence occurs within a couple of weeks of the player's return. His risk is elevated, but if he comes back in May and stays healthy for a while, we'll worry a bit less.
2017 Impact: Elevated risk; risk of recurrence
Est. return: Early May

Jorge Soler (OF, KC) - L Oblique strain (3/23/17)
Recovery from oblique strains is often lengthier than you would expect, but the oblique muscle is a heavy lifter, used to rotate the upper half of the body. This is an important motion for both pitchers and hitters, obviously. The average recovery time for hitters with a Grade 1 strain is about four weeks and the recurrence rate is low.
2017 Impact: Minimal
Est. Return: Late April

Sonny Gray (RHP, OAK) - Lat strain (3/8/17)
Strains to large muscles can be problematic, but this appears to be a minor injury and Gray is progressing well. As long as he's fully healed when he returns, this should just be a minor setback.
2017 Impact: Some rustiness early, otherwise minimal
Est. Return: Late April

Trevor Rosenthal (RHP, STL) - R Lat strain (3/5/17)
Rosenthal originally suffered the injury a month ago, then it appeared he came back too soon and it flared up. Combined with his back injury last year, this is a possible sign that he's simply putting too much stress on his body. Or it's just rotten luck. The Cardinals will likely err on the side of being too cautious the second time around, and that seems like the best course to follow.
2017 Impact: Elevated risk
Est Return: Late April/early May

Matt Duffy (3B, TAM) - L Heel, soreness (2016?)
Duffy had some pretty significant work done on and around his Achilles tendon in September, but a recent MRI shows that the heel itself is in good shape. The current diagnosis is that the calf and tendon have atrophied, which would indicate rest and rehabilitation. Depending on how severe the condition is, the rehab could last as much as 10-12 weeks, though it seems unlikely that it would require that much time.
2017 Impact: Elevated risk
Est. Return: Mid-May (best guess)

Steve Cishek (RHP, SEA) - L Hip, recovery from surgery (2016)
Cishek had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip in October. He only recently started throwing off a mound, so a stint on the DL was expected. Recurrence of labrum injuries is rather unusual, so expect him to be back once he's in baseball shape.
2017 Impact: Some rustiness early, otherwise minimal
Est. Return: Late April

Devin Mesoraco (C, CIN) - Hip/Shoulder, recovery from surgery (2016)
Mesoraco is in extended spring training as he works his way back from surgery. There's nothing physically wrong; he just needs time to get back into baseball shape.
2017 Impact: Some rustiness early, otherwise minimal
Est. Return: Late April

Steven Matz (LHP, NYM) - L Elbow, flexor tendon strain (4/3/17) - UPDATE
Matz has been battling a sore elbow, and we finally have a diagnosis. The good news is that this is often something that resolves with rest, though there is a wide range of possibilities. The Mets are targeting early May, but the average recovery for this type of injury has been about 7 weeks.
2017 Impact: Elevated risk; possible recurrence
Est. Return: Mid-May


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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.