THE BIG HURT: Hurt file, April 18-23

NOTE: As a general rule, this column focuses on analysis, so we don't cover the progress of every injured player. We try to highlight the key fantasy contributors, unusual injuries, or situations where the official projected return is variable or not given. Players whose progress is proceeding as expected are very well covered by fantasy news sources; we'll tend to leave those players alone unless we have something we want to add to the news coverage. This column is updated on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Mondays. 

Last week’s column (April 11-16)


April 23, 2018

Ben Zobrist (2B, CHC) – Back tightness (4/17/18)
There’s really no word as to the nature of his injury. Most likely, it’s a mild strain that will clear up with rest. However, there’s a chance that there’s an underlying problem. We wouldn’t expect him to be out long, but his risk is definitely greater.
2018 Impact: Elevated risk; Potential for longer DL stay than projected
Est. Return: Early May

Hunter Pence (OF, SF) – R thumb sprain (4/13/18)
He tried to work through it, but the pain was too much. This is an interesting case, as thumb sprains can often take 4-6 weeks, yet it apparently wasn’t bad enough for an immediate DL move. We’ll shade the return time a bit. There is some threat to whatever power he has left if he’d not fully healed when we returns. Which is likely.
2018 Impact: Potential for reduced power when he first returns
Est. Return: Early/mid-May

Hunter Renfroe (OF, SD) – R elbow inflammation (4/14/18?)
It’s not clear exactly when this began or how it started, but he’s apparently been playing through pain for a while and—most concerning—his elbow had not responded to a cortisone shot. This could really be anything, but give the level of pain, we’re going to project a few weeks on the DL as a starting point.
2018 Impact: Elevated risk; Potential for longer DL stay than projected
Est. Return: Mid-May

Anthony Rendon (3B, WAS) – L foot, bruised toe (4/13/18)
Yet another player held out for a while before hitting the DL. In this case, he hasn’t recovered from fouling a pitch off his toe. X-rays showed no fracture, but it’s likely he suffered a minor bone bruise. That could mean a couple of more weeks on the DL. We’ll update as more information comes out.
2018 Impact: Elevated risk; Potential for longer DL stay than projected
Est. Return: Mid-May


April 21, 2018

Rich Hill (LHP, LA) – L hand, cracked fingernail (4/14/18)
Finger issues continue to affect him, and while this latest injury probably isn’t a big deal, trends are trends. There are risk factors for blisters and cracked nails, such as tightness of his grip, so it can’t be explained away as randomness.
2018 Impact: He was pretty high risk already; this reinforces it
Est. Return: Late April

Byron Buxton (OF, MIN) – Migraines (4/17/18)
He’s admitted that he gets migraines regularly—about once a month—so this increases his overall risk. He is taking medication, but migraines are not well understood, so medication is not always fully therapeutic. Changes in sleep cycles—say, due to heavy travel—can bring on migraines, so the team is likely giving him time to re-establish his normal routine.
2018 Impact: Elevated risk
Est. Return: Late April

Xander Bogaerts (SS, BOS) – L ankle fracture (4/8/18) UPDATE
We first covered his injury last week. The team’s original estimate of 10-14 days felt optimistic, and we’re at Day 12 with no definitive return date announced. He’s progressing just fine; frankly, we wouldn’t be writing about him in a busier week. He has yet to do anything beyond drills, so expect another week at the least, which is in line with our initial estimate.
2018 Impact: Potential for reduced effectiveness when he first returns
Est. Return: Late April/Early May


April 18, 2018

Josh Harrison (2B/3B, PIT) – L hand, fracture (4/15/18)
He broke the fifth metacarpal, which is in the palm of the hand and is an extension of the pinky. It doesn’t appear to be a complex injury, but any residual soreness could affect him. The fracture is right where the hand rests on the knob of the bat, so it does take some stress on the swing. Expect some potential lingering effects.
2018 Impact: Potential reduced production when he first returns
Est. Return: Early June

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Kevin Kiermaier (OF, TAM) – L thumb, torn ligament (4/15/18)
This is a similar injury to Mike Trout’s thumb injury last year. However, it appears to be a much worse injury, as the team is estimating 8-12 weeks (Trout returned in six weeks). To put that in perspective, 16 hitters have torn a thumb ligament in the past six years, and only one (Jed Lowrie) took longer than 10 weeks to return. It’s his bottom hitting hand, so there’s less concern about loss of power. However, predictions that he'll fall on the lengthier end of the DL range are likely factoring in the impact on his throwing, since this is his throwing hand (and Trout's was not).
2018 Impact: Variable recovery time; some chance of reduced production when he returns
Est. Return: Late June

Jacoby Ellsbury (OF, NYY) – Plantar fasciitis, R oblique strain, hip (3/2/18, 4/2/18, 4/15/18) UPDATE
We covered the last two injuries here. He was apparently close to returning—again—when the fasciitis flared up. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the ligament that runs from the front of the heel bone to the base of the toes, fanning out under the foot. The inflammation is usually due to extra stress placed on the fascia, often from a tight calf muscle, though it can also be caused by bone spurs in the heel. It is not an easy fix—it involves slow, repeated stretching of both the fascia itself and the muscles in the foot and lower leg. There’s no timetable from the team, so we’re going on average recovery times here.
2018 Impact: Red-line level risk
Est. Return: Late May


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