THE BIG HURT: Hurt file, April 26-May 1

One difficulty in evaluating injuries is that teams don’t release all relevant information. That leaves us guessing somewhat, trying to diagnose the extent of an injury based on the team’s timeline estimate or the player’s description of his symptoms. In addition, while teams may provide an estimated return date, they rarely discuss the distribution of possible outcomes, nor do they talk about risk of recurrence.

This uncertainty is a common theme running through the current crop of players we’re evaluating. We simply don’t know the severity of the injury, though we can piece things together.  In most cases, that should be enough to get a good picture, at least.

We’re hardly complaining. If teams did give you all of the details up front, there would be no Big Hurt to write.

Last week: April 19-24



Noah Syndergaard (RHP, NYM) - R Lat, torn muscle (5/1/17)
The lat is the largest muscle in the back, and a tear could certainly explain the biceps soreness he'd been experiencing. As with many of these things, everything hinges on the severity of the injury. The fact that the team is calling it a tear and not a pull or a strain suggests that it's not a minor injury. It's being compared to Steven Matz's (LHP, NYM) 2015 injury, which took two months to heal, but that may or may not be a fair comparison. A Grade 1-2 tear could take 2-3 months, again depending on the severity. In any case, he's out for a while.
2017 Impact: Unknown
Est. Return:
Post All-Star break (best estimate)


May 1, 2017

Troy Tulowitzki (SS, TOR) – R Hamstring strain (4/20/17)
We had hoped to avoid discussing Tulowitzki, figuring a Tulo injury was a bit of a cliché. Even a mild strain can take 3-4 weeks to heal. He’s not ready to come off the DL, and will probably need another week or two.
2017 Impact: His risk was already very high
Est. Return: Mid-May

Pablo Sandoval (3B, BOS) – R Knee, sprain (4/23/17)
Typical recovery time from a mild sprain is 2-4 weeks. Despite early reports of progress, he’s going to go beyond the minimum 10 days. He should be fully healed at about the six-week point.
2017 Impact: Minimal
Est. Return: Mid-May

Aaron Sanchez (RHP, TOR) – Finger, R Hand, split nail (4/30/17)
Sanchez lasted one inning in his return from a blister problem. He split the nail on the same finger, where about a quarter of the nail had been removed. There is no word from the Blue Jays, but it’s unlikely he makes his next start. That might put him back on the DL.
2017 Impact: Elevated risk; good chance of recurring issues
Est. Return: Early/Mid-May (best estimate)

Adam Eaton (OF, WAS) – L Knee, torn ACL, torn meniscus (4/28/17)
The verdict is in, and Eaton has a complete tear of his ACL and a torn meniscus, which will require surgery. He’s obviously done for the season, but should be ready to go by spring training.
2017 Impact: Out for season
Est. Return: 2018

C.J. Cron (1B, LAA) – L Foot, bruise (4/28/17)
The Angels have ruled out a fracture, but haven’t said much about the extent of the injury. Barring more information, the best we can do is estimate.
2017 Impact: Minimal
Est. Return: Mid-May

Felix Hernandez (RHP, SEA) – R Shoulder, bursitis (4/26/17)
Bursitis is a repetitive-motion injury and rest is the primary treatment. The team is estimating 3-4 weeks, which should include the necessary rehab time. Recurrence of bursitis is common, so he’s a risk even when he returns.
2017 Impact: Elevated risk; risk of recurrence; possible reduced effectiveness
Est. Return: Late May

Madison Bumgarner (LHP, SF) – L shoulder separation (4/20/17) UPDATE
Bumgarner officially has a Grade 2 separation, which was where we set our original projection. This is a treatable injury, but he’s out for a while.
2017 Impact: Possible reduced effectiveness upon return
Est. Return: Late June


April 29, 2017

Yoenis Cespedes (OF, NYM) – L Hamstring strain (4/27/17)
His hammy has been sore for about a week now, but he pulled up lame Thursday and is now on the DL. There’s been no discussion of how severe the injury is, but he’ll need 2-3 weeks at a minimum. The Mets are not known for handling injuries well, and if he comes back before he’s fully healed there’s a decent chance of recurrence, usually within the first couple of weeks.
2017 Impact: Elevated risk, especially 2-3 weeks after return
Est. Return: Mid/late May

Cam Bedrosian (RHP, LAA) – Groin strain (4/22/17)
The Angels haven’t said much about the severity of the strain, but he hasn’t begun throwing a week after hitting the DL. This is not a terrible surprise, as we’d expect a minimum of three weeks to recover. With no better information, we’ll assume the minimum.
2017 Impact: Elevated risk; risk of recurrence, especially early in his return
Est. Return: Mid/late May

Travis Jankowski (OF, SD) – R Foot, bone bruise or fracture (4/23/17)
The team doctors aren’t sure if Jankowski suffered a fracture or a deep bone bruise, but that distinction doesn’t change his outlook significantly. Given the severity of the injury and the fact that speed is an important part of his game, we’re going to estimate on the high side of the recovery time.
2017 Impact: Possible reduced effectiveness
Est. Return: Early/mid-June

Shelby Miller (RHP, ARI) – R Elbow, UCL tear (4/23/17) UPDATE
Remember last week when we said a visit to Dr. ElAttrache didn’t necessarily mean Tommy John surgery was in the cards? Well, sometimes it does. Miller is weighing his options, which presumably include PRP or stem cell therapy, ala Garrett Richards (DL, LAA). Either way, the odds are that he’s done for the season.
2017 Impact: His season is likely over
Est. Return: 2018

Andre Ethier (OF, LA) – Back, herniated disk (3/18/17) UPDATE
We haven’t said anything about Ethier up to this point because the ongoing news pretty much said it for us. Now, however, he’s behind original projections and his timetable has been pushed back to June. We have to recognize that he’s 35 and that disk problems are chronic and difficult to treat. Basically, he needs to rest his back until the pain subsides. There’s no way to know for sure how long that will take.
2017 Impact: High risk
Est. Return: Mid-June. Maybe.


April 26, 2017

Tommy Hunter (RHP, TAM) – R Calf strain (4/22/17)
Based on his description (felt like a snakebite), Hunter probably suffered a Grade 2 strain. The Rays have also said he could be out until mid-June. The timetable for a Grade 2 strain is 4-8 weeks, so the two facts fit.
2017 Impact: Risk of recurrence
Est. Return: Mid-June

Joc Pederson (OF, LA) – Groin strain (4/23/17)
This appears to be a minor injury, probably a Grade 1 strain. Recovery is typically 2-3 weeks. That’s a good place to put our expectations. As with most muscle strains, there is a risk of recurrence if he comes back too soon.
2017 Impact: Risk of recurrence
Est. Return: Mid-May

Shelby Miller (RHP, ARI) – R Arm, forearm tightness (4/23/17)
Miller will visit Dr. ElAttrache (the West Coast version of Dr. Andrews) for a second opinion. Contrary to some opinions, this is not a harbinger of doom. Yes, his symptoms are consistent with UCL damage, and TJS is a real possibility, but it’s still on the low end of probability. Our current estimate is the best-case scenario until we get more information.
2017 Impact: Potential significant loss of playing time
Est. Return: Early June, best-case

Aaron Nola (RHP, PHI) – Back stiffness (4/21/17)
This appears to be a minor thing, probably just fatigue and perhaps due to pitching in cool weather. The team thinks he’ll miss one or two starts, and he’s eligible to come off on May 1. There’s little risk of an extended absence.
2017 Impact: Minimal
Est. Return: May 1-3

Adam Frazier (OF, PIT) – L Hamstring strain (4/23/17)
There’s no information about the severity of his injury. For now, we’ll assume it’s no worse than a Grade 1, which would put him out 2-4 weeks. We’ll update as more information is released.
2017 Impact: Risk of recurrence
Est. Return: Mid-May

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