THE BIG HURT: Hurt file, July 31-August 5

NOTE: The focus of this column is 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 (July 24-29)


August 5, 2019

Danny Salazar (RHP, CLE) – Groin strain (8/1/19)
This has to be frustrating. The man hadn’t pitched in two years and in his first game back, he strains his groin. It’s believed to be a mild strain, but it will still keep him out for a bit.
2019 Impact: High risk; Risk of recurrence
Est. Return: Late August

Aaron Hicks (OF, NYY) – R forearm, flexor strain (8/4/19)
An arm injury like this is obviously less of a big deal for a position player, but that doesn’t speed up the healing time by much. He’ll likely be shut down from throwing for a couple of weeks; at that point, a clearer return time will emerge. A good comp here is Justin Morneau, who missed five weeks in 2016 with a similar injury.
2019 Impact: Variable return time
Est. Return: Early/mid-September (best estimate)

Howie Kendrick (2B, WAS) – L hamstring strain (8/2/19)
Everyone you ask expects him to return in the minimum 10 days. That certainly indicates that it’s a mild strain, but that’s not a guarantee that he’ll return in the minimum. Plus, re-injury risk and all.
2019 Impact: Elevated risk; Risk of recurrence
Est. Return: Late August

Andrelton Simmons (SS, LAA) – L foot soreness (8/2/19)
It sounds like they haven’t made a definitive diagnosis, but this is the same foot where he suffered a severe sprain earlier in the year, so it’s likely related. It could be anything from simple tendinitis to a re-injury, so we will have to wait for the medicos to check him out. We’ll assume the least bad for now.
2019 Impact: Unknown extent; Elevated risk
Est. Return: Late August (best estimate)

Edwin Encarnacion (DH, NYY) – R wrist fracture (8/2/19)
This could all but end his value as a hitter for 2019. He could return in early September (mid-September is more likely), but his power may take longer to recover.
2019 Impact: Potential for reduced effectiveness when he returns
Est. Return: Early/mid-September

Byron Buxton (OF, MIN) – L shoulder subluxation (8/1/19)
The typical recovery time is 3-5 weeks, which fits what the team is saying. He’ll be re-evaluated in two weeks, and a clearer timetable will emerge at that point.
2019 Impact: Variable return time
Est Return: Early September (best estimate)


August 3, 2019

David Dahl (OF, COL) – R ankle sprain (8/2/19)
This looked pretty awful on video. While this was diagnosed as a sprained ankle, based on the video, we’ll assume it’s more than a mild sprain. That would cost him most, if not all, of the remaining season. We will update if it turns out to be less severe than it appears.
2019 Impact: Unknown extent
Est. Return: Mid-/late September (best estimate)

Hyun-Jin Ryu (LHP, LA) – Neck soreness (8/2/19)
This could be a minor injury, but there’s definitely some risk here given his history. It’s not unusual for a sore neck to portend something more serious. We’ll apply Occam’s razor here and assume it’s just basic soreness.
2019 Impact: Elevated risk; possibility of more serious injury
Est. Return: Mid-August

Luke Voit (1B, NYY) – Sports hernia (7/31/19)
A sports hernia is a completely different animal from a standard abdominal hernia. Both involve damage to the soft tissues in the abdomen, but that’s about all they have in common. The most likely culprit in a typical sports hernia is a separation or tearing of the tendons that connect the lower oblique to the pelvic bone. It’s not yet known whether he needs surgery, which would be a longer recovery. Our estimate assumes no surgery for now.
2019 Impact: Unknown extent
Est. Return: Mid-/late September (best estimate)

Yoan Moncada (2B, CHW) – R hamstring strain (7/30/19)
This looks like a basic hammy, diagnosed as a Grade 1 strain. The usual caveats about re-injury apply.
2019 Impact: Elevated risk; risk of recurrence
Est. Return: Mid-August

Jake Arrieta (RHP, PHI) – R elbow, bone spur (??) UPDATE
We previously discussed his injury here. He had his most recent start cut short because his elbow was in a “tough spot” during the game. How much longer he can continue is an unknown, but if the over/under is two starts, we’ll take the under.
2019 Impact: Extreme risk; high probability of missing the rest of the season; high probability of reduced effectiveness
Est. Return: Next week, maybe

Jameson Taillon (RHP, PIT) – R forearm strain (5/3/19) UPDATE
He needs surgery to repair the flexor tendon, and a second Tommy John is not out of the question. Assuming it’s just the flexor tendon, he’ll be back in 2020, with an outside chance of being ready for the start of the regular season. Given his history of arm troubles, you should count in him for nothing going forward.
2019 Impact: Out for the season
2020 Impact: Code Red risk
Est. Return: April-May 2020


July 31, 2019

Kenneth Giles (RHP, TOR) – R elbow inflammation (7/29/19)
So he missed about a week in July with a nerve issue that was ostensibly the result of a massage. He's missed a couple more games now, which suggests that this is more than a minor issue. We could see another week of "day-to-day," but there's also an excellent chance he hits the IL and misses 2-3 weeks. There's even a small chance that there's a significant problem that's just being discovered, though the MRI he had didn't indicate anything, so it's a low probability. He had a cortisone shot, which may take a few days to really take effect. We'll project that he won't need IL time for now.
2019 Impact: Very high risk; unknown extent
Est. Return: August 3-6 (best estimate)

Dwight Smith (OF, BAL) – L calf strain (7/29/19)
This is difficult to diagnose. It looked pretty serious on Saturday when he first injured it, but he felt well enough to pinch-hit on Monday, so it's likely a minor injury. However, there's a risk that it's more serious. We'll err on the less-serious side for now.
2019 Impact: Elevated risk; risk of recurrence
Est. Return: Mid-/late August

Max Scherzer (RHP, WAS) – R back/shoulder (rhomboid) strain (7/25/19) UPDATE
There's not much in the way of news on Scherzer, though he was placed on the IL since our write-up on Monday and manager Dave Martinez strongly hinted it would be more than a minimum stay. We had hedged his return time since the team was so hesitant to place him on the IL, but we will now project this as a minor (likely Grade 1) strain. The risk is a lot higher here due to his age and the fact that it's a second problem in the same area. There is a non-zero chance that there's something serious here that could keep him out until the playoffs (or beyond), but we're not at all close to panic time yet.
2019 Impact: High risk; risk of recurrence; possibility of more serious underlying injury
Est. Return: Mid-/late August

Josh James (RHP, HOU) – R shoulder soreness (7/28/19)
The reports include "no structural damage," which means little. There's clearly something wrong; whether it's just fatigue leading to poor mechanics or something worse is the question. He'll likely get a couple of weeks to rest and then work back up to pitching. We'll project a quick return, but where there's shoulder pain, there's a big ol' bucket of risk.
2019 Impact: High risk; unknown extent
Est. Return: Mid-August

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