THE BIG HURT: Hurt file, June 19-24

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 (June 12-17)


June 24, 2019

Ketel Marte (SS, ARI) – Groin injury (6/22/19)
It’s being described as cramping, but that could really mean spasms, which suggests an injury. There’s a good chance he’s headed to the IL, and that would keep him out past the All-Star break. For now, we’ll project a quick return, but be aware of the risks.
2019 Impact: Elevated risk; possible IL trip
Est. Return: June 24-27 (best estimate)

Jordan Hicks (RHP, STL) – R elbow, triceps tendinitis (6/22/19)
Yes, this is bad, though it’s not panic time yet. The average recovery for just tendinitis is 2-3 weeks, but this is something that is often a sign of something more serious. We’re going to project the 2-3 weeks right now even though the team is saying it may only be a few days. Buying shares of Carlos Martinez (RHP, STL) is a good idea.
2019 Impact: High risk; possibility of more serious injury
Est. Return: Post All-Star break (best estimate)

Gregory Polanco (OF, PIT) – R shoulder inflammation (6/16/19)
This may not be related to his 2018 surgery, but it probably is. If it is, there are two likely outcomes: The shoulder may just be overworked, as it likely wasn’t back to 100% when he returned. In that case, he will probably miss 1-4 weeks. The second possibility is a re-injury or some part of the shoulder that wasn’t fully repaired the first time around (recall, it was a very extensive injury). That would take significantly longer, and possibly the rest of the season. We’ll hope for the best here.
2019 Impact: Red alert; variable return time
Est. Return: Mid-/late July (best estimate)

Diego Castillo (RHP, TAM) – R shoulder inflammation (6/22/19)
Ah, yes, another shoulder. We’ll have a similar opinion here as usual: This could be the result of fatigue or overuse, but there’s a chance that there’s something more serious going on. We have 170 instances of pitchers with shoulder inflammation in our database (2012-2018); the median recovery is 3-4 weeks. About 40% require a month or more and about 10% are season-ending injuries. We’ll go with the 3-4 weeks for now.
2019 Impact: High risk; variable return time; unknown extent
Est. Return: Mid-/late July

Sean Manaea (LHP, OAK) – L shoulder, recovery from surgery; Oblique strain (Oct. 2018, 6/20/19) UPDATE
We did say “barring any setbacks” when we pegged him for a July return. The oblique strain is a setback, though likely a minor one. Obliques can be stubborn healers, so this could still set him back a bit. Plus, he may have to ramp up his throwing program again. We’re going to add few weeks or so at this point.
2019 Impact: Still very high risk
Est. Return: Early/mid-August, probably no earlier


June 22, 2019

Mitch Garver (C, MIN) – L heel soreness (6/20/19)
It’s very hard, obviously, to guess the source of pain when “heel soreness” is the entire description of the injury, but we can try. The most common cause of heel pain is plantar fasciitis, though Achilles tendinitis is also fairly common. The latter condition can resolve in as little in a day or two, but fasciitis is not as easy to deal with. We’ll project a short absence for now but be aware of the risks.
2019 Impact: Elevated risk
Est. Return: June 22-24 (best estimate)

Mike Clevinger (RHP, CLE) – L ankle sprain (6/17/19)
His return from the IL lasted but one start, though it’s a completely different injury. It took a few days for them to decide it was severe enough for an IL trip, which isn’t unusual, as you want to see what things look like once the initial swelling subsides. The recovery time is 1-6 weeks, with anything more than a month as an outlier. Looking at the video, there didn’t appear to be a lot of twisting, so we’ll go on the light side for now. However, with the All-Star break just over two weeks away, a post-break return is a significant possibility.
2019 Impact: Unknown extent
Est. Return: Late June/early July

Rich Hill (LHP, LA) – L forearm, flexor tendon strain (6/19/19)
There are several flexor tendons in the forearm; they connect the flexor muscles to the elbow on one end and to the fingers on the other. Given the description of his symptoms, it sounds like this injury is nearer to the elbow. Tendons can heal on their own, but it’s a slow process, as the blood flow isn’t the same as in muscle tissue. He won’t even pick up a baseball for about a month, and at that point he won’t be doing any real throwing. The most likely scenario is that he returns in September with a reduced workload that gets him ready for the playoffs. That’s much more help to Dodgers fans than to fantasy GMs.
2019 Impact: Extended absence; Likely drop in production when he returns
Est. Return: Late August/Early September

Adalberto Mondesi (SS, KC) – Groin strain (6/18/19)
This is a tough injury for a speed guy. The official estimate is oddly specific: 12 days. That would indicate that it’s a very mild strain, though even mild strains can take up to three weeks. He’ll be gone through the end of June, and there’s a good chance he stays out until past the All-Star break. There’s a high risk of recurrence and he’ll probably curtail his running somewhat for a couple of weeks after his return. On the bright side, we spelled “Adalberto” correctly on the first try.
2019 Impact: Elevated risk; High risk of recurrence; Reduced output when he first returns
Est. Return: Early July

Trevor Story (SS, COL) – R thumb sprain (6/19/19)
Sprained thumbs can heal in as little as 10 days, though the median recovery is about three weeks. About 25% go a month or more, so there’s some chance of an extended absence. He’s due for more testing, which should help clarify the situation. For now, we’ll project the median.
2019 Impact: Unknown extent; Potential for reduced power when he first returns
Est. Return: Mid-July (best estimate)

Pablo Lopez (RHP, MIA) – R shoulder strain (6/15/19)
Shoulder strains are tough to prognosticate. First, there are a host of different muscles that could be the source of the injury. Second, the shoulder is a complex joint, and apparently minor strains too often become serious issues. The median recovery is 3-5 weeks, and more than half go more than a month. We’ll go a little short on our estimate, as the Marlins are saying it’s mild (and 25% of pitchers return in under three weeks), but the distribution of outcomes here is huge.
2019 Impact: Very high risk; High chance of IL stay longer than projected
Est. Return: Post All-Star break


June 19, 2019

Hunter Pence (OF, TEX) – Groin strain (6/16/19)
Reports are that he'll be back in two weeks at the most, but that's on the optimistic side. There's a good chance that this keeps him out through the All-Star break. There's also some chance of recurrence when he first returns.
2019 Impact: Elevated risk; risk of recurrence
Est. Return: Late June/early July

Jeurys Familia (RHP, NYM) – R shoulder impingement (6/18/19)
He has a Bennett lesion in his shoulder, which is a bony deposit on a ligament at the back of the shoulder. It is often associated with rotator cuff damage. The treatment depends on the size and location of the lesion, as well as the doctor treating him. Non-surgical treatments may include rest and adjusting his throwing motion, though surgery is often indicated. Whether he has surgery or not, there's a high likelihood he's done for the season, though we're not ready to make that call yet.
2019 Impact: Extreme risk; high probability that he's done for the season
Est. Return: Mid-/late July, best-case scenario (best estimate)

Brandon Nimmo (OF, NYM) – Neck inflammation (5/21/19) UPDATE
We originally though the injury could keep him out past the All-Star break, but it turns out that even this was a touch optimistic. He won't even resume baseball activities until mid-July, which puts his return in early August at best. That's what we'll project for now.
2019 Impact: Elevated risk; variable return time
Est. Return: Early August

Justin Smoak (1B, TOR) – L quad strain (6/16/19)
We don't know the extent of the injury, but a mild strain usually heals in 1-3 weeks. We'll use that as a starting point until more information emerges.
2019 Impact: Elevated risk; unknown extent
Est. Return: Early July, possibly post All-Star break

Byron Buxton (OF, MIN) – R wrist, bruise (6/15/19)
He was hit by a pitch on the wrist, and though there apparently are no broken bones, a bruise can itself be a significant injury. It's likely he returns in a week or two, but be prepared for a longer absence.
2019 Impact: Elevated risk; potential for longer IL stay than projected
Est. Return: Late June/early July

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