THE BIG HURT: Hurt File, May 2-7

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 25-30)

The dreaded hammy has been ravaging MLB—it does seem that there are a lot (we mean A LOT) of hamstring strains occurring this year. It feels like every other player on the DL is dealing with a hammy injury. There are three likely factors in play here. First, the weather has been unseasonably cold to start the season. Baseball players spend very little of their time in motion, and when they move, it's usually full effort. Muscles are harder to loosen up and keep loose in colder weather. The second factor is the 10-day DL and the increased focus on keeping players healthy over the course of a long season. Teams would rather see their players rest and recover than "play through it". Finally (and this is probably a minor factor), the percentage of plate appearances that end without the ball in play is at an all-time high, so fielders are standing around more than ever.


May 7, 2018

Clayton Kershaw (LHP, LA) – L biceps tendonitis (5/3/18)
This is bad news for Kershaw owners. It’s entirely possible that this is a minor irritation that will resolve in a week or two, but biceps tendonitis is often associated with more serious injuries, such as a rotator cuff tear or a SLAP lesion (labral tear). His velocity has been down from 2017, increasing concern that there's a problem. He’s off to see Dr ElAttrache (the West Coast version of Dr. Andrews), so more light will be shed soon. Note that even if he comes back soon, this could resurface again. We’ll put him down for four weeks for now, which is about the median for players who didn’t have a secondary injury.
2018 Impact: Very high risk; Potential for serious underlying injury
Est. Return: Early June

Yadier Molina (C, STL) – Groin hematoma (5/5/18)
He took a foul tip to the pelvic region, which resulted in subcutaneous bleeding, requiring surgery. Presumably, there’s no bone or muscle damage. This is a painful injury, for sure, but unlikely to require extended recovery or have any after-effects.
2018 Impact: Likely minimal, beyond the DL stay
Est. Return: Early June

Bud Norris (RHP, STL) – R triceps tightness (5/5/18)
He’s not on the DL and says he should be back in a few days, but players are usually overconfident about their healing powers. There’s a good chance he lands on the DL and a small chance of an extended stay.
2018 Impact: Elevates risk
Est. Return: Mid-May

Jason Castro (C, MIN) – R knee, torn meniscus (5/1/18)
A torn meniscus sounds like a big deal, and it can be, but players often return in a few weeks. We’ll go a little on the short side of things here as he’s expected to avoid surgery.
2018 Impact: Elevated risk
Est. Return: Early/mid-June

Yoan Moncada (2B, CHW) – L hamstring tightness (5/2/18)
Another hammy issue—feels like an epidemic. This one seems minor and precautionary, more of the “we have the 10-day DL, may as well use it” variety.
2018 Impact: Likely minimal, but some elevated risk for now
Est Return: Mid-May


May 5, 2018

Austin Hedges (C, SD) – R elbow tendonitis (4/30/18)
Tendonitis is not an easy fix. It requires rest and slow rehab. That being said it really depends on the severity. He won’t even pick up a baseball for a week or two, so don’t expect a quick return.
2018 Impact: Elevated risk
Est. Return: Late May

Jake Lamb (3B, ARI) – L shoulder sprain (4/3/18) UPDATE
We first covered this injury here. At the time the injury was described as minor, but it’s taken him a while to recover, and he’s also been fighting tendonitis in his elbow. He recently had a cortisone shot in his shoulder, but if he’s not feeling better in a couple of days, it will mean there’s possibly something else going on.
2018 Impact: Elevated risk; Potential of a hidden injury
Est. Return: Late May

Dansby Swanson (SS, ATL) – L wrist soreness (5/1/18)
There doesn’t appear to be any trauma, so it feels more like tendonitis or something else somewhat benign. It’s possible that there’s something more serious, but it’s not likely. He should see a short stay.
2018 Impact: Likely minimal
Est. Return: Mid-May

Miguel Cabrera (1B, DET) – R hamstring strain (5/3/18)
So far, it appears to be a minor strain, but there’s nothing definitive yet. For now, we’ll project it as a Grade 1.
2018 Impact: Elevated risk, especially when he first returns
Est. Return: Mid-/late May

Steve Pearce (OF, TOR) – Oblique strain (5/1/18)
He tried to play through it, which indicates it’s likely a mild strain. Still obliques can be stubborn, so there’s the possibility that this takes a while.
2018 Impact: Elevated risk; Potential for longer DL stay than projected
Est. Return: Late May

Zach Davies (RHP, MIL) – R shoulder inflammation (5/2/18)
We don’t want to sound alarmist, but this is often a portent of something serious. For now, it’s just soreness, but there’s often an underlying condition causing a sore shoulder. Stay tuned.
2018 Impact: Elevated risk; Possibility of a serious injury
Est. Return: Mid-May

Hyun-Jin Ryu (RHP, LA) – Groin strain (5/2/18)
This must be a Grade 2 strain or a bit worse, as the team expects him to miss two months at a minimum. There is a good chance of recurrence if he isn’t fully healed when he returns.
2018 Impact: Elevated risk; Potential for recurrence
Est. Return: Mid-July

Daniel Murphy (2B, WAS) – R knee, recovery from surgery (a while now) UPDATE
He’s still experiencing pain in his knee, which is a sign that not all is right (obviously). At a minimum, he’ll need maybe a week longer, plus an extended rehab.
2018 Impact: Very high risk
Est Return: Late May

Johnny Cueto (RHP, SF) – R elbow inflammation (5/1/18)
He’s headed to see Dr. Andrews, which is never a good thing. Still, not all elbow injuries result in TJS, but enough do that this is a serious concern. If he matters to your fantasy success, keep a close eye on this.
2018 Impact: TBD; Certainly, there is a moderate risk that this is something serious
Est. Return: Late May, if it’s not something serious (best estimate)

Jake deGrom (RHP, NYM) – R elbow hyperextension (5/2/18)
There was a lot of consternation about this in Flushing, but so far it seems like he’s dodged a bullet. Of course, the Mets’ medical staff has had its tribulations, so things could go awry. He’s not on the DL and not sure he’ll even miss a start, but we’re going to project a short stay on the DL as a mid-line estimate.
2018 Impact: Highly variable outcomes
Est. Return: Mid-May (best estimate)


May 2, 2018

Corey Seager (SS, LA) – R elbow, Tommy John surgery (4/29/18)
Well, this was the worst news that Seager owners could get. He'll obviously miss the rest of the season, and probably a month or two in 2019.
2018 Impact: Out for the season
Est. Return: May 2019 (highly variable)

Joe Panik (2B, SF) – L thumb surgery (4/29/18)
There's not a lot of detail out there, so it's not clear if this is similar to Mike Trout's injury in 2017. However, the recovery will last 6-8 weeks and since it's his top (power) hand, there could be some residual effects when he first returns.
2018 Impact: Potential reduction in power/effectiveness when he first returns
Est. Return: Mid-/late June

Robbie Ray (LHP, ARI) – Oblique strain (4/29/18)
He was diagnosed with a Grade 2 strain, and while his timetable is still undetermined, he'll need at least four weeks to recover. Keep in mind that the oblique is a large muscle, so the healing time is longer and more variable. As with any muscle tear, there's a risk of recurrence if he returns before it's fully healed.
2018 Impact: Elevated risk; Potential for recurrence
Est. Return: Mid-June

Randal Grichuk (OF, TOR) – R knee, PCL tear (4/30/18)
This is a Grade 1 strain, so it's a minor injury, and the PCL is less crucial to the stability of the joint than is the ACL or MCL. This should be a relatively minor situation.
2018 Impact: Likely minimal
Est. Return: Late May

D.J. LeMahieu (2B, COL) – R hamstring strain (4/27/18)
Speaking of hammies... this appears to be minor, as he wasn't immediately placed on the DL. Still, there's risk of recurrence if he comes back too quickly.
2018 Impact: Elevated risk; Potential for recurrence
Est. Return: Early/mid-May

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