As we head into the weekend, there's plenty of injury news to pay attention to as you get ready to set your lineups. With just two months remaining in the fantasy baseball season, every hit, every run scored, and every RBI helps, so if you've got a guy who is banged up and might miss a game or two, you’re going to want to stay on top of the situation and make sure you’ve got a contingency plan put into motion. The last thing you want to do is fall behind now because you weren’t paying close enough attention. So with that, let’s get to the Injury Report…
It just gets worse and worse with Hanley Ramirez, doesn’t it? A top 3 pick in nearly every fantasy baseball draft out there, Hanley has perpetually kicked his owners in the fantasy groin all season long with his underwhelming .243 average and paltry 10 home runs. But now he’s going to miss more time after being diagnosed with a sprained shoulder. Jack McKeon commented on how happy he was with Ramirez’ hustle out on the field, but owners would rather see him start producing at the plate. The MRI revealed no structural damage, but Ramirez was sent back to Miami for another round of tests. Consider him day to day right now and find a healthier alternative for yourself at short for the weekend.
The road to 600 HR just took a slight detour as Jim Thome is now dealing with a sore neck. He was held out of the lineup Wednesday and will be evaluated on a day to day basis. Hopefully it’s only going to cost him a game or two, as he was just starting to heat up and was on an eight game hitting streak and had just hit his 597th career HR. Keep monitoring, but he could be back over the weekend.
Padres outfielder Chris Denorfia missed his third straight game on Wednesday with a hamstring issue. With platoon-mate Will Venable still out with his back issue, the outfield, as stated in the last Injury Report, is being manned by Jesus Guzman and Alberto Gonzalez. Consider Guzman the stronger play as he’s got much more power potential.
Michael Brantley will be out for the next few days as he continues to recover from a wrist injury, so you’ll want to make sure you find a healthy alternative for the weekend. He’s been having a solid breakout season and should be ready to go next week, but given the Indians place in the standings and their outfield injury situation, you can’t blame them for erring on the side of caution.
The disappointment that has been Justin Smoak just got more disappointing, if you can believe that. After hitting just .141 for the month of July with no home runs and a 25.3% strikeout rate, Smoak is now missing time with a thumb injury he sustained during Tuesday’s game. He’s being listed as day to day, but reports are coming in from Seattle that he could sit out the entire weekend. Mike Carp will be filling in, and depending on your league’s size and depth at the waiver wire, he could be your best alternative at first base right now. If you’ve been using Smoak as a corner infielder, then obviously your options become a little more open.
Rough goings for A’s shortstop Cliff Pennington who was recently diagnosed with Bell’s palsy this week. Pennington was experiencing numbness on the left side of his face and was unable to close his eye. He can apparently do so now, but the numbness is still present. Manager Bob Melvin said that Pennington might be available for Friday’s game, but without knowing how close to 100% he will be, it may be time to move onto another shortstop.
It looks like the season is over for Orioles’ starter Jake Arietta who is headed for elbow surgery now. Considering he calls Camden Yards home and pitches in one of the strongest offensive divisions, he wasn’t doing too poorly this year. 10 wins is nothing to thumb your nose at, and while the 5.05 ERA and 1.46 WHIP are less than desirable, he did kick in 93 strikeouts in just under 120 innings this season. Depending on how the surgery and rehab go, Arietta could be an interesting option next season.
Chone Figgins hasn’t just fallen from grace; he’s downright in the toilet. He hasn’t been a full-time player for some time now and when he does get into the lineup, his consistent 0-for-whatever is killing fantasy owners. Well, now he’s officially on the DL with a hip flexor injury and there is no set timetable for his return. Kyle Saeger was called up to take his place on the roster, but he’s not really worth rostering right now.
From not having surgery to having surgery, Dustin Moseley’s season is done. The win total wasn’t there, but Mosely’s ratios were definitely solid. He’ll be ready for spring training next season and may be worth a late round look in your 2012 draft.
Scott Rolen, who’s been out since July 22nd with a shoulder injury, opted for arthroscopic surgery to remove bone spurs and fragments and will now be lost for atleast another month. The Reds will continue to go with Miguel Cairo at third, but he’s there strictly for his glove. Using him as your fantasy third baseman or corner infielder means that you are in a crazy, deep league and your waiver wire has been picked cleaner than a Thanksgiving turkey at the Fatty’s house.
Not that he was going to be anything more than a right-handed bat off the bench, but word is that Pat Burrell’s recovery from the foot injury that landed him on the DL is slow going and he could be out until the end of August. Fantasy owners aren’t missing much though.
Rubby De la Rosa, meet Tommy John surgery. Tommy John surgery, meet Rubby De La Rosa. Yup, that’s right. The prized Dodgers’ pitching prospect is done for the year and most of next year as well. Look for him maybe in September of 2012 or early 2013.
After experiencing soreness in his shoulder, Johan Santana has been scratched from his rehab start on Thursday and his return should be delayed even further. There was talk of a late August return, but early September seems more likely….if he even makes it back this season.
And while news broke that the Giants’ Freddy Sanchez will officially be lost for the remainder of the season, Barry Zito joined him on the DL…again. This injury appears to be more of a phantom thing as the team is likely trying to help him save face in the wake of his disastrous starts over the past two weeks. Even if he is activated in the 15 days, he’ll likely become a part of the team’s long relief corps.
The Rob Johnson Era could be coming to a close in San Diego soon as Nick Hundley finally made it to his rehab assignment in Double-A. Hundley has been out since July 8th with an elbow injury, but saw his first game action Wednesday and went 1-for-1 with a walk. He also caught 5 innings. Hundley had gotten off to a hot start in April but quickly fizzled once the calendar flipped to May. It’s uncertain how productive he’ll be once he returns, but if you’re desperate for a new backstop come the middle of August, you may want to give him a look.
Reports on Alexi Casilla seem to be positive right now and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire seems confident that he’ll be back with the big club by the middle of the month. There’s no reason to rush a hamstring injury, but the Twinkies seem like they really want/need him back. The platoon of Trevor Plouffe and Matt Tolbert doesn’t seem to be working out too well for them right now.
The Red Sox are reporting that Jed Lowrie is continuing to make progress on his rehab assignment, but they want him to be able to play a full nine innings before activating him. They are shooting for the week of August 8th, so keep checking back on his progress. The Marco Scutaro experiment could go back on hold with a Lowrie return, although it will likely be more of a platoon situation.
Stephen Strasburg Obligatory Update – Could make a rehab start August 7th. Still may be back for September…more news to follow.
Players that should be available this weekend after missing time include: Roy Oswalt, Jonathan Sanchez, David DeJesus, Paul Konerko, Chipper Jones, Carlos Gonzalez, and Brad Hawpe
Howard Bender is the founder of The Fantasy Baseball Buzz and SF Giants Report. You can also find his work at FanGraphs and RotoWire. For questions, thoughts and comments, you can email Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter - @rotobuzzguy and @SFGiantsReport.
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