We have an updates on starters around the league and potential closer opening just in time for those final drafts. A young gun in San Diego suffers a bump in the road while a cagey veteran finally gets some answers in Cincinnati. The Philles continue to rack up the injuries but that could open the door for a nice sleeper closer. The Rangers lose a starter for an extended peroid of time while Atlanta has nothing to worry about. All in this installment of the fantasy alarm injury report.
The San Diego Padres could be without Mat Latos for the start of the season. He had to miss his last spring training start and has been bumped from his opening day start with a shoulder issue. There is no clear status at this point as the Padres take a wait and see approach. Latos claims to feel much better since the initial problems and the Padres don't seem overly concerned as they have not decided on whether to place him on the DL. He threw 184 2/3 innings last season which was by far the most he has thrown since being drafted. I don't think he can match the preformance he had last season and that he will have some regression in his numbers. I feel more confident taking guys like Clay Buchholz, Josh Johnson and Yovani Gallardo who are being taken around the same time in fantasy drafts. There are too many questions with his bad spring, this shoulder injury and lack of proven durability.
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Bronson Arroyo has been diagnosed with mononucleosis but is not expected to miss any starts. Arroyo has been ill for weeks now so it is somewhat of a relief that they found a diagnosis. Mononucleosis however can really drain a person's energy and can take a few weeks or longer to recover from. There is almost no way he will be 100% in first few starts. Every person recovers differently but a little extra rest could be more beneficial but that is not the route that Arroyo wants to take. Arroyo has shown a great ability to stay healthy posting over 200+ innings each of the last six seasons. He is a pitch to contact guy which does not exactly make a great fantasy pitcher. He did manage a 1.15 WHIP last season but with the diminishing strikeouts per 9 innings the last few seasons it is hard to see him matching that. Arroyo is a guy who is a nice starter to have on your MLB roster but is only good for spot starts here and there when the match-up is favorable in fantasy leagues. He has managed some nice streaks of quality starts from time to time but I prefer to find an upside guy like Justin Masterson instead of your typical 4th or 5th starter in a rotation.
The Philles took another injury hit when Brad Lidge went down with a shoulder injury. He is scheduled for an MRI on Tuesday to find out if there is any structural damage. Lidge has missed time over the last few seasons with a variety of injuries and struggled at times. While Lidge is out, Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras will likely share closing duties. Madson has filled in before for a short time in the past but is better suited as a set-up man. Contreras could turn into a draftable commidity depending on the severity of Lidge's injury and would be the guy I go after. Contreras possesses some nasty stuff and got the first save chance on Friday in spring training to close out the game.
Tommy Hunter is expected to miss six weeks with a strained right groin injury. It must be a very significant injury for the timeline to be declared this long already. Dave Bush is likely to be his replacement since the Rangers may want to give Michael Kirkman more experience at Triple-A. Kirkman has far more upside and Bush is just useless. Bush gives up way too many homeruns and his move to Texas will only make that worse. Hunter returned to have a nice season last year but is not someone I think will be able to consistently repeat that preformance. He gives up quite a few homeruns and does not possess any strikeout ability. With the injury now factored in, I will let someone else draft him. Pitchers like Hunter have to rely on location or they will get lit-up which unless you are proven veteran I will avoid.
The Braves got a little scare when Jair Jurrjens had to leave his last start with a sore side. Jurrjens has already starting feeling better since his removal and is suppose to throw a bullpen session on Monday. Apparently the injury seems to be more of soreness varierty than any particular strain. If all goes well, he should be ready for the season. Jurrjens dealt with a knee injury last season that could have been the reason for his struggles. I think Jurrjens will bounce back with 15+ Wins and an ERA around 3.25. He will be a good value in drafts and should bounce back nicely. Jurrjens usually does a nice job at keeping the ball down and his biggest concern is location. If he can keep the ball down and keep the walks down, he is extremely difficult to hit.
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