There are plenty of pitchers who have their status for opening day up in the air or who will not be ready at all. Luckily for all of them, they have avoided serious injuries at this time. Ozzie Guillen has voiced his frustrations while the Brewers and the Bluejays hope their young guns have avoided some real scares. A gnarly bearded closer insists he will be ready while a japanese import hopes that he still will show enough to be the closer. All in this edition of the fantasy alarm injury update.
The Brewers received some good news when no structural damage was found in Shaun Marcum's shoulder. Marcum expects to still be ready for his first start of the season. He claims to have been able to continue had it been a regular season game. The Brewers have dealt with a bunch of injuries this spring training with Zack Grienke already expected to miss a few starts losing Marcum for any amount of time could dig them in a big hole. Marcum lost all of 2009 to Tommy John Surgery so he has to be wary of over-compensating. Pitchers usually improve the second season after surgery so he could be due for an improvement over last season's 13 wins, 1.15 WHIP and 165 strikeouts. Marcum should also benefit from the move to the National League. The potential is there to be a top 15 pitcher in the National League this coming season assuming that the tightness was just a bump in the road.
Brian Wilson has been shutdown with a strained left oblique muscle. His status for opening day is now on unsure and will hopefully begin throwing later this week. Wilson has become one of the top closers in the game with 38+ saves in the last three seasons while improving in ERA, strikeouts and WHIP each season. He has propelled himself into a top-tier fantasy closer if you base your thoughts on the few years. Wilson does expect to be ready for opening but if he is not ready to go then lefty Jeremy Affledt and righty Santiago Casilla would likely split the closer role. From watching Wilson pitch, I still do not buy-in completely to him being a dominant closer and expect some regression in his numbers this season even if healthy.
Koji Uehara was finally able to resume throwing after battling elbow soreness early on in spring training. He was able to throw 12 pitches in a minor league game and hopes to face big league hitters in the next few days. Uehara is battling Kevin Gregg for the closer role. Gregg is struggled and Uehara has not been able to throw much so far along with struggling to stay healthy last year. Most managers prefer a guy who throws strikes like Uehara so I would expect him to win the job if healthy. Kevin Gregg is very erratic and should not be trusted. Uehara will not over-power anyone but will keep a respectable whip since he attacks hitters and do a better job. The Orioles improved their offense this season so there should be more chances for saves and I like Uehara as a late round pick. He should fall in-line like some other nice late round picks did from last year like Carlos Marmol, Matt Capps and Billy Wagner.
The White Sox will be without Jake Peavy for the first few weeks of the season. The good news is that the shoulder soreness is not believed to be related to his lat surgery last season. Peavy has struggled to stay healthy the last few seasons and even when dominant he dealt with some occasional arm injuries. He has a violent delivery which tends to lead arm and shoulder problems. Even the lat injury last season is not something that is seen very often seen in a pitcher. It has been since 2007 that Peavy was actually a dominant starter and the injuries seem to continue to mount. Depending on the league, some may have Peavy dropping to the later rounds which now to me provides a guy as a high risk/ high reward pick.
Brandon Morrow will begin the season on the DL with forearm tightness. The MRI showed just some irration but nothing that appears serious and they did back date his DL assignment so at this point he is only scheduled to be miss one start. The Blue Jays will likely be conservative with Morrow so hopefully a mid-April return is possible. Morrow struck out an insane 178 batters in 146 1/3 innings but forearm tightness could also be a sign of an elbow issue. In first full season as a starter, he did a nice job of lowering his walks per nine innings and in order to reach the next level that trend will need to continue. Last season inning's were the most Morrow has thrown since being a drafted in 2006. With the injury so close to most drafts, he will likely slide a little bit but I would still be willing to take a chance on him in the middle rounds.
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