The injuries just keep piling up which is causing you fantasy baseball aficionados to earn your stripes by being creative and aggressive with the waiver wire and trades. This weekly list only details ten players whose health must be monitored, but honorable mention goes out to Geovany Soto and Allen Craig who are likely to land on the disabled list in short order. So without further adieu, here is the next edition of the walking wounded.
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1. Matt Kemp (OF-LAD). The National League’s premier Triple Crown threat was placed on the disabled list with a hamstring injury and missed his first game since 2009. This is tough news for fantasy owners who are relying on Matt Kemp’s insane production in all categories. He likely won’t need much more than the minimum 15 days to be back in the lineup, but he may have to play in a brief rehab assignment once he is cleared to play. Obviously keep him stashed and put him back in your lineup as soon as he is activated by the Dodgers.
2. Carlos Beltran (OF-STL). The inevitable is finally taking place as Carlos Beltran has been beset by a knee injury. The Cardinals outfielder has been hitting like it’s 1999 and making fantasy owners very happy with their mid to late round steal. But Beltran has had balky knees for several years which has cost him dozens of games and prevented him from fulfilling his true potential as a legitimate and consistent superstar. He has missed several games in a row with a right knee injury and there is no telling how many more games he will miss this year. The fact he is not on the disabled list will only torment you in daily leagues. Keep him active for the chance he comes back and plays, but start considering trying to sell high on him while you can.
3. Jeff Niemann (SP-TB). Tampa Bay’s deep and talented pitching staff took a hit this week, literally, when a batted ball broke Jeff Niemann’s fibula landing him on the 60-day disabled list. Niemann has been very effective thus far and was a solid pitching option given his low ERA and almost one strikeout per inning. But now he will be sidelined for at least a couple months so stash him on your DL or bench in deep leagues.
4. Stephen Drew (SS-ARZ). Good news for Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew as he tries to make his way back from a gruesome ankle injury in 2011. He played nine innings in an extended spring training game earlier this week and did not have any setbacks. He will likely be sent out for a minor league rehab assignment to ensure that his ankle truly can withstand playing every day on the field and while hitting and running. Drew is essentially playing for a contract this year because Arizona holds a team option for 2013, so he is definitely motivated to prove he is healthy and can perform. He is worth picking up if still available in your league because he could provide some surprising pop at a weak shortstop position.
5. Vance Worley (SP-PHI). Phillies starting pitcher Vance Worley was placed on the disabled list this week with inflammation in his elbow. The reports indicate that there is no structural damage which means Worley should be back within a reasonable amount of time, but he is likely to miss at least three starts. The Phillies will want to be cautious with their young pitcher who has been striking out batters at the best rate of his career. Kyle Kendrick will take Worley’s place in Philadelphia’s rotation, but that doesn’t mean you should pick him up in your fantasy league.
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6. David Robertson (RP-NYY). The two-day David Robertson era of the Yankees bullpen is over for now. Robertson was placed on the disabled list with a strained oblique just a couple days after blowing his first save since being anointed the new closer after Mariano Rivera’s injury. Now Rafael Soriano will get the chance to close until Robertson comes back. Depending on how Soriano performs, it is unknown what Joe Girardi will do when both pitchers are healthy and whether he will give them defining roles or let them close games by committee. Either way, keep Robertson stashed on your DL or bench and try and grab Soriano as a free agent for a short-term supply of saves.
7. Mark Reynolds (3B-BAL). The modern day Rob Deer is on the disabled list with an oblique injury. It would be nice to say that the injury is partially what has contributed to his sub-.200 batting average and inordinate amount of strikeouts. However, we all know differently as Mark Reynolds is the epitome of an all or nothing hitter. He has fantasy appeal because of his tremendous power, but is diametrically opposed to having a respectable batting average. Hold onto him while he is out, but it can’t hurt to look around your league for an upgrade unless you get points for having the reincarnation of Dave Kingman.
8. Danny Duffy (SP-KC). Second year pitcher Danny Duffy heard the news no pitcher wants to hear – torn ulnar collateral ligament which usually means Tommy John surgery. Duffy has pitched well for the Royals thus far with an ERA under 4.00 and averaging slightly more than a strikeout per inning. Duffy will get a second opinion before making any decisions regarding surgery. But for all intents and purposes, he is done for the year. Hold onto him on the DL or bench in a deep league in case he somehow avoids surgery and does get back later in the year.
9. Ryan Doumit (C-MIN). After some confusion, the Minnesota Twins did not place catcher Ryan Doumit on the disabled list after all. He sustained a mild strain of his calf and will require some rest, but a trip to the DL is not in the cards right now. Doumit has been hitting the crap out of the ball which has made fantasy players very happy since he qualifies at catcher and also happens to play outfield and DH to keep his bat in the Twins’ lineup. The fact he is not on the DL is a good sign, but you still may be without him for a few days. You will need to monitor the situation each day.
10. Carlos Marmol (RP-CHC). Former beleaguered Cubs closer Carlos Marmol is on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. The fact he is not pitching is a blessing to all fantasy owners. He reportedly played catch this week and didn’t overthrow anyone he was playing with. Before the injury, he lost his job to Rafael Dolis because he was completely wild and had blown several games in the first month of the season. It is possible that he could regain his role as the closer if he rediscovers himself, but for right now he is not worth wasting a roster spot on.
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