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Where does the time go? It is now Week 14 of the fantasy baseball season and the calendar has now turned to July. The All Star break is right around the corner which means we are at the midway point of the season. Now that we are half way there, hopefully your team is doing better than living on a prayer (hey kids, that was a Bon Jovi reference…look it up). For this edition of the walking wounded, we have a mixed bag of some new injuries as well as updates on some pending returns which could make a huge difference in your league. And just for fun, I have included a couple of my favorite fantasy baseball punching bags because I love ripping on them.
Cliff Lee (SP-PHI)
Cliff Lee could possibly begin a rehab assignment this weekend depending on how well his arm reacts to throwing a few innings of a simulated game. Lee has been out since May with an elbow injury, but if he comes back healthy and effective it could be a real game changer for fantasy GM’s. When healthy, Lee is dominant in all peripheral categories. Getting wins is another story as Lee has often been the victim of poor run support and a shoddy bullpen. His return will be the equivalent of making a blockbuster trade at this point in the season.
Victor Martinez (DH-DET)
Victor Martinez was a late scratch on Monday due to a rib cage injury that also kept him sidelined for Tuesday’s game. The Tigers are clearly being cautious with their designated hitter who is a little long in the tooth. Despite being limited to Utility or Designated Hitter status, Martinez is having an MVP-caliber season with a .323 batting average, 20 home runs and 52 RBI. He is a must start when healthy.
Yoenis Cespedes (OF-OAK)
Yoenis Cespedes missed Tuesday’s game with a tight hamstring, but he has indicated the injury is not serious and expects to be back soon. While that may in fact be true, Cespedes did not come to the United States to be a doctor. Before we are ready to put him back in our lineups, let’s wait and see how his hamstring feels after 24 hours of rest. Hamstring injuries are tricky because they need sufficient time to heal, even if it is just mild tightness. I don’t expect him to miss an extended period of time, but just be prepared for Cespedes to possibly miss another game or two.
Evan Gattis (C-ATL)
We reported a few days ago that Evan Gattis was sidelined with a back injury that could very likely lead to a stint on the disabled list. Unfortunately for fantasy GM’s, that is exactly what happened. An MRI revealed a bulging thoracic disc for which Gattis will get an epidural injection to help reduce the swelling. There is no timetable for his return, so you need to act accordingly if you don’t have a suitable replacement at catcher. Take a flyer on Mike Zunino who is still available in a large percentage of leagues. He doesn’t have the equivalent batting average that Gattis has, but he can match his power output.
Dexter Fowler (OF-HOU)
It is a proven fact now that Dexter Fowler cannot get out of his own way. Fowler has now landed on the disabled list with a right intercostal strain. After being hyped as an up and coming fantasy stud, Fowler has consistent disappointed fantasy GM’s due to a wide variety of injuries that have hindered his development. The Rockies clearly had grown tired of waiting for him to develop, so they traded him to Houston this past winter. After a good start to the season, Fowler cooled off significantly and is now on the DL again. Only stash him if you have extra roster space or DL slots available.
Carlos Gonzalez (OF-COL)
I have admittedly given Carlos Gonzalez a lot of flack this year for always being injured. I have even called him a fantasy bust and proclaimed I would never draft him before the third round of any draft. While I stand by my claim that Gonzalez is overhyped and overrated, I do not want to appear insensitive that he had a benign tumor removed from his finger recently. It looks like there is a good chance he could be back by the All Star break now that he is already hitting off a tee. He will be a boost for any fantasy GM getting him back in their lineup. But the biggest question for CarGo owners is how soon it will be before he gets injured again. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Carl Crawford (OF-LAD)
Carl Crawford Perhaps the only other player I have criticized more over the years that Carlos Gonzalez is Dodgers outfielder Carl Crawford. He has had inflated fantasy value for years thanks to his running ability, but those skills have been in decline for quite some time now. Ever since leaving Tampa Bay and signing that ridiculous contract with Boston, Crawford cannot stay on the field. And when he is on the field, he is average at best. Crawford has been out since late May with an ankle injury and could begin a rehab assignment within the next week. He likely won’t be playing every day, but when he does play just hope it is not at the expense of Yasiel Puig or Matt Kemp.
Michael A. Stein, Esq. is the Chief Justice of Fantasy Judgment, the industry's premier dispute resolution service. You can contact him at email@example.com or on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment),