When I write the injury report, I try to be as objective and even-keeled as possible in terms of reacting to bad news. However, I am also in several leagues of my own so many times I am writing about my own players. I can say with absolute certainty that I have never had so many of my own teams decimated by a multitude of injuries to impact players. It is virtually impossible to replace some players, so you have to be creative and patient in order to tread water until these players return. But believe me, I feel your pain if that seems impossible to do right now. So, without further ado, let’s delve into the next edition of the fantasy baseball emergency room.
Day to Day
Manny Machado (3B-BAL) – Machado is dealing with an injury to his right index finger and was held out of the lineup on Thursday against Detroit. It does not appear to be anything to be concerned about right now so all indications are that he will be back on the field on Friday. Machado has struggled thus far batting just .224 but he does have nine home runs and 23 RBI. He is too good a hitter to be worried at this point, but he has certainly not yet produced numbers commensurate with where he was likely drafted. He could be a target to try and acquire in a trade if you can take advantage of a frustrated and desperate GM.
Miguel Cabrera (1B-DET) – It seems like Cabrera is dealing with a new injury every other day. This time he has been diagnosed with a Grade 1 oblique strain and is expected to miss the next few games. Detroit doesn’t expect Cabrera will need a stint on the disabled list, but oblique strains are difficult to diagnose in terms of recovery time. While Cabrera is still an elite fantasy option, the injuries seem to be affecting his production thus far as he is batting an uncharacteristic .248 with only four home runs and 15 RBI. He just turned 34 years old which is not yet old age in baseball years, but his body has a ton of wear and tear on it as he enters his 15th big league season. The warning signs are there that this could be the beginning of his
Albert Pujols (1B-LAA) – Pujols was taken out of Wednesday’s game with tightness in his hamstring. The extent of the injury isn’t known but the fact the Angels were off on Thursday increases the chances he could be back in the lineup on Friday. However, the Angels will be playing against the Mets in a National League park so Pujols cannot be the designated hitter. This could be the deciding factor in giving him some additional rest so as to not risk additional injury by putting him in the field. The future Hall of Famer is still a productive fantasy player despite his advanced age and plethora of nagging injuries.
Yonder Alonso (1B-OAK) – Alonso has been a pleasant surprise this season showing more power than he ever has in his career. He has already blasted 12 home runs and has given fantasy GMs great value as a corner infielder or utility player. However, Alonso injured his left leg when it got stuck in the ground on a swing on Wednesday and had to be removed from the game.
On the DL
Freddie Freeman (1B-ATL) – Yet another catastrophic injury has cost a star player several months as Freddie Freeman heads to the disabled list with a fractured left wrist. He was hit by a pitch on Wednesday and will now be sidelined for up to 10-12 weeks which puts his likely return in August. Freeman was a leading candidate for National League MVP after getting off to a scorching start with a .341 batting average along with 14 home runs and 25 RBI. This is a major loss for fantasy GMs who were reaping the benefits of his monstrous batting average and power output. The Braves recalled Rio Ruiz who should get the initial opportunity to replace Freeman in the lineup and is worth a waiver wire acquisition if you lack depth at first base or corner infield.
Robinson Cano (2B-SEA) – Cano had missed five straight games with a right quadriceps injury but could not make it back onto the field by Tuesday. The Mariners placed him on the DL retroactive to May 13 and he is expected to be back in the lineup once he is eligible to be activated. Cano’s absence is clearly a big loss in fantasy lineups but he should be activated for Week 8 which will provide GMs with a significant boost. Taylor Motter has been filling in for Cano in the interim and would only be a short-term option.
Gregory Polanco (OF-PIT) – Unsurprisingly, the Pirates placed Polanco on the disabled list with a hamstring injury that he sustained last Sunday. He wasn’t making any progress and Pittsburgh chose to be cautious with their young outfielder. He hasn’t done much offensively yet this year batting a very pedestrian .252 with only one home run, nine RBI and six stolen bases. He won’t be eligible to return until May 25 but he may require additional time to allow for a full recovery and possibly a rehab assignment. John Jaso and Adam Frazier should see most of the playing time in Polanco’s absence although Danny Ortiz could also get some at bats after he was recalled to replace Polanco on the roster.
Brad Miller (2B-TB) – Miller suffered an abdominal strain earlier in the week and has been placed on the disabled list retroactive to May 16. He was expected to be a valuable fantasy player in 2017 with multi-position eligibility and coming off of a 30-home run season, but he has gotten off to a terrible start batting just .205 with only two home runs through his first 39 games. Daniel Robertson has been filling in for Miller but there is nothing to be excited about there.
Carlos Gomez (OF-TEX) – As expected, Gomez was placed on the disabled list with a strained hamstring and is expected to miss four to six weeks. Jared Hoying was recalled earlier this week and has gotten off to a hot start in his first couple games. He should continue seeing at bats along with Ryan Rua and Delino DeShields which makes Hoying a viable waiver wire acquisition in mixed league formats.
On the Mend
Trevor Story (SS-COL) – The Rockies young shortstop is expected to begin a rehab assignment on Friday which puts him on track to return for Week 8. This is good news for fantasy GMs who have been banking on significant power output from the shortstop position. Story has struggled mightily to begin the season, but now that he is expected to be at full health the hope is he can rejoin a potent Rockies offense that has helped lead them to the division lead in the NL West. Be patient with Story and before you know it he will get his batting average and home run totals up to where you expected.
Troy Tulowitzki (SS-COL) – Speaking of Rockies shortstops, their former star is also on the mend as he prepares to return to the Blue Jays lineup. Tulowitzki, my favorite punching bag on the injury report, is in the middle of a rehab assignment and should be back with Toronto over the weekend or at the beginning of Week 8 at the latest. He has been recovering from a hamstring injury so Toronto wants to ensure he is fully healthy before bringing him back. Tulowitzki is a shell of the player he once was, but he is certainly worth starting at shortstop or middle infield in almost any league format.
Jason Heyward (OF-CHC) - The Cubs expect to get Heyward back this weekend or early next week now that he has begun a rehab assignment. Heyward hit the disabled list with a sprained finger and is on track to return within days. He has shown some improvement at the plate after a disastrous 2016 season but he is still not a must-start candidate just yet. Heyward will have to show some more consistency but his .253 batting average along with three home runs and 17 RBI through 28 games is enough encouragement to keep him rostered.
Michael A. Stein, Esq. is the Chief Justice of Fantasy Judgment, the industry's premier dispute resolution service, and co-host of the Fantasy Alarm Podcast. You can contact him at email@example.com or on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment).