The calendar has flipped to September and Labor Day Weekend is upon us.  It feels like just yesterday we were in April and dreaming of the fantasy baseball playoffs.  Now they are upon us and injuries continue to effect GMs on a daily basis.  One of the biggest problems with injuries at this time of year is dealing with MLB teams that are out of playoff contention and have no interest in risking their players’ health by rushing them back onto the field.  This is why targeting players on contending teams is preferred because the motivation to get them into the lineup greatly increases.  Without any further ado, here is the next edition of the walking wounded.

Miguel Cabrera (1B-DET)

Cabrera has been dealing with a lingering ankle injury that kept him out of the lineup on Wednesday.  Detroit had an off day on Thursday so these couple days should be long enough to get him back on the field for the weekend.  Once again he is one of the most dependable and productive fantasy players in the league batting .309 with 28 home runs and 81 RBI.  Fantasy GMs can ill afford any extended absence for Cabrera down the stretch.

Albert Pujols (DH-LAA)

Pujols has a lengthy history with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, but he is now dealing with it in his right foot.  The future Hall of Famer will likely miss some time with this painful injury even though he is relegated to full-time DH.  He may not be the elite player he once was, but Pujols certainly has provided solid value slugging 26 home runs with 103 RBI at the advanced baseball age of 36.  The Angels will likely give him regular rest for the remainder of the season assuming he does come back.

Adam Jones (OF-BAL)

Jones is expected back in the Orioles’ lineup on Friday after missing several games with a hamstring injury.  Baltimore recently acquired Michael Bourn and Drew Stubbs to provide some outfield depth, but Jones should be back with the injury hopefully behind him.  He has been one of the most durable and consistent players over the past several years, and his .275 batting average with 24 home runs and 74 RBI is right in line with his typical annual production.  He will be vital to Baltimore’s push for the playoffs so look for a big finish to the season from him.

Gerrit Cole (SP-PIT)

Pirates ace Gerrit Cole was placed on the disabled list retroactive to August 25 with inflammation in his right elbow.  The good news is that there is no structural damage so it is possible he will be back before the end of September.  Cole has been a big disappointment this season dealing with a couple injuries and compiling a pedestrian 7-9 record with a mediocre 3.55 ERA and 1.39 WHIP.

Alex Cobb (SP-TB)

Cobb will take the mound on Friday for the first time in almost two years as he returns from Tommy John surgery.  He was becoming a reliable fantasy pitcher when he sustained the injury but now is nothing more than a speculative risk for the remainder of 2016.  He did not pitch well in his rehab starts so expectations should not be high for the rest of the year.  Assuming he does not have any setbacks, he should be a middle of the rotation fantasy pitcher in 2017.

Steven Matz (SP-NYM)

Matz was supposed to return on Thursday to face the Marlins but he suffered a setback with his injured shoulder.  This is not good news for the Mets who have been ravaged by injuries, and with Matz’s history he could be shut down for an extended period of time.  We knew he was dealing with bone spurs in his elbow already, but a lingering shoulder injury causes major concern.  His value for the remainder of 2016 is minimal so consider dropping him in redraft leagues if you need the extra roster spot.

Marcell Ozuna (OF-MIA)

Ozuna injured his wrist when diving to make a catch against the Mets on Wednesday and was out of the lineup on Thursday.  We don’t know the extent of the injury but he could miss at least a few games based on how it looked.  Ozuna has had a solid season batting .268 with 22 home runs and 67 RBI anchoring a Marlins’ lineup that is also without Giancarlo Stanton.  Look for newly-acquired Jeff Francoeur to fill in for Ozuna while he out.

Neil Walker (2B-NYM)

Walker has been placed on the disabled list and will undergo season-ending back surgery for a herniated disk.  He has been a stellar offensive second baseman in terms of power this year batting .282 with 23 home runs and 55 RBI.  He can be dropped in all formats but should be fine for 2017 when he will likely be with a new team via free agency.

John Lackey (SP-CHC)

The Cubs are expected to activate Lackey this weekend so he can start on Sunday assuming he feels ok after his bullpen session on Thursday.  He has been out with a shoulder injury but appears on track to return against the Giants this weekend.  Lackey has been a solid back of the rotation fantasy option compiling a 9-7 record with a 3.41 ERA and 1.04 WHIP while averaging slightly less than one strikeout per inning.  Assuming he is healthy, he is a viable streaming option down the stretch as the Cubs approach the playoffs.

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 or on Facebook and Twitter (@FantasyJudgment).