Major League Baseball is back, and the opening week of games certainly did not disappoint! However, there were quite a few substantial MLB injuries to pretty significant fantasy players, including Justin Steele of the Chicago Cubs, Royce Lewis of the Minnesota Twins, and Sean Murphy of the Atlanta Braves

Additionally, Kenley Jansen becomes the latest reliever to catch the injury bug, as back tightness has kept him off the mound the past couple of days. On the other hand, the Astros could be welcoming Justin Verlander back later this week, and the New York Yankees have June 1 circled on their calendar. 




As you get ready to set your fantasy baseball lineups for the week ahead, be sure to check out the fantasy baseball injuries below, as well as Howard Bender’s article on the top fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups.

Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Starting Pitchers

Justin Steele, Chicago Cubs - Hamstring

Steele hurt his hamstring on the play below and has since been placed on the 15-day injured list.

Expect Steele to miss at least four weeks, keeping Steele off the mound for all of April, with a tentative return in mid-May, though this situation is fluid.

Justin Verlander, Houston Astros - Shoulder

4/5 UPDATE: Verlander will make a rehab start this weekend, opening the door for a potential return in mid-April, with 4/17 and 4/19 being potential return dates for the veteran right-hander.

Verlander is scheduled to throw a simulated game later today, and the expectation is he’ll throw around 50 pitches. Assuming there are no setbacks following this outing, he’ll head out on a rehab assignment, and assuming he makes roughly three rehab starts, the veteran righty could return to the Houston rotation closer to the end of the month.

Walker Buehler, Los Angeles Dodgers - Elbow

Give me an update on Buehler without really giving me an update on Buehler. Dave Roberts says, “I got you.”

Buehler made a rehab start yesterday, firing 54 pitches across 3.1 IP. Across those 3.1 innings of work, he allowed four runs (three earned) on three hits and two walks while striking out two. There has been no definitive stance on how many rehab starts Buehler will need but expect Los Angeles to be quite cautious with 67 IP between the majors and minors since the end of the 2021 campaign.




Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees - Elbow

A “loose goal” for Cole’s return is June 1. The earliest date he could return is May 24, but the hope is that in early June, Cole is back atop the New York rotation. So long as the positivity continues, he could resume throwing later this week.

John Means, Baltimore Orioles - Forearm

Means made a rehab start on Sunday, and let’s just say it was one to forget. He recorded just three outs, serving up seven earned runs on six hits (2 HR) and one walk. The Baltimore left-hander needed 32 pitches to get through that inning, but two of his three outs came via the strikeout. Baltimore has said that Means’ rehab stint will last close to the full 30 days, if not all 30. With him going under the knife for Tommy John surgery and then dealing with a forearm strain, the team will take it slow and steady with him, so don’t expect him back until May.

Eury Perez, Miami Marlins - Elbow

4/5 UPDATE: Perez will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss all of 2024, and likely a good chunk of 2025 as well. This is a massive blow for the Miami Marlins and fantasy baseball managers alike, as there were sky high expectations for the budding ace.

Perez has worked up to throwing to 105 feet, and late last week, he logged a 20-pitch bullpen mixing in his full repertoire. While this is a positive step, we are still likely a few sessions away until he even embarks on a rehab assignment. We’re still a few weeks away from seeing Perez.

Michael Lorenzen, Texas Rangers - Neck

Lorenzen will need to build up to a starter’s workload, but the thought is that he may only need a rehab start or two before being activated from the injured list and inserted into the team’s rotation. Upon Lorenzen’s return, which likely won’t happen this scoring week, Cody Bradford figures to be the odd man out in the team’s rotation.

Sonny Gray, St. Louis Cardinals - Hamstring

4/5 UPDATE: Gray's Triple-A start on Wednesday was rained out, but he threw 50+ pitches in a simulated game. There shouldn't be any reason to think that the plan has been altered for him to return to the rotation next week.

Gray is going to start for Triple-A Memphis on Wednesday, and five days later would set him up to start against the Phillies on Tuesday, April 9. Of course, this is under the assumption that there are no setbacks, and he emerges from the rehab outing unscathed.

Tylor Megill, New York Mets - Shoulder

Megill’s shoulder was a bit tender following Sunday, so likely out of precaution, the team sent him for an MRI.

Megill allowed just two runs (one earned) on three hits and three walks with four strikeouts in four innings of work on Sunday against the Brewers. Consider him day-to-day until more information is made available.

Nick Lodolo, Cincinnati Reds - Shin

4/5 UPDATE: April 10th, ladies and gentlemen! Lodolo will return to the mound for the Reds and face off against the Brewers in his season debut. It will be his first regular season start since May 6th, 2023.

As Lodolo continues to work back from his shin injury, his rehab start from Sunday was a massive step in the right direction. Across five innings of work, Lodolo struck out eight batters and allowed just one earned run on two hits and three walks. The left-hander fired 77 pitches in this rehab start. A healthy Lodolo would be a massive addition to the Cincinnati rotation, as well as your fantasy team’s starting rotation.




Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Relief Pitchers

Jordan Romano, Toronto Blue Jays - Elbow

Romano isn’t expected to need much time to ramp back up once healthy, but he’s still just playing catch. No substantial updates to pass along at this time regarding Toronto’s closer.

Kenley Jansen, Boston Red Sox - Back

4/5 UPDATE: Jansen piched on both 4/2 and 4/3 for Boston, so he should be fine moving forward!

Jansen was unavailable on Saturday due to back tightness, and prior to Sunday’s game, the Red Sox were noncommittal on Jansen’s availability. Well, Boston carried a 5-1 lead heading into the ninth inning against the Mariners on Sunday, but Justin Slaten closed out the final seven outs. Was it not close enough for Boston to want to push Jansen? Perhaps. The veteran reliever should be considered day to day.




Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Hitters

Willson Contreras, St. Louis Cardinals

4/5 UPDATE: The belief is that Contreras avoided major injury and that his swollen hand is more of a day-to-day thing. The hope is that he can return to the lineup this weekend.

Brandon Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays

ADDED 4/5: Lowe left Wednesday's game with left side tightness. The team had an off day on Thursday, and with the team facing a lefty on Friday, Lowe likely wouldn't play anyways. Let's see if he is in the lineup on Saturday when Colorado sends a right-handed starter to the mound.

Josh Jung, Texas Rangers

4/5 UPDATE: Jung was hit by a pitch earlier in the week and suffered a fractured wrist. At first, the hope was that he'd miss about six weeks of action, but after surgery, that timeline has been pushed back to 8-10 weeks. Remember, players can have their power sapped a bit when they first return from a wrist injury, so we may be looking at closer to 12 weeks until Jung is fully healthy.

Eloy Jimenez, Chicago White Sox - Adductor

4/5 UPDATE: Since the adductor tightness was reported, Jimenez has still not yet appeared in a game for the White Sox. He last played on March 31, and has just a .364 OPS through 11 ABs on the season. If he doesn't make the starting lineup Friday, an IL stint might be on the horizon.

Jimenez left Sunday’s game early with left adductor soreness and will be evaluated further. Consider Jimenez day-to-day, and the fact that it is just soreness seems positive for his outlook. The White Sox played seven games this week, so those in leagues that only allow weekly moves may still consider using Jimenez, in the hopes that they can get five or six games from him, even if he misses a game or two in the beginning of the week.

Jason Heyward, Los Angeles Dodgers

4/5 UPDATE: Heyward hit the injured list earlier this week after missing back-to-back games with back tightness to kick off Week 2 of the fantasy baseball season. That's one less bat in the outfield others have to compete with for ABs, especially against right-handed pitching.

Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays - Neck

Bichette was scratched from the lineup Sunday due to neck spasms, and there’s been no further update at time of writing. The Blue Jays kick off a three-game series against the Astros to begin the week, with their next off day being Thursday. Consider him day-to-day for the time being.

Royce Lewis, Minnesota Twins - Quad

Lewis homered earlier in the game, but after rounding second base, he came up a bit lame, and it’s being called a severe quad strain.

The team has already said he’ll be out more than a month, which is a significant blow for the Twins and fantasy baseball managers alike.

Max Kepler, Minnesota Twins - Knee

Kepler fouled a ball off his knee back on Opening Day, and then was not in the lineup Saturday or Sunday. With the X-rays not revealing any significant damage, consider Kepler day-to-day for at this juncture.




Anthony Volpe, New York Yankees - Illness

Volpe was out of the lineup on Sunday due to an upset stomach, so those in weekly leagues shouldn’t have much concern with him for the week ahead. The Yankees have six games this week, beginning with a three-game set out west against Arizona. There’s a good chance Volpe is back in the lineup Monday or Tuesday.

Sean Murphy, Atlanta Braves - Oblique

Murphy injured himself after a swing and was placed on the injured list with a left oblique strain. It’s reported that he will miss a couple of weeks, opening the door for Travis d’Arnaud to be the primary catcher through April and into May.

DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees - Foot

From a bruise to a fracture, that is the update regarding LeMahieu’s right foot. He’ll be reevaluated in two weeks. For the time being, the scorching hot Oswaldo Cabrera should continue to get ample playing time at the hot corner for the Bronx Bombers.

Mitch Garver, Seattle Mariners - Back

Garver’s back spasms aren’t thought to be a long-term issue, but he hasn’t been in the lineup since March 28th. Consider him day-to-day, but fantasy managers in weekly leagues might want to make alternate plans for this scoring week.

Lars Nootbaar, St. Louis Cardinals - Ribs

Well, we got a small update on Nootbaar! He made it through a handful of at-bats in simulated games over the weekend, and according to manager Carlos Marmol, Nootbaar could be heading out on a rehab assignment on Tuesday. His return seems to be nearing, but fantasy managers won’t be using him during this scoring week.