2019 MLB Injury Report: April 5
Michael A. Stein breaks down the injury situations across Major League Baseball, including player profiles, reasons for optimism, and reasons for pessimism.
The hits just keep on coming as an elite first round draft pick has been sent to the injured list while another one hit himself in the foot. We are just a couple weeks into the season and already fantasy GMs’ seasons have been thrown completely into flux. It is still too early to panic so GMs need to maintain their composure and figure out a way to best compensate for the loss of significant players. I would also be remiss if I did not welcome back to the injury report the player who I have always so closely associated with this article – Troy Tulowitzki . It didn’t take long for us to reconnect in 2019. So without further ado, here is the next edition of the fantasy baseball emergency room.
Trea Turner (SS-WAS)
Fantasy GMs collectively vomited earlier this week when Trea Turner was struck on his right index finger by a Zach Eflin pitch as he was attempting to bunt and suffered a non-displaced fracture as a result. This is devastating news for fantasy GMs who were riding Turner’s incredibly hot start to the season. He was batting .357 with two home runs, four RBI, four runs scored and four stolen bases thus far demonstrating his true five-category value. We do not know exactly how long Turner will be out, but it is going to be multiple weeks at the very least. Wilmer Difo should see most of the playing time in Turner’s absence for now, but Washington’s best prospect Carter Kieboom could be an option down the road if Turner is out longer than expected.
José Ramírez (3B-CLE)
Here we go again with José Ramírez who fortunately avoided a major injury at the end of spring training when he fouled a ball off his lower leg. On Thursday, he fouled a ball off his left foot and had to be taken out of the game as he was diagnosed with a contusion. The Indians are downplaying the injury and said removing him from the game was precautionary. While that may be true, it is still concerning for fantasy GMs who have not gotten much production from their 1st pick in the draft as Ramirez is only batting .136 with no home runs, one RBI, three runs scored and no stolen bases. It would not be surprising if Ramirez is given a day or two off which creates a gaping hole on the left side of the Indians infield as they are still without Francisco Lindor .
Marcell Ozuna (OF-STL)
Fantasy GMs should be concerned about Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna who was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Thursday. He was scratched from the lineup on Wednesday due to tightness in his side and the fear is that he suffered an intercostal strain. We do not know the results of the MRI as of yet, but it seems almost certain that he will be placed on the 10-day injured list either way. Ozuna had questions about his health coming into the season as he was coming back from shoulder surgery, but now he finds himself dealing with another malady. José Martínez will likely see additional at bats in Ozuna’s place for what could be an extended absence.
Edwin Encarnación (DH-SEA)
Mariners DH Edwin Encarnación was scratched from the lineup on Tuesday due to soreness in his left hand. This was simply a case of Seattle being overly cautious as they were not concerned about the issue at all. It was expected that Encarnacion would be back in the lineup on Thursday, but we will never know since the Mariners game against the White Sox was rained out. Consider him day-to-day right now until we actually see him back in the lineup. Encarnacion has not been a big part of Seattle’s early season power display as he only has one home run and one RBI to start the season.
Aníbal Sánchez (SP-WAS)
During his debut with the Nationals earlier this week, Aníbal Sánchez was hit by a comebacker off the bat of Andrew McCutchen and had to be taken out of the game. He was struck in the hip and fortunately only sustained a bruise. He is fully expected to make his next start early next week in a rematch with the Phillies. Sanchez had a terrific 2018 season before signing as a free agent with the Nationals. He was not overly effective before getting hit as he allowed four runs in four innings. He will have a tough rematch trying to navigate through the Phillies deep and powerful lineup.
Brandon Morrow (RP-CHC)
Good news for GMs who drafted and stashed Brandon Morrow as he is making progress in his quest to return from offseason elbow surgery. He is scheduled to have another bullpen session before he is cleared to pitch to live batters. Barring any setbacks, his progress should accelerate pretty quickly as he could begin a rehab assignment shortly after facing live hitters. Injuries have always been an issue for Morrow including last year when he was limited to just 35 games. However, he was spectacular in those 35 games compiling 22 saves with a sparkling 1.47 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. The Cubs have struggled out of the gate thus far but they are still expected to compete for the NL Central title and Morrow will have plenty of chances to close games out when he is able to return.
Corey Dickerson (OF-PIT)
Pirates outfielder Corey Dickerson has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained right shoulder. The Pirates had kept him out of the starting lineup on Wednesday because of some soreness in the shoulder, but he was able to pinch hit later in the game. It turns out that may have exacerbated the problem because now he is on the shelf with no estimate for how long he could be out. Dickerson has been a solid OF3 or OF4 in most fantasy lineups the past couple years but now GMs face a tough dilemma over whether to stash him or set him free. In leagues with small benches, GMs will need the roster flexibility and Dickerson is not a good enough player to allocate one precious reserve slot for. J.B Shuck is in line to see at bats in Dickerson’s absence, but he is not a relevant alternative except in deep N.L.-only leagues.
Andrelton Simmons (SS-LAA)
Simmons was taken out of Thursday’s game against Texas with tightness in his lower back. He is considered day-by-day right now until we hear further updates on his condition. Simmons had a great 2018 season and emerged as a viable fantasy option in Roto leagues thanks to his .292 batting average with 11 home runs, 75 RBI, 68 runs scored and ten stolen bases. He has gotten off to a slow start much like the rest of the Angels offense as he is currently batting .167 with no home runs and three RBI thus far. In the event Simmons is out for any amount of time, Zack Cozart would likely shift over to shortstop with David Fletcher playing third base.
Jake Lamb (1B-ARZ)
Diamondbacks first baseman Jake Lamb was removed from Wednesday’s game against San Diego with a strained left quadriceps. He was scheduled for an MRI on Thursday but we do not know the results as of the time of this writing. It is very likely that Lamb will require a stint on the injured list which means that Christian Walker could see more at bats. Lamb needed to prove himself this year after a disastrous 2018 season so this injury will not help his case. Walker has gotten off to a fast start so he should play almost every day if Lamb is indeed out for an extended period of time.
Troy Tulowitzki (SS-NYY)
It was only a matter of time before the eponymous injury report made his way back home. Tulowitzki missed all of 2018 and only played in 66 games in 2017. In fact, he has missed at least 30 games every year since 2011 and has not appeared in at least 150 games since 2009. He was looking for a fresh start with the Yankees after being released by Toronto and had an opportunity to play every day while Didi Gregorius recovers from Tommy John surgery. It took all of five games before he landed back on the injured list with a strained left calf. The Yankees expect Tulowitzki to be out for an extended period of time and recalled Thairo Estrada to take his place on the roster. The plan as of now is for Gleyber Torres to shift over to shortstop while youngsters Estrada and Tyler Wade split time at second base. This would have been the ideal spot for DJ LeMahieu but he has already taken over third base for Miguel Andújar who is on the injured list with a shoulder injury.