**These reports are prepared by Ryan Dumouchel and Jose Maldonado.
Welcome to the Last Word On Sports 2015 Weekly Baseball Injury Report. This will be a series of reports updated every week to give you the insight and advantage you need to make any necessary changes to your fantasy lineup. It can be tough trying to decipher whether a particular injury is serious enough to keep a player off the field for an extended amount of time and we here at LWOS want to provide you with the best up to date information available. We will also provide analysis and, at times, bench and minor league player recommendations that will gain more playing time because of an injury. Be smart and don’t let the injury bug ruin your team and your chance for a Fantasy Baseball Championship.
LWOS 2015 BASEBALL INJURY REPORT WEEK OF MARCH 22
HOMER BAILEY, SP, CINCINNATI REDS, FANTASY PROS ADP 180.8
The Injury: Bailey is currently recovering from forearm surgery and could be back by mid-April.
What It Means: While he should be good to go for most of the season, this does put a minor dent into his fantasy value as he will miss at least a couple of starts. The good news is that he is making recovery progress. He threw a bullpen session on Thursday and is on track to pitch a simulated game on Sunday.
MIGUEL CABRERA, 1B, DETROIT TIGERS, FANTASY PROS ADP 5.7
The Injury: Cabrera is currently recovering from foot surgery and could possibly be ready to play on Opening Day.
What It Means: Last week, Cabrera continued to make progress in his recovery. However, there are still some more progress that needs to be made such as running and agility exercises before Cabrera is cleared to play any games.
Even though this will likely have an impact on his stock, he is still likely to be drafted in the first round. If you are one of those people looking to draft him in the 1st round, pay VERY close attention to how this recovery progresses.
RUSNEY CASTILLO, OF, BOSTON RED SOX, FANTASY PROS ADP 143.3
The Injury: Castillo has a left oblique strain but could possibly be back by Opening Day.
What It Means: While the recovery portion seems to be going well as he played in a minor league game on Thursday and he’s on track to start playing in Spring Training games. At this point, one of the bigger risks with Castillo is whether or not he will start the season in the minor leagues.
BRETT CECIL, RP, TORONTO BLUE JAYS, FANTASY PROS ADP 282.7
The Injury: Cecil is experiencing left shoulder discomfort and could possibly be ready by Opening Day.
What It Means: Cecil was back to throwing on the mound last week. This makes things look encouraging that Cecil will be ready to start the season. In Cecil’s case, the other factor which appears to be more threatening to his fantasy value is whether the Blue Jays decide to put in Aaron Sanchez as a starter or a closer.
ALEX COBB, SP, TAMPA BAY RAYS, FANTASY PROS ADP 73.3
The Injury: Cobb is currently recovering from right forearm tendinitis and could be back in early April. However, he is not expected to make his scheduled Opening Day start.
What It Means: In the best case scenario, this slightly decreases Cobb’s draft value. While it sounds like the amount of missed time appears limited to a few starts, this situation will need to be watched closely before you decide to draft Cobb.
PATRICK CORBIN, SP, ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS, FANTASY PROS ADP 418.0
The Injury: Corbin is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery that he had in March and he may be back as early as June.
What It Means: For draft status, best-case scenario would be a late round pick for deeper and NL-only leagues. While he had solid 2013 numbers, 3.41 ERA/7.69 K/9 in most cases Corbin isn’t worth drafting due to the expectation of missed time.
While a partial season of the above numbers may not be worth drafting, Corbin may be a reasonable waiver wire pick up when he returns and if he shows the potential to repeat the numbers that he had in 2013. According to a recent report, Corbin is getting very close to throwing off the mound.
SEAN DOOLITTLE, RP, OAKLAND ATHLETICS, FANTASY PROS ADP 189.7
The Injury: Doolittle is currently recovering from a left rotator cuff tear. There doesn’t appear to be an explicit timetable on when he is expected to be back in action.
What It Means: While Doolittle initially had a strong fantasy value based on a strong 2014 season, missing at least some time does not help. Recently, he has been doing plyometric work to build shoulder strength and has not yet received clearance to resume throwing.
On the other end, this should give a boost to the fantasy value for Tyler Clippard as he is expected to start the season as the closer in Oakland.
YU DARVISH, SP, TEXAS RANGERS, FANTASY PROS ADP 79.5
The Injury: Darvish has a partial tear of the UCL in his right elbow and he underwent Tommy John surgery last week.
What It Means: Obviously, this is not good news. If you have already done your draft and used an early round pick to draft Darvish, this is definitely not what you don’t want to hear. If you haven’t done your draft and were thinking about drafting Darvish, it is now official that he will be out for 2015 and now is the time to think about other options.
JACOBY ELLSBURY, OF, NEW YORK YANKEES ADP 26.8
The Injury: Ellsbury is recovering from a low-grade oblique strain. He is likely to be ready for Opening Day
What It Means: At this point, he is off the field for this week. While the confidence level is high for being ready for Opening Day, this does add another thing to be closely watching if you are considering using an early round draft pick on Ellsbury.
EDWIN ENCARNACION, 1B, TORONTO BLUE JAYS FANTASY PROS ADP 11.8
The Injury: Encarnacion is currently suffering from back discomfort but is slated to possibly be ready by Opening Day.
What It Means: This is one of the must-watch injury situations in Fantasy as Encarnacion is a late-first round pick in many leagues. With that being said, there does not appear to be a massive amount of concern as there is plenty of time left in spring training to get back into game shape.
JOSE FERNANDEZ, SP, MIAMI MARLINS, FANTASY PROS ADP 177.8
The Injury: Fernandez is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery and is scheduled to be back by June.
What It Means: For the back end of the draft, it leaves us with an interesting dilemma. Since Fernandez was very dominant over his first 36 starts (2.25 ERA, 10.31 K/9), do you stash him on your roster until he returns from injury or pass in favor of a less talented pitcher with a cleaner bill of health?
While his latest throwing session went well and he had no pain, it is also indicated that they are not rushing his return to the diamond and that if you draft Fernandez, you will still need to count on having to stash him on the DL for at least a couple of months.
EVAN GATTIS, C, HOUSTON ASTROS ADP 91.8
The Injury: Evan Gattis has been experiencing right wrist discomfort but could possibly be back by Opening Day.
What It Means: One thing that is concerning is that we are only weeks away from Opening Day and Evan Gattis is still not cleared to swing a bat. Even if he does not miss anytime, this type of injury is concerning as this could impact his ability to hit for power and for the time being, decreases his value.
ALEX GORDON, OF, KANSAS CITY ROYALS, FANTASY PROS ADP 108.7
The Injury: Gordon is recovery from right wrist surgery and is likely to be ready by Opening Day.
What It Means: Gordon continues to make progress in his recovery. Currently, he is set to make his Spring Training debut.
JOSH HAMILTON, OF, LOS ANGELES ANGELS FANTASY PROS ADP 258.2
The Injury: Hamilton is currently recovering from shoulder surgery. Also, the ruling regarding his punishment for his relapse has yet to be announced and Rob Manfred does not appear to be in a hurry to decide on how he is going to handle this situation.
What It Means: Over the last few seasons, Hamilton’s value has trended downwards due to a continual stream of injuries and decreased production since signing with the Angels. It is getting more and more likely that he will miss time whether it be due to injury, suspension or a combination of both.
DEREK HOLLAND, SP, TEXAS RANGERS ADP 233.6
The Injury: Holland is currently experiencing left shoulder soreness and could possibly be ready by opening day.
What It Means: Holland is a little bit behind the eight ball as he did miss part of Spring Training. The good news is that he is starting to make some progress as he has made his Spring Training debut which went smoothly.
KENLEY JANSEN, RP, LOS ANGELES DODGERS, Fantasy Pros ADp 94.5
The Injury: Jansen is out until at least late-April after having left foot surgery.
What It Means: The good news is that Jansen continues to make progress in his recovery. Last week, Jansen played catch for the first time since his surgery, throwing from 60 feet.
Beyond his return date, the other unsettled question is who temporarily fills in the Closer role while Jansen recovers. Currently, there are several pitchers in the Dodgers camp with aspirations to pick up some early-season saves. However, this is a question that is still not even close to being resolved.
JON JAY, OF, ST. LOUIS CARDINALS FANTASY PROS ADP 336.7
The Injury: Jon Jay is currently recovering from left wrist surgery and is likely to be ready by Opening Day.
What It Means: On Wednesday, Jay (and teammate Lance Lynn) played in a simulated game. It appears that the results of this was encouraging enough for Jay to soon be able to play in some Spring Training games.
CLIFF LEE, SP, PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES, FANTASY PROS ADP 144.2
The Injury: Lee exited his Spring Training start on March 8th after experiencing discomfort.
What It Means: The prognosis on his injury is extremely bleak. Lee has been officially paced on the 60-day DL and it is unlikely that he will be healthy enough to pitch this season.
JON LESTER, SP, CHICAGO CUBS, FANTASY PROS ADP 42.2
The Injury: Jon Lester was scratched from his Spring Training start on Saturday due to having a tired arm.
TIM LINCECUM, SP, SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS ADP 331.6
The Injury: Lincecum has a sore neck and it is possibly that he will be ready by Opening Day.
What It Means: In addition to questions of whether Lincecum can even come close to returning to the performance he had early in his career, there is now the question of how the recovery from this injury will go. The good news is that he is not scheduled to miss very much time at this point as he is still on track to make his next scheduled start.
LANCE LYNN, SP, ST. LOUIS CARDINALS, FANTASY PROS ADP 125.8
The Injury: Lynn is recovering from a Left hip flexor strain and could possibly be ready by Opening Day.
What It Means: Lynn threw in a simulated game on Wednesday. The simulated game appears to have gone smoothly which is an encouraging sign that he could be ready to go once the season starts.
NICK MARKAKIS, OF, ATLANTA BRAVES, FANTASY PROS ADP 283.2
The Injury: Markakis is currently recovering from neck surgery that he had in December. There is still the possibility that he will be ready to go by Opening Day.
What It Means: If you are planning on adding him as a late round draft pick, you will need to closely watch his recovery progress. It appears that his readiness for Opening Day is questionable at this point as he has yet to play in a Spring Training game.
VICTOR MARTINEZ, 1B, DETROIT TIGERS, FANTASY PROS ADP 55.7
The Injury: Martinez is currently recovering from left knee surgery and is likely to be ready by Opening Day.
What It Means: Last week, Martinez continued to make progress in his recovery. While he has not seen any game action yet but has been increasing his workout regimen.
Drafting Martinez was already somewhat of a risky proposition due to his age and it being unlikely that his power outburst from last year was repeatable. Being injured this close to the start of the season merely adds to the risk, especially since he will be spending less time at Spring Training.
JAKE MCGEE, RP, TAMPA BAY RAYS, FANTASY PROS ADP 215.7
The Injury: McGee is currently recovering from left elbow surgery and could possibly be back by May. The good news is that his recovery is that he continues to make progress as he threw off the mound for the first time on Tuesday.
What It Means: McGee excelled in the closer role last year saving 19 games. He also had a 1.89 ERA & 11.13 K/9. With McGee expected to miss time, the competition for the Rays closer job in Spring Training is something that needs to be watched closely.
MIKE MINOR, SP, ATLANTA BRAVES, FANTASY PROS ADP 248.5
The Injury: Minor is recovering from left shoulder inflammation and could be back by late-April.
What It Means: While his injury will leave him out of action long enough to require a trip to the Disabled List, the one positive thing is that he did not need to have surgery.
MATT MOORE, SP, TAMPA BAY RAYS ADP 398.3
The Injury: Moore is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery that he had in April and could be back by June.
What It Means: While Matt Moore has snuck into the top 400, we wouldn’t recommend drafting him unless you are in a deeper or AL-only league. If you are going to try to pick him up off the waiver wire when it gets closer to his June return, we would advise to monitor his recovery progress closely.
ANGEL PAGAN, OF, SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS, FANTASY PROS ADP 313.2
The Injury: Recovering from back surgery he received in September of 2014. He is a possible for Opening Day.
What It Means: A recent article by John Shea states that Pagan is still dealing with lower back pain and was held out of three Spring Training games for treatment. Pagan adds value in AVG and SB but with 139 games missed the last two seasons due to injuries, he has been pushed to later round picks status. The OF depth of players is pretty deep as well making Pagan a deep league or NL only option. We will know more information soon but it looks like Pagan is in real danger of missing Opening Day
BOBBY PARNELL, RP, NEW YORK METS, FANTASY PROS ADP 343.5
The Injury: Recovering from Tommy John Surgery he received in April of 2014. He will miss the first 3-4 weeks of the regular season.
What It Means: An MLB.com report states that Parnell threw to live batters for the first time since his TJ surgery on Saturday. He threw 20 pitches (11 for strikes) in an intrasquad Minor League game. He will miss the first few weeks of the season but he is eyeing the closer role upon his return. He did have 22 saves in 50 IP in 2013. If he is not drafted in your league (it’s highly likely in standard leagues) he could be an excellent waiver wire addition if he does regain his former position.
HUNTER PENCE, OF, SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS, FANTASY PROS ADP 80.7
The Injury: Pence suffered a broken left forearm from a HBP during a spring training game. He is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.
What It Means: A threat for 20+ HR and 10+ SB with a solid AVG, Pence has certainly been a hot commodity in drafts so far. The good news is that this happened early in Spring Training so he should, barring any setbacks, only miss about 2-3 weeks of the regular season. Hold tight if you’ve already drafted him, as the injury is not season threatening. I see no problem in drafting Pence, as long as you have a backup to fill in until he returns.
JOSH REDDICK, OF, OAKLAND ATHLETICS, FANTASY PROS ADP 285.8
The Injury: Suffered a right oblique strain, he is possible for Opening Day.
What It Means: A recent MLB.com report stated that Reddick is coming along nicely in his rehab. He took some swings on Wednesday and will do so again on Friday. If all goes well, Reddick hopes to take swing at live balls in the batting cage on Saturday. He has also been participating in outfield drills. There is not date for his return back to game action so his status for Opening Day is in jeopardy. If Reddick does miss some time, Craig Gentry would more than likely receive extra plate appearances. Reddick has had injury issues in the past (42 games missed in 2014 and 41 games in 2013) so plan on having a backup if you do draft him.
ANTHONY RENDON, 3B, WASHINGTON NATIONALS, FANTASY PROS ADP 16.5
The Injury: Suffered a MCL sprain in his left knee. He is possible for Opening Day.
What It Means: The injury occurred on a diving play last Monday. A recent Washington Post report states that Rendon feels the sprain isn’t that serious. Right now there is no exact timetable for his return to action, but doctors are comparing it to a sprained ankle. It really depends on the severity and the person it happens too. Feel free to take Rendon if you haven’t had your draft yet, as this looks like a minor injury. We will keep an eye on this in case anything changes.
GARRETT RICHARDS, P, LOS ANGELES ANGELS, FANTASY PROS ADP 131.2
The Injury: Recovering from knee surgery he received in August of 2014. He is expected to miss the first 2-3 weeks of the season.
What It Means: Richards threw 3 innings in an intrasquad game on Wednesday. He threw 44 pitches (31 for strikes) and did not report any discomfort. His rehab isn’t over yet, but this a big step in the right direction. After a breakout year in 2014 (13-4 with a 2.61 ERA and a 164:51 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 IP) he should be a solid pick for 2015. Fantasy owners have had no problem drafting Richards and you shouldn’t either.
HYUN-JIN RYU, P, LOS ANGELES DODGERS, FANTASY PROS ADP 129.2
The Injury: Suffered left shoulder tightness, he is possible for Opening Day.
What It Means: Ryu received an anti-inflammatory injection on Wednesday and has been shut down for three days. This is the same injury that sidelined him a couple times last year as well. Skipper Don Mattingly is exercising caution with their #3 starter, and has stated that he might be placed on the DL to start the season. It’s concerning that the same shoulder discomfort he experienced from last year is carrying over to this year. Ryu is a solid mid-round option (career 3.17 ERA and 293 K in 344 IP), so we will keep a close eye on him and hope that surgery is not in his near future.
CHRIS SALE, P, CHICAGO WHITE SOX, FANTASY PROS ADP 20.5
The Injury: Sale suffered an avulsion fracture on the lateral side of his left foot. He is expected to miss Opening Day.
What It Means: Apparently, there was an accident at his home and Sale came into camp with the injured foot. A recent Yahoo! Sports report stated that he threw a bullpen session on Saturday and is continuing to make progress on his injured foot. The White Sox haven’t given a complete timetable, but they said he is going to definitely miss Opening Day. Sale has said that he will probably return in the second week of the season. Since his introduction as a starter in 2012, Sale has been a dominant force on the hill. His 626 strikeouts rank 7th among qualified starting pitchers and his 2.79 ERA ranks 5th. We will continue to keep a close eye on this injury, as Sale is a highly coveted fantasy asset.
MICHAEL SAUNDERS, OF, TORONTO BLUE JAYS, FANTASY PROS ADP 332.8
The Injury: Saunders has a torn meniscus in his left knee that he suffered in Spring Training. He is possible for Opening Day
What It Means: Well that was weird. First reports had Saunders out until the All-Star break but lo and behold Saunders appeared in a minor league game on Thursday, his first live game since knee surgery. He didn’t play the field but the fact that he played at all is very encouraging. This isn’t his first time dealing with an injury either, missing 68 games in 2014 and 39 games between 2012-2013. This was considered a freak accident (he tripped on a sprinkler divot in the outfield) but Saunders can definitely be categorized as injury prone. It looks like he shouldn’t miss much time once the season starts, but beware of the injury flag.
DREW SMYLY, P, TAMPA BAY RAYS, FANTASY PROS ADP 189
The Injury: Suffering from shoulder tendinitis. He will miss his first start of the season.
What It Means: Smyly threw 20 pitches of a mound on Saturday (all fastballs). He reported feeling great after the session.
Hopefully Smyly can work past this, as he was looking to build off his late season momentum last year. After his trade to the Tampa Bay Rays, Smyly posted a dazzling 1.70 ERA with a 44:11 K/BB ratio in 47 1/3 IP. If you’ve already drafted Smyly hold your breath and hope it’s nothing serious. Alex Colome and Nate Kerns would look to benefit from Smyly’s absence.
DENARD SPAN, OF, WASHINGTON NATIONALS, FANTASY PROS ADP 195.3
The Injury: Received surgery for a torn rectus abdominis muscle on March 9th. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks before resuming baseball activities.
What It Means: Skipper Matt Williams doesn’t want to put a timetable on his return but my best guess would be late April-early May if everything goes well. In the mean time, Michael Taylor will look to get the majority of reps at CF. More known for his glove than his bat, you will want to take a wait and see approach if you are thinking of placing him on your roster. Span was getting a good look by fantasy owners so if you already drafted him then sit tight; there is no need to panic and drop him.
STEPHEN STRASBURG, P, WASHINGTON NATIONALS, FANTASY PROS ADP 24.3
The Injury: Suffered a twisted ankle, he is likely for Opening Day.
What It Means: Strasburg twisted his ankle sometime on Friday while doing his conditioning and was scratched from his scheduled start on Sunday. This doesn’t seem serious at all, as skipper Matt Williams stated in an MLB.com report that they are just pushing his start back a couple days to let his ankle rest. Draft Strasburg with no worries and watch him contend for a N.L. CY Young Award
MARCUS STROMAN, P, TORONTO BLUE JAYS, FANTASY PROS ADP 152
The Injury: Suffered a torn left ACL while running to cover 3B during a Spring Training game. He will miss the entire 2015 season.
What It Means: This is awful news for Stroman, as he was looking to play a big part in the Jays quest for their first playoff berth since 1993. After a solid campaign in 2014 (11-6, 3.65 ERA, 111 K), fantasy owners deemed Stroman good enough to be a mid-round draft pick this year. The good news is that this is not an arm injury so he should pick up right where he left off next spring. This injury opens the door even more for Aaron Sanchez, Marco Estrada, Daniel Norris and Johan Santana, as now there are two open spots in the rotation as opposed to just one. Skipper Jon Gibbons has publicly stated that Sanchez will be a starter leaving the last spot up for grabs.
KOJI UEHARA, RP, BOSTON RED SOX, FANTASY PROS ADP 121.2
The Injury: Suffered a pulled left hamstring; he is possible for Opening Day.
What It Means: A nesn.com report states that skipper John Farrell will hold Uehara out for a few Spring Training games to rest the hamstring. Farrell also de-emphasized the injury saying it wasn’t serious and the front office expects him to be ready for Opening Day. It’s hard to believe that Uehara is going on 40 years old, so be cautious in selecting him, as Father Time is not forgiving. If he does miss Opening Day, look for Edward Mujica to handle the closer duties.
MELVIN (B.J.) UPTON JR., OF, ATLANTA BRAVES, FANTASY PROS ADP 334
The Injury: A MRI showed inflammation in his left foot. He is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.
What It Means: Upton was looking to bounce back this year as his time in Atlanta has not been pretty (.198/.279/.314 with only 15 HR in 267 games). Fantasy owners have been disappointed when drafting Upton and it is definitely showing this year (Fantasy Pros ADP 368). At this point, Upton is strictly deep NL only league material until proven otherwise.
ADAM WAINWRIGHT, P, ST. LOUIS CARDINALS, FANTASY PROS ADP 46.2
The Injury: Suffering from abdominal pain. He is possible for Opening Day.
What It Means: Wainwright was diagnosed with an abdominal strain but he threw in his first Spring Training game on Saturday. He looked great too, throwing four scoreless innings with three strikeouts and only one walk. He threw 41 of 64 pitches for strikes. Wainwright has stated in the past that he will be good to go for Opening Day but nothing is definite at this point. He should be safe to draft (Fantasy Pros ADP 38, career 3.01 ERA, at least 198 IP in the last 5 seasons). However, he is going on 34 and one wonders how long Wainwright can keep up his dominance.
JAYSON WERTH, OF, WASHINGTON NATIONALS, FANTASY PROS ADP 157.8
The Injury: Recovering from shoulder surgery he received in January of 2015. He is possible for Opening Day.
What It Means: Jayson Werth is hoping to make Opening Day, as his surgery was considered minimally invasive. A masnsports.com report states that he will see some game action on Saturday where he will play the field in a minor league game. He will not throw or hit in the game though. He is doing everything he can to be ready for Opening Day but nothing is concrete yet. Werth should be a solid mid round pick that contributes in multiple categories. However you will want a backup to fill in for him if he does miss the first week or so of the season.
ZACH WHEELER, P, NEW YORK METS, FANTASY PROS ADP 151.2
The Injury: Suffered a torn UCL in his pitching elbow and will opt for Tommy John surgery. He will miss the entire 2015 season.
What It Means: Wheeler is in good spirits but this is obviously a tough injury to deal with. After a solid debut in 2013 and a fantastic 2014 (185 K and a 3.54 ERA in 185 IP), fantasy owners had him on their radar for a mid-round selection. Unless something changes, it looks like Dillon Gee will slot into the 5th spot in the rotation. However, Noah Syndergaard is right around the corner and shouldn’t spend much time in AAA this year. At this point in time, Wheeler is due to miss 14 months, meaning he will probably not be ready for Opening Day next year.
MATT WIETERS, C, BALTIMORE ORIOLES, FANTASY PROS ADP 161
The Injury: Recovering from Tommy John Surgery he received in June of 2014. He is possible for Opening Day.
What It Means: A sportsnet.ca report stated that Wieters played at the catcher position for the first time this spring on Tuesday. He reported no discomfort. On Wednesday though, he was shut down from catching for a week and now skipper Buck Showalter has stated that Wieters is probably going to miss Opening Day. Even with the injury news, he should be a solid mid round pick (averaged over 20 HR and 68 RBI from 2011-2013) if you miss out on the early round catchers. If Wieters doesn’t make Opening Day, Caleb Joseph will be tapped to start behind the dish.