**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. Let’s look at MLB injuries.
LWOS 2015 BASEBALL INJURY REPORT WEEK OF MARCH 29
HOMER BAILEY, SP, CINCINNATI REDS, FANTASY PROS ADP 182.4
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 Bailey felt good after throwing 29 pitches in his first spring appearance.
DOMINIC BROWN, OF, PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES, FANTASY PROS ADP 343.7
The Injury: Brown is currently recovering from left Achilles tendinitis and could possibly be ready by Opening Day.
What It Means: For those of you in deeper or NL-only leagues and are considering drafting him for some extra power, this is a situation that you need to pay extra special attention to. At this point, Brown is making progress in his recovery. However, it is still uncertain whether he will be ready on Opening Day.
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: It is starting to look more likely that Cabrera will be ready to play on Opening Day. He has already made his Spring Training debut in which he also played at First Base.
Even though this injury may make owners think twice before selecting him, Cabrera 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 close attention to make sure that he continues to make progress in his recovery.
RUSNEY CASTILLO, OF, BOSTON RED SOX, FANTASY PROS ADP 150.6
The Injury: Castillo has a left oblique strain but could possibly be back by Opening Day.
What It Means: The recovery process for this injury is moving along as Castillo is back on the field. In addition, he has played well since his return. In Castillo’s case, the roster moves the Red Sox make before Opening Day appears to be a bigger issue with his fantasy value than the injury itself.
ALEX COBB, SP, TAMPA BAY RAYS, FANTASY PROS ADP 83.8
The Injury: Cobb is currently recovering from right forearm tendinitis and could be back in early April.
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. The good news is that he is scheduled to start throwing soon and that he is currently not feeling pain in his forearm.
COCO CRISP, OF, OAKLAND ATHLETICS, FANTASY PROS ADP 283.2
The Injury: Crisp is currently recovering from Right elbow Soreness and could possibly be ready for Opening Day.
What It Means: Last week, Crisp received a cortisone shot on his elbow. Typically, a player is only sidelined for a few days once receiving this shot. However, there is still the possibility that Crisp will not be healthy enough to play on Opening Day.
JORGE DE LA ROSA, SP, COLORADO ROCKIES, FANTASY PROS ADP 372.0
The Injury: De La Rosa is recovering from Left groin tightness.
What It Means: On this end, there is no good news at this point. De La Rosa is starting the season on the Disabled List and there is no established timetable for when he will be back.
SEAN DOOLITTLE, RP, OAKLAND ATHLETICS FANTASY PROS ADP 197.6
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 there continues to be no explicit time table for his return, the good news is that he took another step in his recovery as he starting to participate in throwing programs this week.
YU DARVISH, SP, TEXAS RANGERS, FANTASY PROS ADP 60.0
The Injury: Darvish has a partial tear of the UCL in his right elbow and he has already had Tommy John surgery.
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, FANTASY PROS ADP 28.7
The Injury: Ellsbury is recovering from a Low-Grade Oblique Strain. He is likely to be ready for Opening Day
What It Means: Ellsbury has continued to make progress in his recovery as he’s expected to start swinging. While there is still work to do, there is still a high amount of confidence that he will be ready by Opening Day.
EDWIN ENCARNACION, 1B, TORONTO BLUE JAYS FANTASY PROS ADP 12.4
The Injury: Encarnacion is currently suffering from back inflammation and it is likely he will be ready to play 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 182.6
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.
WILMER FLORES, SS, NEW YORK METS FANTASY PROS ADP 344.0
The Injury: Flores is currently recovering from a left foot bruise and could possibly be ready for Opening Day.
What It Means: The Mets are playing this off as a minor bump in the road. Currently, Flores is experiencing pain and is having trouble walking, which comes off as a red flag and a situation that needs further monitoring. However, there is still some optimism that Flores will be ready on Opening Day.
JOSH HAMILTON, OF, LOS ANGELES ANGELS, FANTASY PROS ADP 282.0
The Injury: Hamilton is currently recovering from shoulder surgery. It appears that the decision regarding the disciplinary actions for Hamilton regarding his drug relapse is scheduled to be announced before Opening Day.
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 is due to injury, suspension or a combination of both.
DEREK HOLLAND, SP, TEXAS RANGERS, FANTASY PROS ADP 230.8
The Injury: Holland is currently experiencing left shoulder soreness and could possibly be ready by Opening Day.
What It Means: The prognosis for Holland looks much more encouraging this week. In addition to getting back on to the field, he had a very strong spring training start as he threw 3 scoreless innings.
KENLEY JANSEN, RP, LOS ANGELES DODGERS, FANTASY PROS ADp 99.0
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. Recently, Jansen played catch for the first time since his surgery, throwing from 60 feet.
In the absence of Jansen, the Dodgers are planning on doing a closer by committee. It appears that the only players locked into this committee (and have the best chance to break out and get some saves are J.P. Howell & Joel Peralta.
JOE KELLY, SP, BOSTON RED SOX, FANTASY PROS ADP 377.5
The Injury: Kelly is recovering from right biceps tightness and could possibly be ready by Opening Day.
What It Means: The Red Sox early schedule is a bigger threat to playing time right now than this injury. While it appears that he has recovered from this injury and that he should be physically ready by Opening Day1, the Red Sox will also not need a 5th starter until April 12 and there is a chance Kelly starts the season on the DL.
CLIFF LEE, SP, PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES, FANTASY PROS ADP 154.8
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 placed on the 60-day DL and it is unlikely that he will be healthy enough to pitch this season.
NICK MARKAKIS, OF, ATLANTA BRAVES, FANTASY PROS ADP 295.4
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. The news from the last week has been encouraging as Markakis went 2-for-3 in his Spring Training debut.
VICTOR MARTINEZ, 1B, DETROIT TIGERS, FANTASY PROS ADP 56.2
The Injury: Martinez is currently recovering from left knee surgery and is likely to be ready by Opening Day.
What It Means: Martinez has made progress in his recovery over the last week. While he is unlikely to play in the field, he did make his Spring Training debut and he is currently expected to be ready for Opening Day.
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 215.8
The Injury: McGee is currently recovering from left elbow surgery and could possibly be back by May.
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.
He has made recent progress in his recovery. Currently, he’s scheduled to pitch a few more bullpen sessions before he gets to face live hitters.
MIKE MINOR, SP, ATLANTA BRAVES Fantasy Pros ADP 301.0
The Injury: Minor is recovering from left shoulder inflammation and could be back by May.
What It Means: Even though Minor is expected to miss at least a month, he did make progress over the last week as he felt good after throwing from 60 feet.
MATT MOORE, SP, TAMPA BAY RAYS, FANTASY PROS ADP 389.0
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.
The good news is that Moore did make some progress last week. He is set to resume throwing this week.
DANIEL MURPHY, 2B, NEW YORK METS, FANTASY PROS ADP 148.2
The Injury: Murphy is currently recovering from a right hamstring sprain and could possibly be ready for Opening Day
What It Means: Murphy has been making progress in his recovery. The Mets are optimistic that he will be ready to play by Opening Day. It will be crucial to see that this progress continues as he resumes baseball activities.
ANGEL PAGAN, OF, SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS, FANTASY PROS ADP 327.6
The Injury: Recovering from back surgery he received in September of 2014. He is doubtful for Opening Day.
What It Means: An update from MLB.com states that Pagan played 5 innings in a Minor League game on Tuesday and will play in a Cactus League game on Wednesday. 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.
BOBBY PARNELL, P, NEW YORK METS, FANTASY PROS ADP 344.7
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: A NY Post article states that Parnell pitched in an actual game situation against the Miami Marlins AAA affiliate on Wednesday. His fastball only touched the low 90’s (before TJ he was sitting upper 90’s easily), but it’s not a concern as Parnell stated he wasn’t throwing as hard as he could. 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 91.8
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 290.5
The Injury: Suffering from a right oblique strain. He is doubtful for Opening Day.
What It Means: Skipper Bob Melvin stated that Reddick will play in a Minor League game on Sunday but will be more than likely miss Opening Day. If Oakland does end up placing Reddick on the 15-day-DL, he will not be available to play until April 11th. 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. Eric Sogard will man 2nd while Ben Zobrist takes over RF until Reddick returns.
ANTHONY RENDON, 3B, WASHINGTON NATIONALS, FANTASY PROS ADP 19.2
The Injury: Suffering from a MCL sprain in his left knee. He is possible for Opening Day.
What It Means: Rendon is in danger of missing Opening Day, as a second MRI showed the sprain in his knee is not residing as quickly as they thought. He has been doing light running but lateral movements are still giving him trouble. He has had a history with leg injuries, missing 112 games in the minors from a left ankle sprain. This has gone from “don’t worry” to “maybe we should worry a little.” With his breakout season last year (.287/.351/.473 with 21 HR and 17 SB), Rendon has become a hot commodity on draft day.
GARRETT RICHARDS, P, LOS ANGELES ANGELS, FANTASY PROS ADP 123.2
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 tossed four shutout innings on Monday against the Giants AAA affiliate. He struck out three and walked two but the important thing is he did not report any discomfort. His rehab isn’t over yet, but this is another 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 141
The Injury: Suffering from left shoulder tightness, he will not be ready for Opening Day and will start the season on the DL.
What It Means: Ryu received an anti-inflammatory injection on Wednesday and the pain resided but an L.A. Times article stated that once he resumed throwing on Sunday he reported discomfort again. He was sent to L.A. for an M.R.I. and will be shut down for a couple weeks to rest and rehab. 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. Options to replace him in the rotation are Carlos Frias, Zach Lee, Mike Bolsinger, and Joe Wieland. No timetable is set for his return.
CHRIS SALE, P, CHICAGO WHITE SOX, FANTASY PROS ADP 21.5
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: A report from csnchicago.com states that Sale threw a 75-pitch simulated game and reported no discomfort. He will test his mobility more on Monday, but he did make a SC Top Ten worthy play during the game snagging a grounder behind his back. As of now the team is hopeful that Sale will be ready to go by April 12th, the sixth game 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 335.2
The Injury: Saunders has a torn meniscus in his left knee that he suffered in Spring Training. He will miss Opening Day and start the season on the DL.
What It Means: Skipper John Gibbons squashed any rumors that Saunders could be back by Opening Day by stating that he will begin the season on the DL. After initial reports began ringing the alarm bell, a return in April or even May would be huge for owners who drafted Saunders. 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. Beware of the injury flag.
DREW SMYLY, P, TAMPA BAY RAYS, FANTASY PROS ADP 199.3
The Injury: Suffering from shoulder tendinitis. He will miss his first start of the season.
What It Means: Smyly will throw his fourth bullpen of the spring on Sunday. If all goes well he could throw to live hitters very soon.
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 212.8
The Injury: Received surgery for a torn rectus abdominis muscle on March 9th. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
What It Means: a report from MLB.com states Span was able to swing a bat for the first time since his surgery. It was a fungo bat in the cages but it’s progress and he reported no discomfort. Expect Span back in late April or early May. 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.
MARCUS STROMAN, P, TORONTO BLUE JAYS, FANTASY PROS ADP 155.8
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, P, BOSTON RED SOX, FANTASY PROS ADP 127.5
The Injury: Suffered a pulled left hamstring; he is doubtful for Opening Day.
What It Means: An ESPN.com report states that the Red Sox are now saying that Uehara could miss Opening Day. Alex Speier of the Boston Globe tweets out that Uehara is not quite ready for game action, as the hamstring is not healing as quickly as they hoped. 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 340.5
The Injury: A MRI showed inflammation in his left foot. He is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.
What It Means: A report from ajc.com states that the earliest Upton will be back would be May and that’s not a guarantee. 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 you can find better options, as the outfield depth for fantasy baseball is deep.
JUSTIN VERLANDER, P, DETROIT TIGERS FANTASY PROS ADP 134.8
The Injury: Verlander left his Spring Training start on Saturday due to cramps in his throwing arm. He is possible for Opening Day.
What It Means: As of now the injury is not deemed serious and no MRI has been scheduled, though Verlander still has some lingering soreness. Before we start ringing alarm bells, Verlander is still scheduled for his next start and he plans on taking the hill, barring any setbacks. Skipper Brad Asumus is a little worried but believes it’s not a long-term injury. Verlander has been a durable workhorse for Detroit missing only a handful of starts in his 9+ seasons with the Tigers.
ADAM WAINWRIGHT, P, ST. LOUIS CARDINALS, FANTASY PROS ADP 47
The Injury: Suffered from abdominal pain. He is possible for Opening Day.
What It Means: Wainwright was diagnosed with an abdominal strain early in spring but started in his second Spring Training game on Thursday. He got roughed up a bit (3.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER) but it’s spring and guys are just trying to get into form. Wainwright has stated in the past that he will be good to go for Opening Day and it looks like that will be the case 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 160.7
The Injury: Recovering from shoulder surgery he received in January of 2015. He is doubtful for Opening Day
What It Means: Jayson Werth has yet to play in any Major League Spring Training game (he has played a couple innings in controlled Minor League games though) and his status for Opening Day is in serious doubt. He is doing everything he can to be ready but the Nationals will want to see him play in an actual live game before making any commitments. 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 154.4
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: After a solid debut in 2013 and a great 2014 (185 K and a 3.54 ERA in 185 IP), fantasy owners had Wheeler 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 169.8
The Injury: Recovering from Tommy John Surgery he received in June of 2014. He is doubtful for Opening Day
What It Means: Its not official yet, but it looks like Wieters will miss Opening Day due to his elbow injury. If, and more likely when, Wieters is placed on the 15-day-DL he will not be available to return until April 11th. With the injury lingering you may want to look at other options at catcher. Wieters has averaged over 20 HR and 68 RBI from 2011-2013 so if he can get back into form, he could be a steal towards the later part of the draft if he falls that far. If Wieters doesn’t make Opening Day, Caleb Joseph will be tapped to start behind the dish.