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Injury Watch: The Ulnar Issues of Daniel Hudson and Lonnie Chisenhall

It seems like this is the time of year where everyone's schedule for returning from injury is "after the All-Star break." But here at IW, we try to be just a little more specific than that. So not only will we update you on two players with much more specific return times, but they also have very different injuries in similar body parts. Daniel Hudson (UCL surgery) and Lonnie Chisenhall (ulna fracture surgery) both need a long look for fantasy owners, and reasonable replacements.

Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks

Ugh. Dan Hudson, like so many other starters this year, has torn the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and will have Tommy John surgery in the next couple of days. Mid-season TJ surgery really, really takes a chunk out of your playing career. If all goes well, one might expect to see Hudson back in the D-Backs' rotation sometime around mid-to-late 2013.

Hudson hadn't been pitching very well in 2012, almost entirely due to a greatly-increased propensity for home runs. Despite striking out and walking batters at nearly the same rate as 2011, Hudson was giving up home runs to the tune of 1.7 HR/9, a wildly high number. That lead to a nasty (bad nasty, that is) 7.35 ERA, which is no good for your fantasy squad.

So who could you use to replace Dan Hudson on your fantasy team? If he's not already snapped up in your league, Trevor Bauer is not only another Diamondback, but he's also a decent ringer for Hudson in terms of projection. While Bauer projects to strike out more than his share of hitters, he's a young pitcher who occasionally leaves the ball up in the zone, leaving him homer-prone. Bauer's taken in more than half the ESPN leagues out there, and our own Mike Axisa wrote a strong piece all about him earlier in the week.

If Bauer's already off the board (and even if he's not), how about looking at Andrew Cashner. Cashner brings very serious heat to the party, and pitching in PetCo Park means that he's not the risk for HR that Hudson / Bauer are. Before his start on Tuesday night, Cashner had been lights out in his first two starts of the season, and flashes the potential to be a world-class K artist. Expect a strikeout every inning when Cashner takes the hill and, so long as he stays healthy, he'll be a fantasy mainstay for a number of good teams. Our Tom Warman thinks that it's a better option to buy Cashner over Bauer, and I agree with him.

Lonnie Chisenhall, Indians

How much does it hurt to get hit by a major league fastball, you guys? Cleveland's third baseman of the future got absolutely drilled by a Troy Patton pitch back on June 27, and the result was a fractured ulna. If that wasn't bad enough, Chisenhall recently required surgery to repair the injury on Sunday, and now looks to miss ten to twelve weeks. In other words, he'll be back LONG after the All-Star Break.

Though Jack Hannahan has gotten the bulk of time at the hot corner for the Tribe this season, Chisenhall is still a top prospect and young position player. Chizz had actually been playing pretty okay recently, despite a complete unwillingness or inability to draw a walk (one walk in 74 plate appearances). He's managed three home runs in 24 games in 2012, and had posted a wRC+ of 104, putting him slightly above league average in terms of overall offensive performance in this small sample. Though his plate discipline issues are troubling, there's still potential for him to be a solid fantasy regular due to his latent power.

For your fantasy squad, here's the nitty-gritty. In a normal 5x5 redraft league, he's a drop, if you had him on your team for some reason. In any redraft league, he's a drop. In any OBP league, keeper or non-keeper, he's probably a drop. That OBP is going to be straight up ugly for most of his career. In a deep AL-only, mixed, or dynasty league, you may want to hold on to him on your DL, but you'll still probably need a replacement.

Might I suggest Todd Frazier of the Cincinnati Reds? Frazier is absolutely murdering the ball of late, and now has 8 HR on the season and a wicked slash line of .278/.344/.562(!) to go with a load of R and RBI. Though he might lose playing time once Scott Rolen's back from his injury, Frazier has hit at every level and should continue to thrive in the majors. Oh, and he's also still available in almost every ESPN league given his 0.6% ownership rate.

Quick Hits: Chris Carpenter is going to have surgery to address his (ominous-sounding) thoracic outlet syndrome, and will miss the rest of the season. Basically, there's too much compression of his blood vessels and nerves in his shoulder and upper body. While it sounds terrible, Carpenter is confident that he'll return for the 2013 tilt. ... Matt Kemp is likely to begin his rehab assignment in the next day or so. This is important for fantasy fans and for the Dodgers, who, to put it bluntly, are a terrible offensive team without him. In all likelihood we'll see Kemp in Chavez Ravine, you guessed it, immediately following the All-Star Break. ... Ian Stewart of the Cubs will miss the rest of the season with surgery on his wrist. I guess we'll all have to wait until next year to continue being disappointed by his performance. Stewart appears to have lost all fantasy value entirely, and will probably be displaced next season by Luis Valbuena or Josh Vitters. ... Giancarlo Stanton has had lingering knee soreness all season long, but it finally caused him to take a rest on Tuesday. Stanton doesn't believe that this will affect any other games going forward, the Home Run Derby, or the All-Star Game. But you may want to keep an eye on this.


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