Injury Watch


Injury Watch: Finishing Strong

Today's edition of Injury Watch is the last one with a full slate of MLB games in front of it. We're down to the wire, and it's time to take a look at the last, best players dealing with injury issues as we prepare for October.

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

With news that Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will get at least one more chance to start before the end of the season, Dodgers fans and fantasy mavens should be rejoicing. Heck, anyone who likes to see good pitching should be pretty pleased.

The reigning Cy Young champ has been dealing with a hip impingement. At first, the thought was that he may need surgery, but now it appears that Kershaw will throw and see if there's any pain. If not, he'll make his scheduled start on Friday against the Rockies.

In case you haven't been keeping track, Kershaw's 2012 hasn't been quite as awesome as his 2011. This season, Clayton has only racked up 12 wins and 211 strikeouts, both numbers considerably less than his 2011 numbers. At the same time, his K/9 rate is hasn't fallen too much, moving down to 8.97 from 9.57, and his FIP still sits at 2.99, which is quite close to his sparkling 2.68 ERA. This "down" season from Kershaw is still one of the best in the majors, so he's still certainly an elite pitcher.

When it comes to fantasy, your options are clear. Basically, if you already have Kershaw, you should try to start him as the season winds down. If you don't have him, grab him if someone was foolish enough to drop him. And, given how that outing goes, you might feel just a bit more comfortable drafting him first (or close-to-first) among starters for 2013. Less-than-100-percent Clayton Kershaw is a heck of a lot better than almost any other start at full strength.

Josh Willingham, Twins

Offseason import Josh Willingham has certainly been one of the two best hitters on the Twins this season, along with Joe Mauer. While both players have been pretty consistently healthy this season, Willingham is now due to miss time due to a strained left shoulder. While his MRI revealed only a strain, a shoulder issue will almost-definitely affect his play leading up to the end of the season.

Josh has been pounding the ball so far in '12, and is working his best season ever with the bat. With 3 HR and 110 RBI (not to mention a sterling .378 wOBA), he's been a fantastic fantasy contributor in almost any format. If the strain isn't too serious, I wouldn't worry about Willingham being limited for next season. But keep in mind that this is a career year, and he may not hit quite at this level next season or any other in the future.

Do yourself a favor, and don't make it a point to start the Hammer for the rest of the season. But you should definitely consider adding him in the offseason, leading up to 2013. Perhaps his raw numbers won't be quite as impressive as his 2012 campaign, but there's also a non-zero chance that Willingham gets moved in the offseason or during 2013 to a team where his bat might play with more potency.

Quick Hits: A's starter Brett Anderson is suffering from a strained oblique, and will miss the rest of the regular season. He may be able to return for the playoffs, which would be a big boon to the Athletics. ... Mets closer Frank Francisco is out for the rest of 2012, but a mysterious tweet indicated he will miss 2013 as well. Though this could have been a mistake, Francisco isn't an elite back-of-the-bullpen option anyway. Draft accordingly in 2013. ... Astros outfielder J.D. Martinez will miss the rest of the season with a broken hand, and will have the chance to up his game in 2013. ... David Freese is hobbling on a sprained ankle. He may be ready for game action over the weekend, so he's worth monitoring. ... Chris Young of the Diamondbacks is still out with his right quad injury, but Adam Eaton is doing a great job Wally Pipp'ing Young. He won't be rushed back. ... Outfielders Justin Ruggiano and Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins are still day-to-day with minor injuries. Both could be back any day now. ... Yu Darvish missed his Tuesday start with neck stiffness, and may be held out until the playoffs.


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Injury Watch: Late-Season Slowdown Edition

Hey there, RotoAuthority readers! We've reached the point in the season where teams aren't even bothering with the 15-day DL in some cases, as rosters have expanded, and there's less than 15 days left in the regular season.

On a only-kind-of-related sidenote, today's article is dedicated to my wife, Sarah. She's currently missing time after arthroscopic knee surgery. While she's on the 15-day DL, I expect she will need no rehab assignment, and is due to come off before the end of the season. Anyways, on to the injuries!

Chris Carpenter, Cardinals

Surprise, surprise, Chris Carpenter is on his way back. After suffering from thoracic outlet syndrome, a condition where excess pressure is placed on the nerves or arteries in the upper chest and shoulder region. While it was initially thought that Carpenter would miss the entire 2012 season, it now appears that he will make a few appearances at the major-league level as the Cardinals attempt to hold on to their position near the top of the wild card race.

Carpenter, a long-time fixture at the top of the Cardinals' rotation (and the disabled list), has a career 3.76 ERA and 3.80 FIP -- but those numbers don't tell the whole story of his success. Carpenter has also won two World Series rings with the Cards, and his pitching stats have improved significantly since playing for the Cardinals starting in 2004. Last season, Carpenter struck out 7.24 batters per nine innings, and racked up 5.0 fWAR.

The Cardinals are desperately trying to hang on to the last wild card spot, and currently sit 1.5 games ahead of the Dodgers for that last postseason berth. If they were out of contention, one might imagine that Carpenter would continue to get rest, but with the season on the line, the veteran ace should see use in at least two -- likely three -- games, plus any possible time in the playoffs.

The question is, if you still have a team that needs starts, wins, or rate stats, should you start Chris Carpenter? My advice is that yes, yes you should. Carpenter may be available on the wire in your league, especially if several league-mates have already checked out. And although we really don't know what kind of pitching shape Carpenter will be in, he pitches for a solid offensive team that's playing hard for a playoff spot. Best of all, if the current schedule holds, he'll draw the terrible Chicago Cubs and the even-worse Houston Astros for his first two starts out. Those are two eminently-beatable teams with weak offenses, so I'd give Carp a shot.

Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

Let's talk briefly about another injury-prone superstar: Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Tulo, a perennial MVP candidate, has been limited to just 47 games and 203 plate appearances so far in an injury-plagued 2012. He was still pretty ok with the bat in that limited time, posting 114 wRC+, as well as 8 HR, a .287 batting average, and solid R and RBI numbers.

Since early in the season, Tulo has been battling a groin injury that's proven tough to overcome. Last week, Troy headed back to Denver to consult with doctors about a next course of action. It's possible he could return for, say, the last week of the season, but chances are that he's done for the year, especially with the Rockies well out of playoff contention.

I don't know if you've been hanging onto Tulo in the hopes that he'll come back this season, but if you have, it's probably time to cut bait. The odds of him not only returning this season, but also mashing the cover off the ball as well, are pretty slim. Tulo was having a down year with the bat in the games he did play, and groin issues can sap power and (especially) speed. Stick with Joshua Rutledge until next year ... and consider drafting Tulo a little later than you would usually in next year's drafts as well. These injury issues are a little disconcerting.

Quick Hits: Braves shortstop Paul Janish dislocated his shoulder on Tuesday. Janish, who's been filling in for Andrelton Simmons (who also has a shoulder issue) and Alex Gonzalez as the backup SS, doesn't have a firm timetable for a return. ... Brandon Inge is now definitely out for the season, after surgery on his shoulder. Looks like the A's will have to mix and match at third base during the post-season, not that it would be any worse than running Inge out there. ... Clayton Kershaw saw a hip specialist on Tuesday, and is re-starting a throwing program to see if his impingement will prevent him from pitching again in 2012. If Kershaw needs surgery, there's a chance he won't be healthy to start 2013. ... Giancarlo Stanton is dealing with a strained left intercostal muscle, and might return to the Marlins' lineup this weekend. Baseballs everywhere are terrified. ... Padres closer Huston Street looks to be returning to action before the end of the season. He's currently dealing with a left calf strain, and has been lights out when healthy this season. ... Finally, with Jason Hammel still dealing with a knee issue, and the Orioles just having come off a big 18-inning game on Tuesday, uber-prospect Dylan Bundy will be coming up to the majors today. Thanks to this particular injury, the surprising Orioles will have a chance to replace their current ace with a potential one.


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Injury Watch: Berkman & McCarthy Edition

Welcome back to Injury Watch, baseball fans! Though I was gone last week, I'm back now, and ready to update you on some of the league's most important injuries. We'll focus on the injuries that will affect your fantasy team the most, but this time we'll take a long look at two season-ending injuries that may affect players all the way to 2013, or even beyond.

Lance Berkman, Cardinals

The Cardinals were hit with some more bad news recently. Lance Berkman hasn't been able to come back from his nagging right knee injury, and will need another surgery, his second this season. The Cardinals' slugger has made mention in the past that this might be his final season in the bigs, given his recent health issues.

Lance had been having a solid line in the time he was able to get on the field. He had posted a wRC+ of 130, and a wOBA of .361, in just under 100 plate appearances. In fantasy terms, Lance was slightly less impressive, with two homers and steals each, 12 RBI, and a .263 batting average. But Berkman was coming off a stellar 2011, in which he crushed 31 HR and bit .301 on the season, with solid R and RBI numbers as well. If Berkman does return in 2013, I certainly would not expect him to put up those kinds of counting stats again, or to remain healthy through a full season. He could be a fine spot-starter or bench piece for a fantasy team, but don't use a high draft pick on someone who's as risky as Lance.

If the Big Puma rides off into the sunset, do not, and I repeat DO NOT sleep on Allen Craig for next season. Craig is a boss. In 766 career plate appearances, Craig has logged 35 HR and a nifty 138 wRC+. He's got a triple-slash line of .305/.359/.538 this season. Now, given that Craig's in his age-27 season, I don't anticipate that he's going to have a massive spike in performance. I do, however think that this is probably pretty close to his true talent level. If he can stay on the field, and maybe get comfortable at first, I expect his production to be pretty great, both in fantasy and real life.

Brandon McCarthy, Athletics

One of the most unfortunate pieces of news of the last several weeks was the one about Brandon McCarthy's very serious, life-threatening injury. In case you missed it, McCarthy was pitching against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Wednesday, September 5, when a batted ball off the bat of Erick Aybar struck McCarthy in the back of the head. McCarthy actually suffered a barrage of effects: the line drive cracked his skull, caused an epidural hemmorrhage, and even caused a brain contusion. After brain surgery, McCarthy remained hospitalized for a few more days, but was recently released and is recuperating at home.

First things first. Although we haven't heard anything officially, it is very safe to assume that Brandon is done for the season. This is a serious blow to the playoff-contending A's, who were leaning on McCarthy as a cornerstone of their rotation. He had followed up on his breakout 2011 campaign with an impressive 3.77 FIP and 3.24 ERA over 111 innings of work this season, and remained a solid fantasy contributor in wins and rate stats, despite a lack of strikeouts. But these kinds of serious, life-threatening injuries tend to end seasons, no matter how well your team is doing, or how well you're pitching. So if you've got Brandon in a redraft league, he's a pretty safe drop.

When it comes to 2013, I'm actually pretty optimistic. McCarthy has dealt with injuries throughout his major league career, and obviously possesses the perserverance and drive to come back from this terrifying event. When he does come back, he'll probably be much the same pitcher he was before: a guy who strikes out few, walks far fewer, and pitches in a terrific pitcher's park. He'll be a mid-to-lower tier starter again, but keep an eye out for updates as he makes his way back in the off-season. And best wishes to Brandon in his recovery.

Quick Hits: Cy Young candidate (yeah, you heard me) Aroldis Chapman has lost some effectiveness recently, and the Reds seem a little worried. While Chapman says that he's tired, not injured, the Reds will still probably rest him for at least a few days. ... Mark Teixeira is dealing with a Grade 1 calf strain, and the injury should keep him out of the lineup until the very end of September or the start of the postseason. ... David Price was dealing with shoulder soreness, but says that the soreness is gone, and intends to start on Friday. Keep an eye on this, as shoulder injuries are dicey. ... Jason Hammel left yesterday's game against the Rays with an apparent knee injury, which is serious bad news for the Orioles as they fight to keep in the Wild Card hunt. Yes, this is the same knee which Hammel had arthroscopic surgery on back in June. And no, the Orioles don't have a lot of depth behind their ace. ... Jed Lowrie has rejoined the Astros, and the potent-hitting infielder could be back on the field today. Get him back in your lineups! ... In case you missed it, J.A. Happ was scheduled for season-ending surgery on his broken foot. Because that's EXACTLY what the Blue Jays needed. ... Rafael Furcal has always had one of the most phenomenal arms I've ever seen in a shortstop, but now that arm needs a lot of rehab. He's dealing with his UCL strain by getting a plasma treatment, and will miss the rest of the season. ... The Cubs' Anthony Rizzo left Tuesday's game after a collision at first, and is day-to-day with upper body soreness. ... Vance Worley will miss the rest of the season after Sept. 7 elbow surgery. Fortunately, he will probably begin a throwing program within six weeks. ... Last, and certainly least, Stephen Strasburg has been shut down as a precautionary measure, in his first season back from Tommy John surgery. Expect the reins to be lifted in 2013, when he should resume a normal workload.


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Injury Watch: A Long Look To 2013

Today's Injury Watch is here to give you a little bit of guidance, not just for the end of 2012, but we'll also look at some injuries that may affect player performance all the way to 2013.

Jose Bautista, Blue Jays

Just a few months ago, Jose Bautista was the king of Canadian baseball. Possessed of otherworldly power, baseballs screamed in fear as they rocketed off his bat and soared into the stands at the Rogers Centre. This week, baseballs everywhere rejoiced, as word came out that Bautista would miss the rest of the season with surgery on his bothersome left wrist. The surgery to address tendon inflammation in the wrist will take place sometime next week.

As I've mentioned in previous articles, one simply does not replace Jose Bautista's production in fantasy by scouring the waiver wire or shuffling their lineup. Bautista is simply too good, and too important. And heaven help you if you were running him out there at 3B, because the prognosis is not good for replacing him with anything. (Brett Wallace, maybe? Is Chipper Jones on the wire?)

What you should begin to consider, is where Jose Bautista might end up on draft boards for 2013, or under what circumstances you might want to keep him. The short version is, don't go overboard, but you may want to drop him a few spots from where you were going to project him before the injury. And where you should have projected him before the injury is probably a few spots lower than where you drafted him this year.

Last season, Bautista brought something exceptionally valuable to the table: third base eligibility. In 2013, he'll be an outfielder only in most leagues (perhaps a first baseman in leagues with flexible eligibility rules). Bautista is also aging, and his power production has slipped from its heights in 2010-2011 this season. Lastly, wrist and hand injuries do tend to sap power, even after the player is back in the lineup. Now, given that Joey Bats will have the entire offseason to recover, its more than likely that there will be no long, lingering effects. But it's also possible that there will be. And Jose Bautista with diminished power isn't a second-round draft pick in fantasy. He's just another mid-to-upper-tier outfielder. So be cautious when looking to pick him up in the offseason. While you might get a good value if you buy low and Bautista rebounds, you also might be investing in a diminishing product.

Yadier Molina, Cardinals

Cardinals fans, I don't want to worry you overmuch, so hear me out before you freak out. Yadi was involved in a collision at home plate last night, and left the game with a possible concussion. As of right now, Yadi is day-to-day, but given how concussions and their symptoms affect different people in different ways, there's a non-zero chance that this injury could linger as the season finishes up.

The reason I've shoehorned Yadier into this idea of players who could be affected by their injury in 2013, is that concussions are scary business, and post-concussion symptoms can stick with a player for years. Jason Bay, Justin Morneau, and Brian Roberts are all players who lost considerable time on the field, and dealt with concussion issues during off-seasons. Again, Molina still hasn't shown that he has severe symptoms, or anything of the like, but if he does, there's a chance that these could carry over to another season.

Replacing Molina in your fantasy lineup is kind of a foolish enterprise, because he's pretty amazing. He's posted a 145 wRC+ this season, easily the best of his career, while hitting for improved power, and even stealing double-digit bases. Among regular catchers, only Carlos Ruiz and Buster Posey are hitting better than Yadier, and Ruiz is languishing on the DL. Quite frankly, he's gone from being an ok-starter in fantasy to an elite option, only hurt by his lack of top-end numbers and some average context stats (R and RBI).

As a temporary Yadier fix, I'd look to Erik Kratz. Kratz, who usually sits at third or lower on the Phillies' depth chart at catcher, has been just crushing the ball since getting playing time at Citizens Bank Park. He's already managed 7 HR in just 95 PA, and with Carlos Ruiz still a little while from returning to Philly, he should get plenty of opportunities to beat up on September pitching callups during September. While Kratz is unlikely to stay this hot, and is even more unlikely to hit for a Molina-esque batting average, he'll still plug in pretty well in your fantasy lineup.

Quick Hits: Matt Kemp slammed into an outfield wall during Tuesday's game, injuring his jaw, knee, and chin. He's only likely to sit out a couple of games, but I think most Dodger fans got a good scare out of this collision. ... Fellow Dodger Chad Billingsley has found himself on the DL with right elbow pain, which is definitely not good news as the Dodgers attempt to lock themselves into a playoff spot. ... Mike Napoli is still not feeling 100% in his left quad, so his recovery may take a bit longer than expected. ... Two Mets starters, Dillon Gee and Johan Santana, are both expected to miss the rest of the season. Gee received good news on an angiogram in his right shoulder artery, and Santana has lower back inflammation, but the out-of-contention Mets won't rush either pitcher back. ... Ben Sheets is back to the DL, which may cut his comeback short for the season. Sheets is dealing with right shoulder inflammation, and his 15-day DL start date was August 25. Rays bopper Matt Joyce left the game on Tuesday with a forearm strain, and he's day-to-day for the time being. ... Lance Berkman looks to be ready to return soon from his knee injuries, as he played first base in his fourth Triple-A rehab game yesterday. ... Joey Votto is finally playing in rehab games, as he attempts to return to the Reds following a meniscus tear in his knee. ... Placido Polanco should be ready to play any day now, but Kevin Fransden might've stolen his starting spot at third base. That's gotta be kind of depressing for both Polanco and Phillies fans.


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Injury Watch: Don't Go To Toronto

Today's edition of Injury Watch focuses on the snakebitten Toronto Blue Jays and an Astros outfielder who will miss time with a shoulder injury. They may not be the best teams in the majors right now, but both the Jays and Astros have a few useful players for fantasy owners. Well...the Jays do. The Astros have Jose Altuve and, yeah, that's about it. Nevermind! Onward!

Basically All Of The Toronto Blue Jays

Everybody on the Blue Jays is injured.

...Okay, seriously, not everyone on the team is injured, but there's a ton of guys who are. I'm sure you've heard by now, but a truly massive number of Blue Jays pitchers have missed time this season due to injury, most specifically is that many have suffered from a torn UCL requiring Tommy John surgery. Well, bad news, Jays fans. Drew Hutchinson is the latest Jay to require the zipper, and he'll undergo surgery this week instead of continuing his recovery from injury. For the record, that's Kyle Drabek, Luis Perez, and now Hutchinson who've needed TJ surgery and had their season ended. Then there's Jesse Litsch, Dustin McGowan, and closer Sergio Santos who've all required season-ending shoulder surgery. The only good news is that default staff ace Brandon Morrow is on the mend from his various injuries, and will have a rehab start on Thursday. The lesson: don't pitch for the Blue Jays.

Going into the 2012 season, you probably wouldn't be wrong to think that the two best hitters on the Jays were Jose Bautista and 2011 rookie phenomenon Brett Lawrie. While Edwin Encarnacion has slugged his way into that discussion, the two men mentioned beforehand are critical pieces to the Toronto offensive attack. Well, Bautista has been slow to recover from a scary-looking wrist injury and was scheduled for another MRI yesterday. The Jays have been in no hurry to rush back their franchise player, so the timeframe for his return is now uncertain. And now Brett Lawrie may be facing DL time as well. Lawrie last played on August 3, and has been suffering from a ribcage injury. Though he may be back any day now, 

And finally, two complementary players on the Jays are also feeling some pain. Adam Lind, who's been making every effort to recover after two-and-a-half dismal seasons with a strong summer return to the Jays, is dealing with a consistent mid-back issue that will keep him on the DL for a while and below 100 percent for the rest of the season. And catcher J.P. Arencibia suffered a fractured right hand about two weeks ago, and looks to miss all of August at least.

That's a lot of injuries, you guys. And if you have a Blue Jay-heavy team, that's a bunch of guys to replace, especially in terms of offense. In reality, you're probably not depending on the parade of injured Blue Jays starters to help your team. If you are looking for pitching help, see if Morrow's still available on your waiver wire and snag him, he'll at the very least help your strikeout totals. But if you're looking for offense, perhaps some players who will be buoyed by a helpful home park like the Jays hitters are, I'd advise you to look much, much further south.

In Arlington, there are a couple new faces who can help supplement your lineup if you lost Lind, Lawrie, or Arencibia to injury. The first potential pickup I'd recommend is stellar prospect Mike Olt, who will be seeing some time at third base and first, especially against left-handed pitchers. Olt has a powerful prospect pedigree, but at this early stage in his career he's probably going to be a three-true outcomes guy (he'll walk, K, or kill the ball) who can drop a steal in here or there. He won't get everyday playing time unless an injury comes up, but he may be able to fill a box score or be a useful bench player in daily leagues where you can take advantage of matchups. In a few years, he may be a star, but for now, he's a lottery-ticket bench piece. [Note: For more info, check out Mike Axisa's great piece on Olt from last week.]

Geovany Soto isn't as bad of a hitter as he's been in 2012, is he? Well, if Soto can't hit in Texas, he probably can't hit at all. Soto's suffered from a very bad BABIP during this season, but he's shown the ability to muscle a few balls out of the yard as a member of the Cubs. Given Arlington's hitter-friendly dimensions, he might be able to do the same in his time with the Rangers...and if you're looking to replace J.P. Arencibia, that's probably all you're looking for from your catcher. Oh, and both Olt and Soto are probably on the waiver wire in your league, so you won't have to give anything up to snag them.

Jordan Schafer, Astros

Jordan Schafer is the center fielder for the Astros, which probably makes him (by default) the worst center fielder in the majors. Seriously, Jordan is bad at everything, at least compared to other major league players. Schafer sports a 72 wRC+, which translates to being 28% worse than league average with the bat. He's not a good fielder in center, having never posted an UZR in the postitive numbers. He's even a bad baserunner! He's got a career Ultimate Baserunning Score of -1.3, meaning he's cost his teams a run and change when it comes to non-SB running ability. And his stolen base percentage of 76.4% is just barely above the "break-even point" for basestealing.

In short, Jordan Schafer is a below-replacement player as evidenced by his -0.2 fWAR and -0.4 bWAR. While I don't wish injury on anyone, his separated shoulder will put him on the DL until late August or so, and this will free up time for a different player to fill in at center for the woeful Houston Astros. Whether the replacement will be Brandon Barnes, or someone else, doesn't matter terribly much. Things are bad on the field for the 'Stros.

Nevertheless, Schafer is valuable in fantasy leagues because he has (had?) the ability (and more importantly, the playing time) to steal bases. With 26 SB on the year, plenty of teams leveraged him to rack up needed steals. So now you, Jordan Schafer owner, may need a replacement. Who do you turn to?

I'd advise looking in the direction of Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders. Saunders is coming off a slow July, but has 15 stolen bases on the season to go with a respectable 10 homers and 49 runs scored. But where Schafer was only going to help you in terms of SB, Saunders has the potential to help you in multiple categories, including stolen bases. He suffers from having to play in the unforgiving Safeco Field, atop a Mariner lineup that strikes fear in the hearts of no one. But if you were running Jordan Schafer out there on your fantasy squad, then your expectations probably aren't outlandish. Best of all, Saunders is available in more than 90% of ESPN leagues. Grab him if you need an OF who can give you a few steals and may help out a little in other areas.

Quick Hits: Hooray! Evan Longoria is back! While he won't be playing the field for a while, he can probably give a nice boost to the Rays and to fantasy squads everywhere. ... Unfortunately, Todd Helton is now out for the year. The greatest Rockie of all time (sorry, Larry Walker, not enough years with the franchise) plans to return for next season, but a hip labrum tear and associated surgery will have him out for 2012. ... Francisco Liriano left Sunday's game after being hit on the leg by a batted ball, but is expected to start on August 11. ... Pablo Sandoval looks to be about ready to return to action sometime this week for San Francisco. ... Matt Garza has finally hit the DL with that pesky right elbow issue he's dealing with. His timetable, like what team he'll play for next season, is up in the air. ... Lance Berkman hit the 15-day DL with inflammation in his right knee. He's due off the list on August 18, but don't be surprised if this issue continues to linger beyond that timeframe. ... Seth Smith of the A's is dealing with hamstring issues, and has been placed on the 15-day DL himself. Like Berkman, he'll be eligible to come off (and batter right-handed pitchers) on August 18. 


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Injury Watch: Seriously, Stop Messing With The Roles Of Talented Young Pitchers

Happy Day-After-Trade-Deadline-Day, dear readers! There's quite a lot to read about with trade analyses and game recaps, but take a moment to give this week's Injury Watch a once-over. We'll go over a few starting pitchers who'll be out for the season with injury, and will provide you with some sterling replacements. Some of them are even coming off the DL themselves, but don't let that hold you back.

Neftali Feliz, Rangers

The official injury of 2012, a torn UCL in the pitching elbow, claims yet another victim in the young and talented Rangers hurler Neftali Feliz. Feliz has struggled with injuries during his first major-league season as a starter, but now he'll need Tommy John surgery that will keep him out until mid-2013. While I won't say that bouncing between the rotation and the bullpen actually caused the injury, it probably hasn't helped either his health or his development. At any rate, in 2012 Feliz has outperformed a very average FIP by sporting a 3.16 ERA and 37 strikeouts in seven starts and a relief appearance. That's not too bad, but hardly the dominant performance one might have expected given his elite pedigree. With him out, a few fantasy owners banking on his talent and recovery from injury will be looking for a replacement to finish the season.

So let's look at another starting pitching option from the Rangers as a potential replacement. But if you're thinking that I'm going to recommend Ryan Dempster, the newest Ranger, think again. Don't get me wrong, Dempster has had a terrific season, at least until his most recent starts, but he'll take a performance hit moving to unforgiving Rangers Ballpark and the even-more-unforgiving American League. (Plus, he's owned in all leagues.)

No, I'd give a long look to Alexi Ogando. Ogando was a fantastic reliever for the Rangers in 2010, and nearly as fantastic in a starting role in 2011. I'd prefer to see the Rangers not move Ogando back and forth from the bullpen to the rotation, but that's how things go in Texas. At any rate, Ogando has been solid again in 2012, this time back in the bullpen. He pairs good strikeout stuff with careful control, and just needs to limit his home runs allowed to stay effective as a starter. And because of Ogando's combination of control and stuff, he keeps WHIP low, along with his ERA. The thing about Alexi is that he does not *necessarily* have a rotation spot locked down yet. Roy Oswalt has been banished to the bullpen, Feliz is out, but Dempster is moving in. If you hear anything about Ogando moving to the rotation, pounce right away.

John Danks, White Sox

Okay, okay. So Danks wasn't jerked around from starter to bullpen like Feliz was, but the endgame is the same. For Danks, it's an injury to the left-hander's pitching shoulder, and is one that will require season-ending surgery that's scheduled for August 6.

Prior to the injury, Danks was, well, awful. 2012 was easily his worst season thus far in the majors, as Danks had posted a 5.00 FIP and only managing 0.3 fWAR. When it comes to fantasy stats, things are just as bad, with only 3 wins, a 5.70 ERA, and a career-low strikeout rate. Danks has only managed 53.2 innings on the season to this point, and hasn't looked "right" all season.

So how does one replace John Danks? Well, if he was still on your fantasy squad, shame on you! Maybe you're in an AL-only, or your league gives points for shoulder injuries, I dunno. But for a replacement, consider new teammate Francisco Liriano, if he's around in your league. Liriano started the season rough, but has come on in recent weeks, culminating in a strong debut last night with the Sox. Come hell or high water, Liriano WILL give your team strikeouts. They may come at the expense of a higher WHIP (Liriano still walks far too many batters), but he stands a better chance of winning games now that he's on an improved White Sox squad instead of toiling in the Twin Cities. Liriano is still available in a third of ESPN leagues.

If Liriano (or Ogando above) don't do anything for you, or if either are taken in your leagues, consider a pair of rehabbing A's. Both Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy have made recent rehab starts in Triple-A, and at peak performance, both are quite effective starters. McCarthy is currently available in more than half of ESPN leagues, while Anderson is owned in practically zero leagues. As you might expect, especially given the wisdom of crowds, I'd rather have McCarthy than Anderson for the end of 2012. McCarthy has been better, and done it more recently (he's actually pitched in 2012) along with having a slightly better FIP. But Anderson is a fine young pitcher, and closer than one might think to his Cy Young-candidate teammate. Don't be afraid to add either.

Quick Hits: Jose Bautista still hasn't hit live pitching, but hopes to avoid a rehab assignment. I'm cautiously optimistic that he'll be back in the lineup for the Jays by August 10. ... Another perennial MVP candidate, Troy Tulowitzki, is taking live BP, as of July 31, so hopefully he can get back in the game by the middle-to-end of August. ... Jaime Garcia is on his way back from his shoulder issues, and I'd look for him to rejoin the Cardinal rotation after two more rehab starts. Perhaps August 8-9? ... Placido Polanco hit the DL with lower back inflammation, and with the Phils fading, I can't imagine they'll rush him back. See you at the end of August, Placido! ... No new news yet about Mark Teixeira's inflammed wrist. The Yankee slugger left the game on 7/30, had a cortisone shot and MRI the next day, and is currently day-to-day. ... The Rays' franchise player, Evan Longoria, is limited to DH duty in his rehab assignment, and would have the same role if called back up to the bigs, but could see time in The Trop before the next edition of Injury Watch. ... While unsurprising, the Tigers are understandably disappointed that C/1B/DH Victor Martinez will probably not return for the 2012 season. ... Matt Capps is still dealing with rotator cuff irritation, and is still shut down from throwing for another few days at the least. I don't like to be a Negative Ned here, but Capps isn't really good enough to be the Minnesota closer anyways, so getting extra Jared Burton time is a blessing in disguise for the Twins. ... Yeah, about Brett Gardner, he's not coming back this year, after having season-ending elbow surgery. Bad news for Yankees fans and fans of watching him play an awesome left field and steal bases. 


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Injury Watch: The Starting Pitcher Shuffle

This week's Injury Watch is all about those pitchers good enough to return from the disabled list. See guys, not everyone has to blow out their UCL and require Tommy John surgery. (I'm looking at you, Colby Lewis!) Some pitchers even come off the disabled list, and return to lead their squads (and your fantasy team) to glory. Or perhaps not. Today we'll discuss the pros and cons of two starters on contending teams.

[Note: Thanks to a last-minute edit, we'll also talk about a certain New York third baseman who looks to miss the rest of the regular season!]

Chad Billingsley, Dodgers and Gavin Floyd, White Sox

Two starting pitchers for contending squads recently came off the DL, and both look ready to go for the rest of the season. On Monday, the Dodgers activated Chad Billingsley from the DL, where he served a minimum stint for elbow soreness in his pitching elbow. That same day, the White Sox activated Gavin Floyd, who suffered from a similar issue (right elbow tendinitis) and served the same minimum stint on the DL. Both pitchers seemed to be getting a simple post-All-Star-Break rest, and neither guy's arm issue seems to be serious. So which pitcher is the better fantasy pickup for owners in standard leagues?

Honestly, I'm a big Chad Billingsley believer. Both in real life and in fantasy, I feel like he's a guy who gets a raw deal, especially since he gets compared to Clayton Kershaw and never fully fulfilled his promise as an ace starter. His stats tell the story of a power pitcher who has some command troubles, and he has peripherals like SIERA (3.68) and xFIP (3.67) that don't quite match up to his ERA (4.15). Make no mistake, Billingsley has a history of underperforming his peripheral numbers, so he could be one of those rare pitchers where advanced stats oversell his abilities. But Billingsley is also pretty darn consistent. Though 2011 was a down year, Chad's strikeout numbers have climbed in 2012, and he's walking fewer batters per nine innings than at any point in his major league career.

The place where Chad can hurt you in fantasy is in WHIP and, occasionally, in ERA. But Chad's owned in only 35% of ESPN leagues, which means he probably can be had. If you're looking for a pitcher who's going to pitch in a favorable ballpark, and probably draw some weak-hitting teams (I'm looking at you, Padres and Giants) that can get you some strikeouts, then Chad's your man. And with the Dodgers going all-in on the season by acquiring Hanley Ramirez, he might get a few more wins than usual too!

Gavin Floyd is a different story. I know Don Cooper (the pitching coach for the White Sox) is a miracle worker, but Gavin Floyd is simply not reliable enough to anchor a fantasy staff...and he's barely worth rostering in most leagues. I know what you're thinking, actually: but he looks so similar to Billingsley in terms of ERA and WHIP! And even if you get into advanced stats, you see that Floyd, like Billingsley, tends to underperform his FIP. So what's the difference?

Well, aside from pitching in a more difficult league and unforgiving home park, Floyd just isn't the strikeout pitcher that Billingsley is. And not only that, Floyd's home run-allowing tendencies are getting worse and worse over the last few years, and the rest of his peripheral numbers are no better than Chad's. Do yourself a favor and don't bet on a pitcher who's given up 1.4 HR/9 during the season. You're only asking for heartbreak (and gaudy ERA numbers). Even though Floyd is owned in slightly more leagues than Billingsley, he should be a second (or third) choice for your team.

Alex Rodriguez, Yankees

Late last night, Alex Rodriguez's hand exploded. No one likes being hit by a Felix Hernandez pitch, and A-Rod wasn't the only guy to get plunked last night, but this one hurt a bit more than usual. Rodriguez has a fracture in his left hand, and looks to miss about six to eight weeks, taking him right up to the end of the regular season. While Alex hasn't been his old MVP-candidate self for about three years now, he's still a productive bat (121 wRC+ in 2012) at a weak position, and an integral part of the Yankees' offensive attack. Replacing him isn't easy, or even really possible.

While the Yankees may be able to cruise on autopilot, or fill in with Jayson Nix and Eric Chavez, you, as a fantasy owner, can't. You need a real third baseman. And with that said, there's really only one question you need to ask yourself: "Is Todd Frazier still available in my league?" If the answer to this question is "yes", then your problem is pretty much solved.

All Todd Frazier has done this season is hit, and with Joey Votto out in Cincinnati, he's had the opportunity to rack up regular playing time. In just 241 plate appearances, Todd has managed 10 HR and a solid .283 batting average. And though Frazier has gone about a dozen games without a dinger, there's no reason to believe that he's slumping - he's still making solid contact over the last two weeks and getting hits.

Though Frazier doesn't have the cozy lineup spot Rodriguez does (he usually hits around the sixth or seventh place in the order) he can provide the raw power and average numbers A-Rod can, and off the waiver wire. Though he may not rack up R and RBI in the same way, and may be pushed for playing time once Joey Votto returns, Todd Frazier is a cheap, worthwhile waiver pickup available in 95% of ESPN leagues.

Quick Hits: Colby Lewis, as mentioned earlier, joins about thirty other major league pitchers in needing Tommy John surgery this season. This is a bummer for both the Rangers and for fantasy owners, as he probably shouldn't be rostered until 2014. ... Sam Fuld may not see a bunch of playing time, but now that he's been activated from the DL, at least he'll see some. Fantasy owners extremely desperate for steals (or playing in a Web Gems league) might want to take a flyer on him. ... Erick Aybar was well on his way to playing himself out of a job in Los Angeles (of Anaheim) before he broke his big toe fouling a ball off his foot. Hot prospect Jean Segura didn't come up from the minors to sit, so look for Aybar to hit some DL time for now. ... Johan Santana hit the DL with a sprained ankle, but is also suffering from shoulder soreness. He'll probably be treated with kid gloves until the season is over. ... Jed Lowrie is stuck on crutches with a nerve injury in his right leg. Don't expect him back until the end of August, which is a bummer considering how well he'd been playing. ... Juan Carlos Oviedo, formerly known as Leo Nunez, was finally on his way back to the majors before spraining his UCL. He'll probably join the Tommy John surgery club, and we may next see him in 2013 or 2014. ... It'd be comical if it weren't sad, but Franklin Gutierrez was shut down with a concussion, and there's no current timetable for his return. ... Giancarlo Stanton is already taking batting practice, so he could return to the Marlins lineup in early August. The only question is whether there will be any other major leaguers left on the team when he comes back.


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Injury Watch: The Great Canadian Power Outage

This week's Injury Watch is destined to focus on MVP-caliber players who will be missing time due to serious injury. Both players have strong ties to the Great White North, and both players will have their teams scrambling to find replacements. On the fantasy side, these are the type of players that you simply can't replace, but I'll do my best to find you someone who can fit the bill until they return.

Jose Bautista, Blue Jays

I'm not a Jays fan, but this is a particularly disappointing injury. Due to Bautista's circuitous route to superstardom, I'm especially disappointed by the prospect of the ML's pre-eminent home run hitter missing time in the prime of his resurrected career. Joey Bats injured his left wrist while swinging during Monday's game against the Yankees. Bautista has been diagnosed with what's called "inflammation" by his team, and has already been placed on the 15-day DL. X-rays and and MRI confirmed that there's no fracture in the wrist, but Jose felt a "popping" sensation while swinging, and the exact nature of the injury is still unknown at this time.

Losing Bautista can cripple a fantasy team that depends on the powerful hitter, much the same way that it will be a serious blow to Toronto. Worst of all, some wrist injuries zap a player's power even after they return to the lineup, which means that Bautista could be feeling the effects of this unfortunate accident all the way through to the end of 2012.

As always, we can look to the built-in injury replacement, which is Blue Jays callup Anthony Gose. Gose is a high-profile, high-ranking prospect, but he's not exactly the power hitter Joey Bats is. Truthfully, I harbor little to no hope that Gose will be a good fantasy fit for 2012. Unless you are truly desperate for steals, give Gose a miss and look for an option that might give you more production across multiple categories. But keep an eye on Gose for 2013 and beyond, he's got tools like a Home Depot.

Instead, go with someone that the 2010 version of myself would have avoided like the plague: Brennan Boesch. Boesch can be had in 78% of ESPN leagues, and is in the process of regressing his season line to something more like what should be expected of a player like him, rather than the unmitigated disaster that was the first half of his season. Boesch has some pop, and living in Detroit's lineup means that there's a reasonable chance for him to stack up context-based stats like runs and RBIs when the offense is rolling. He won't replace Bautista's production -- if you want that you'd better go trade for Ryan Braun or something -- but he could be a nice fit until Joey Bats returns from his injury. (Note: if you play in an OBP league, forget everything I just wrote, skip Boesch, and go with someone like Daniel Nava instead.)

Joey Votto, Reds

I'd argue that no player is more integral to the success or failure of his team at this very moment than Joey Votto (though Andrew McCutchen probably has a case as well). The Reds are a solid squad, but Votto has been the second-best pure hitter in baseball in 2012 (again, McCutchen!) with a remarkable 183 wRC+ and a triple slash line of .342/.465(!)/.604. To put that in perspective two things: (1) that wRC+ number means that Votto is 83% better than league average at hitting, which is INSANE and (2) that triple slash looks a lot like Barry Bonds's career slash line. Joey be hittin'. Joey Votto makes Mike Trout look like Robert Fish. Joey makes House Party look like House Party 2.

So yeah, the fact that Votto has a torn meniscus in his right knee, and should miss about a month of time as a result of Tuesday's surgery, means that the Reds are losing one of the most fearsome hitters in all of baseball, and their lineup will suffer for it. A meniscus tear isn't the big deal that an ACL tear is, but it could cause him to lose a little power once he's able to come back, if the slugger isn't healed up 100%. Travis Hafner recently had arthroscopic surgery on his knee and missed a little over a month, but Lance Berkman looks to miss 8-10 weeks with his knee injury. Personally, I'd look at a little over a month for Votto as a reasonable time to miss, given how little we know about the injury or if Votto will need a long rehab assignment.

If you own Votto in a fantasy league, at least there is one silver lining for you: first base is a pretty stacked position. My favorite add right now is Adam Lind, who is owned in about a quarter of ESPN leagues. Lind is in the midst of a sizzling hot streak, posting a wOBA of .438 in July to go with a .341 batting average to go with three HR and 11 RBI. Get in while the getting is good on Lind, because his performance is likely to regress back to his career numbers. I've thought that Adam Lind couldn't be as bad as he has been in 2011 and at the beginning of this season, and he's probably not, but keep your expectations low, and don't be afraid to swap him out for another 1B once his roller coaster of a season goes for another dip.

Quick Hits: BONUS CANADIAN! Jason Bay is finally off the 7-day concussion DL, and should see regular playing time in left field for the Mets. The bad news? A healthy Jason Bay isn't very good anymore. Avoid him. ... David Ortiz looks to miss at least a week of time with a strain in his right heel. He'll wear a walking boot, and should be another blow to an injury-prone Red Sox squad. ... The White Sox will lose Gavin Floyd to the DL with right elbow tendinitis. While there's not any indication that Floyd has any sort of structural damage, elbow issues cause many fans and fantasy owners to catch their breath. ... Matt Capps hit the DL with a shoulder issue, which is probably a good thing for Twins fans and fantasy mavens looking for confirmation about his role change. Glen Perkins and Jared Burton might still share closing duties, but I expect Perkins to get more looks.  ... Scary news about Mets starter Dillon Gee: the doctors treating his right arm injury couldn't even find a pulse in the arm the day after his final pre-ASG start. ... Sergio Santos is out for the year, making me feel extra-stupid about drafting him in every fantasy league I was in this season.


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Injury Watch: One Power-Hitting Outfielder and Two Light-Hitting Shortstops

In this week's edition of Injury Watch, we're covering a host of tough National League injuries. Giancarlo Stanton and Dee Gordon probably couldn't be more different in terms of hitting style and ability, but both will leave big holes in their teams, as well as in fantasy squads. And Braves breakout star Andrelton Simmons will need replacing as well. Get all the details and more quick hits in this week's edition of Injury Watch!

Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins

So how does one replace the massive power of Giancarlo in a fantasy context? The short answer is that you can't, simply because so few players have Stanton's massive power potential. If Tyler Colvin is still available in your league, he may be the right guy to bring in, but less than 30% of ESPN leagues still have Colvin (13 HR in 2012) available on the waiver wire. And though Brian LaHair hasn't been hitting so well recently, he might still be available for your squad, and can bring the bat.

But you know who's available in almost every league, and has been hitting for real, ultimate power? Scott Hairston of the New York Mets. The Chin has twelve homers on the season, which is remarkable for a part-time player who's only logged 196 plate appearances. But Hairston really is a platoon player and pinch-hitter, so if you add him to your squad, you may only want to use him against lefties. But Hairston is a professional hitter, and can help to make up for some of the loss of Stanton. Just don't make the mistake of cutting Giancarlo from your squad. If he comes back this season, you could benefit from him returning to the lineup.

Andrelton Simmons, Braves

The Braves haven't been too lucky on the injury front this season, what with losing Brandon Beachy to Tommy John surgery already this year. Now they'll be without the NL Rookie of the Month for June, Andrelton Simmons, due to a broken bone in his pinky finger. Simmons will have to wear a cast for four weeks, and will be re-evaluated after it comes off, so don't expect him back with the team until at least mid-August. In his absence, Tyler Pastornicky will get his old job back, but he's not really much of a fantasy option at this point in his career. I'd expect Simmons will have the shortstop job handed back to him with a quickness when he's ready to return.

But I know what you're really here for. You're not here to wonder on who could replace Simmons in your fantasy lineup, since you're probably not running Simmons out there on a regular basis. No, you're here for a picture of Andrelton Simmons possibly pooping his pants while fielding a groundball. Fortunately SB Nation obliged. (Sidenote: he's probably not doing that, but it's a weird picture.)

If you DO need to replace Andrelton Simmons, I recommend another NL shortstop in Ruben Tejada, who is now fully recovered from an injury of his own. Tejada has hit very well in his limited action in 2012. No, his .325 batting average isn't quite sustainable (benefiting from a BABIP of .393), but he is a very good bet to help your team in two categories: average and runs scored. With no HR power to speak of and a spot atop the Mets lineup, he's unlikely to offer up help in those categories or stolen bases, but he's still a valuable player, especially in OBP and deep leagues.

Dee Gordon, Dodgers

You know who else has a hand injury that should keep them out until August or September, plays shortstop, and is playing through his first full ML season? That's right, Dee Gordon, leadoff hitter and shortstop for the Dodgers, will miss several weeks due to a torn ligament in his right thumb. Though the surgery was successful, and Gordon can begin taking part in baseball activities shortly, the young Dodger will probably miss a substantive amount of time leading into the final months of the season.

Dee was a popular fantasy sleeper this season, due to the young shortstop's blazing speed potential. And while Gordon's 2012 hasn't been very good from a holistic perspective (-0.8 fWAR, 63 wRC+), he's been delivering the steals. With thirty on the season, Gordon has been one of the most productive sources for SB in fantasy. So if you're looking to replace Dee, you're probably looking for something different than Ruben Tejada above.

Another SS waiver option could be Everth Cabrera of the San Diego Padres, if Tejada doesn't float your boat. Cabrera is a slightly better bet to hit for power (two HR in 2012 to Tejada's zero), but his real value is in stolen bases. Everth already has 15 SB in just 176 plate appearances, and while his wRC+ sits above average for the league, he's unlikely to be a really productive hitter for any fantasy squad. But if you need steals, Cabrera is a very cheap source of them.

Quick Hits: Welcome back to the major leagues, Ben Sheets! Sheets, who hasn't pitched in the majors since July 2010, starts on Sunday for the Braves against the Mets. I wouldn't buy Sheets now, but I'd consider his upside and see how he does. He could be a cheap, effective pickup for a fantasy squad if he's anything like the old Ben. ... Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals is finally throwing again after an elbow injury knocked him out of commission in early June. As of now, he may return to the Cards in August. ... Dan Haren has hit the DL with lower back stiffness. Despite his down 2012, keep him and keep him playing when he comes back in late July. He's still an awfully good pitcher. ... Reliever Luis Perez of the Blue Jays can join the 2012 Tommy John club. He blew out his UCL and will miss the rest of the season. ... Both Jesus Montero and Franklin Gutierrez of the Mariners are suffering from concussions. At this time, Montero's seems a little less serious than Guti's, but these are injuries that require extra care and consideration.


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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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