Clayton Kershaw SP, Dodgers: lower back tightness
We begin our Fantasy Baseball Injury Insights with the biggest story. Kershaw left his start Sunday after just two innings due to tightness in his lower back. The Dodgers quickly made the decision to place him on the DL, an indication that this could be something more serious than just tightness. Kershaw has now landed on the DL three times in his career, each time due to his back, and he missed two and a half months in 2016 with a herniated disc. He will undergo more tests in the next few days that should provide a clearer diagnosis. He could be battling anything from back spasms that would sideline him for a few weeks to a bulging disc that could end his season. Here’s more on Kershaw’s injury.
Stephen Strasburg SP, Nationals: forearm tightness
Strasburg had trouble getting his arm loose before his start Sunday and lasted just two innings. For now the Nationals are reporting his injury as forearm tightness. He will visit team doctors on Tuesday for further evaluation, but for now the team doesn’t seem too concerned. The Inside Injuries algorithm is currently calculating a grade 1 strain, which comes with a three week Optimal Recovery Time. This will be updated as more information is released. Even if
his arm does feel better in the next few days, his next start could be pushed back to allow him a few extra days to recover. He has jumped to a High Injury Risk even though his injury is listed as a grade 1. For more on Strasburg’s arm problems and injury history, check out this article.
Starlin Castro 2B, Yankees: hamstring strain
Before landing on the DL with a new hamstring strain, Castro was already at an Elevated Injury Risk. He has now moved to High Risk and faces at least two weeks on the shelf as he recovers. Hamstring strains are ones that often recur, and that’s just what happened to Castro. Last month he missed time with the same injury and never looked quite right after he returned. This time around he may need 3-4 weeks to fully recover.
Carlos Correa SS, Astros: torn thumb ligament
Correa injured his left thumb earlier in July, and after re-injuring it this week he will need to undergo surgery to repair ligament damage. Correa was at an Elevated Injury Risk, and unfortunately he did just what we were concerned about and caused more damage. His recovery time following surgery is 6-8 weeks. Because the injury is to his non-throwing hand, Correa could be able to return on the shorter end of the projected recovery time. With a comfortable lead atop the AL West, the Astros will aim to bring him along slowly so he can be ready to go for the playoffs. They should be able to get by without him over the next two months.
Kris Bryant 3B, Cubs: pinkie sprain
Bryant jammed his left pinkie on a headfirst slide into third base. X-rays were negative and he was back in the lineup on Saturday. He remains an Elevated Injury Risk, but his numbers should quickly improve as this is a grade 1 sprain to his non-throwing hand. The Optimal Recovery Time is one week, so his Batter Power should return to normal within a few days.
J.D. Martinez OF, Diamondbacks: hand contusion
Martinez was hit by a pitch on his left hand in his first game since getting traded to the Diamondbacks. X-rays were negative and he has been diagnosed with a hand contusion. He wasn’t in the starting lineup on Sunday but did make an appearance as a pinch-hitter. While getting hit by a pitch isn’t an injury we can’t predict, Martinez was already at a High Injury Risk before he was traded. He started the season on the DL due to a Lisfranc sprain and then experienced lower back tightness earlier this month. His fantasy owners need to make sure they always have a solid backup in place in case Martinez goes down again with another injury.
Ryan Braun OF, Brewers: calf and wrist injuries
Braun’s never-ending calf injury acted up again last week, and we also learned that he has been playing through a lingering wrist injury that required a cortisone shot around the All Star break. Braun’s injury numbers aren’t going to improve as long as he keeps trying to play through these nagging problems. He should have some good games, but don’t be surprised if he also has some slumps along the way. He’s a risky player to have on fantasy rosters right now.
Aaron Sanchez SP, Blue Jays: blisters
Sanchez is having a frustrating season due to recurring blister problems on his pitching hand. He landed on the DL for the fourth time this season, and we have to wonder if he is going to be able to return this year. He is set to visit a specialist later this week. Unfortunately blister problems tend to be a recurring issue. Like Rich Hill, Sanchez may not find a solution this year.
Josh Donaldson OF, Rangers: jammed left wrist/thumb
Calf problems affected Donaldson for the first half of the season, and now he is dealing with a left wrist/thumb injury. Donaldson jammed it on a head-first slide in the middle of the week but did not need a stint on the DL. He has struggled at the plate all season, and playing through a hand injury is only going to make it tougher to perform well. He did not miss any games, but it would be wise for the Blue Jays to sit him for a few days, both for his physical and mental health.
Greg Bird 1B, Yankees: ankle surgery
After extensive rehabilitation and multiple pain-killing injections didn’t do the trick for Greg Bird, he had no choice but to undergo surgery last week. Doctors removed excess bone growth from his right ankle. His projected recovery time is 6-8 weeks, but it is also very possible that his season could be over. So far his recovery has not gone well, and the Yankees will want to bring him back slowly to ensure that he does not have any setbacks that could impact his future.
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