The 2011 season has already seen several serious injuries to superstar players, and yet another one was revealed Monday when the Mets announced that star third baseman David Wright was suffering from a stress fracture in his lower back.
Clinical Notes - David Wright, Grady Sizemore, & More
Monday May 16th, 2011
Wright had been suffering from back problems since an April 19th collision with Houston outfielder Carlos Lee, but there was little official information out of Wright or the New York Mets regarding the severity of the injury. Wright reportedly delayed some official testing and attempted to play through the injury, and the official diagnosis came as a surprise to everyone involved, according to MLB.com.
Though Wright's production had dropped off recently (likely as a result of the injury), this is still a huge blow not only to the New York Mets (who have also lost starting first baseman Ike Davis to injury this season) but also to fantasy owners. Wright has long been a top-tier fantasy third baseman and his loss will be difficult to fill. The Mets will likely do some shifting around their infield, with the possiblity of Willie Harris, Justin Turner, minor leaguer Nick Evans, and even current first baseman David Murphy all candidates to get time at the hot corner. There is no official word on whether Wright will hit the disabled list, but speculation is that he'll certainly miss some time while they're evaluating his options.
Another star player hit the DL recently, as Cleveland Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore returned to the disabled list with a right knee contusion. Sizemore suffered a bruised right kneecap last week on a slide into second base, and he missed time earlier this season while recovering from microfracture surgery on his left knee. The Indians held off on placing their centerfielder on the disabled list, sitting him and taking a day-to-day approach, but eventually determined that they would retroactively make the move. Hopefully, this move is precautionary and a means of simply avoiding some larger injuries as the season goes on. Leftfielder Michael Brantley will move into Sizemore's spot in center, and the Indians will likely work with a platoon of Shelley Duncan and recently recalled veteran outfielder Travis Buck in left field. Overall, Sizemore was hitting very well and his injury is a huge loss, both to fantasy owners and to his surprisingly good Cleveland team.
There was bad news for another centerfielder this week, as St. Louis outfielder Colby Rasmus has been sitting out due to discomfort in his abdomen. Rasmus' discomfort began during a weightlifting session and was aggravated while playing over the weekend, and he is set to undergo tests to determine the exact problem. The Cardinals aren't taking any chances with their young up-and-coming slugger, and more details will be known soon, but for now it looks like Rasmus will be taking it easy on the bench. It appears that, while Rasmus is out, the Cards will rely on Jon Jay in center field.
A pair of young hurlers have also dealt with injuries recently, as Cincinnati reliever Aroldis Chapman and Atlanta starting pitcher Brandon Beachy both hit the DL this week. Chapman is well-known for his 104 mile-per-hour heaters but struggled with command in his last several outings and didn't look much like the dominant bullpen force he was late last season. His diagnosis is reported as "shoulder soreness," and isn't deemed as too serious, but there is speculation that his inability to throw strikes may be psychological, so there is no guarantee that a DL stint will help his situation. Only time will tell.
Beachy, on the other hand, was off to a very solid start in 2011, with a 1-1 record, a 3.45 ERA, and a 1.08 WHIP in 8 starts for the Braves before succumbing to a left oblique strain. His spot in the rotation will likely be held, at least temporarily, by 20 year-old top prospect Julio Teheran or 23 year-old lefty Mike Minor . Beachy is expected to miss over a month of action, so his loss is a significant one and could open a door for whoever fills his rotation spot.
In other injury news...
-Second baseman Chase Utley started another minor league game for single-A Clearwater on Monday and is well on his way to returning from right knee tendonitis for the Phillies.
-Oakland closer Andrew Bailey , shelved thus far in 2011, is very close to a return for the Athletics and is making good progress in extending spring training. He will have a few more sessions before a timetable for his return is locked down, but he could certainly be closing out games for the club before the end of the month.
-Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones has been suffering from a slight tear in his right knee. While the injury isn't thought to be too serious, it may require arthroscopic surgery and force him to miss a couple of weeks to recover. If he doesn't need surgery, Jones could return to action later this week and attempt to play through the discomfort.
-Catcher Joe Mauer is attempting to return from "bilateral leg weakness" and will begin extended spring training in Florida this week. If all goes well, the star of the Minnesota Twins could begin a rehab assignment, but club officials have been tight-lipped on an exact timetable for his return.
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