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Diamond Cuts: Latest Injury Analysis

Jeff Stotts

Jeff Stotts

Jeff Stotts works as a Certified Athletic Trainer (MAT, ATC, PES, CES). He won the 2011 Best Fantasy Football Article in Print from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

Pitchers

Derek Holland - The Rangers will out be without the services of one of their promising young talents as Holland was recently placed on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his left rotator cuff. The injury forced Holland from Sunday’s start against the Twins early in the second inning as he struggled to generate any kind of velocity on his pitches from the associated discomfort. Fortunately, subsequent examinations did not show any structural damage and the trip will likely be a brief one.

The rotator cuff is comprised of four muscles, the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. These muscles surround the head of the upper arm bone, the humerus, and help stabilize the shoulder. The rotator cuff is surprisingly enough responsible for rotation at this axis and is utilized throughout the various phases of pitching. Inflammation can result from repetitive compression of various soft tissue structures in a condition know as shoulder impingement. Expect the Rangers' medical staff to treat the symptoms and determine the root of the problem to prevent repeated occurrences. It appears the Rangers will fill Holland’s hole in the rotation with right-hander Tommy Hunter.

Infielders

Jason Bartlett - Tampa Bay is inching toward placing Bartlett on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring. The injury began bothering him in a recent game against the White Sox and forced the shortstop from action after four innings. Bartlett has since been a spectator for the Rays’ last three games and it appears he will not be available through the weekend. Hamstring strains are tricky, especially for a faster player that must accelerate quickly. Bartlett is struggling after a breakout season in which he hit .320 while swiping 30 bases. So far this season he is hitting just .231 and has managed just three steals. Perhaps a brief spell on the DL will allow Bartlett to get healthy and clear his mind. Reid Brignac has replaced Bartlett at shortstop and in the lineup and is performing admirably with a .301 average and 21 RBI.

Mark Reynolds - The slugging third baseman continues to battle a nagging quadriceps injury that forced him from the lineup on Tuesday. Reynolds originally hurt the quad in mid-April but recently aggravated the ailment while attempting a swing. The quadriceps is primarily responsible for hip flexion and is commonly strained following a sudden or violent motion. The associated pain and symptoms are dependent on the location of the tear, with minor pain coming with tears occurring on the peripheral and more severe symptoms accompanying tears to the center portion of the muscle. Reynolds strain is likely minor since he is able to engage in fielding without pain but unable to run or swing without producing the symptoms. The Diamondbacks will be patient with their slugger and will likely give him several more games to rest his bad wheel and hopefully avoid a stint on the disabled list. Rusty Ryal started in Reynolds' absence and finished the game 2-for-4 on Tuesday.

Kendry Morales - Morales joined an infamous list of players that includes Bill Gramatica, Rob Johnson, and Gus Frerotte as athletes injured while celebrating in their respective sport. Morales fractured his lower left leg while celebrating a walk-off grand slam with his Angels teammates. The fracture will likely end the season of the emerging star and could require surgery to repair. The team is weighing their various options as they wait for the swelling to subside and doctors are able to determine the specifics surrounding the break. More than likely the fracture occurred to the lower fibula, the smaller of the two lower leg bones but the team has yet to release many details. Regardless of which bone is broken, if surgery is required a fixation will be carried out using surgical screws and/or metal plates. The rehab for an injury of this magnitude can be a lengthy one. For example Tigers prospect Scott Sizemore underwent a similar procedure in October and is just now rounding into form. If he eventually goes under the knife, expect Morales to recover and be ready to go for next season. If the fracture is not displaced and he is able to avoid surgery, the timeline improves but it is still realistic to believe his 2010 season is done.

Outfielders

Grady Sizemore - Morales isn’t the only one who may have seen his season end prematurely as the Indians wait to hear the fate of Sizemore. The outfielder will definitely miss six-to-eight weeks following a left knee arthroscopy. An arthroscopy or “scope” is a surgical procedure utilized to better examine a joint and helps medical professionals determine the extent of damage associated with an injury. Sizemore initially injured the knee near the conclusion of spring training and recently aggravated the injury while diving back to first base.

The initial indications are not good as the team fears he may require the dreaded microfracture surgery to repair damaged cartilage in the knee. In the procedure, a surgeon makes tiny, microfractures in the bone with a surgical tool known as an awl. The body natural defenses kick in and create marrow-filled blood clots to repair the damaged cartilage. After time, the damage is repaired and replaced with new cartilage, suitable for participating in vigorous activities like sports.

If microfracture surgery is required, Sizemore will miss the remainder of the season and could miss the start of the 2011 season. The injury is another bump in the road as Sizemore had failed to comeback from an injury-riddled 2009 season in which he suffered injuries to his left elbow and abdominals. The former All-Star was batting just .211 with no homer before injuring the knee. Fantasy owners still clinging to hope would be wise to face reality and look elsewhere for the remainder of the season.

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