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Diamond Cuts: Down Goes Yo

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

Jake Peavy - The White Sox pitcher left his Tuesday night start in the second inning after feeling pain in the top of his armpit. The team is calling the injury a strained latissmus dorsi and manager Ozzie Guillen believes a trip the disabled list is likely. The lat is a broad muscle located on the back that inserts into the humerus at location near the armpit, which would explain Peavy’s discomfort. It is responsible for extending, adducting, and internally rotating the arm and also aids in bending the spine. Peavy will undergo a MRI to determine the extent of the strain but expected him to be out for a significant stretch. Keep in mind a similar injury sidelined Indians’ closer Kerry Wood for the first month of the season.

Clay Buchholz - In what is becoming a weekly tradition, another Red Sox player has joined his teammates on the disabled list as Buchholz was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained left hamstring. The move will make him ineligible for his first All-Star game appearance. Buchholz was initially injured when he hyperextended his knee while running the bases in an interleague matchup against the Giants. The hamstring was overstretched resulting in a minor strain. While he was able to pitch in a bullpen session, the Red Sox are concerned with his ability to perform in other facets of the game. The team is afraid he will aggravate the injury while attempting to field a ball or while running to cover first. Boston’s concerns are warranted as sudden, explosive movements could easily worsen the injury and begin to affect Buchholz pitching mechanics. The young ace will be eligible to return for Boston’s first series following the break, a matchup against the Rangers and their potent offense. It may be worth benching him in his first game back to insure he is 100 percent. Felix Doubront was called up to fill Buchholz’s spot in the rotation and pitched 5.2 innings giving up two earned runs against Tampa Bay.

Yovani Gallardo - On the same day he learned he would be an All-Star for the first time, Gallardo was forced from a start against the Cardinals with a strained left oblique. The oblique muscles are trunk muscles that are divided into two groups, the internal and external obliques. The internal obliques lie beneath the externals and attach to the inferior ribs of the ribcage. In addition to aiding in breathing, the muscles work synergistically with the obliques on the opposite side to flex and rotate the trunk of the body. To better understand this process let’s examine Gallardo.

The Brewers’ ace is a right-handed pitcher. When he delivers a pitch his body rotates to the right, bringing his right shoulder toward his left hip. To complete this motion, the right external oblique muscles must contract in conjunction with his left internal oblique muscles. Because of the violent torque placed on the body while pitching, pitchers like Gallardo generally injure the obliques on the side opposite of their throwing arm. In some extreme cases the twist is so violent that the muscle can detach from the 11th rib or even break away a small piece of the rib. While it appears Gallardo strain is minor, Milwaukee is being extra cautious with the prize piece of their rotation and plan on limiting his activity until after the All-Star break. The team has placed him on the disabled list and hope he will only miss one or two scheduled starts. Oblique injuries tend to linger, particularly with pitchers, but the Brewers hope he will be ready to go after two weeks of rest.

Hitters

Jose Reyes - The Mets’ speedy shortstop is also suffering from a right oblique strain suffered during batting practice prior to a recent game against the Marlins. These injuries provide a different set of headaches for position players like Reyes when compared to the struggles facing Gallardo. While Reyes may undergo trunk rotation while fielding and throwing, it is not at the same level of intensity as a pitcher. The true problem arises when Reyes enters the batter’s box. The rotation required to swing a bat requires the oblique muscles to contract and a strain to the area can significantly hamper a player’s abilities at the plate. Fortunately, Reyes is a switch hitter and can modify his swing to alleviate the pain. He will continue to play but will bat strictly right-handed, placing more stress on the left oblique muscles and limiting the worked required from the injured right side. This may work to the favor of fantasy owners as Reyes is hitting .310 as a right-handed batter and .265 as a lefty. However, expect him to receive a day off if the Mets face a left-handed hurler. With the All-Star game on the horizon, the New York medical staff will likely take the necessary steps to ensure Reyes is rested and ready to go following the break.

Shin-Soo Choo - Choo has joined the ever-growing lists of players dealing with thumb injuries. Choo sprained the ulnar collateral ligament on his right thumb and was placed on the disabled list on Sunday. He initially injured the thumb while diving for a ball while patrolling the outfield. Fortunately for fantasy owners the outlook may not be quite as bleak as early reports suggested. Choo underwent an MRI that revealed the ligament is not completely torn, so he'll avoid surgery (at least for now). They will immobilize the thumb in a cast and reevaluate the injury after a week to decide just how long the team leader in home runs, batting average, runs, stolen bases, and RBI will be shelved. If Choo continues to progress he could return earlier than the initial estimate of six-to-eight weeks. However should he require surgery, he will likely be out until late August or early September. Even if you don’t have anywhere to stash him, Choo is too valuable to cut at this point.