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Diamond Cuts: Back to the DL

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

Andy Pettitte and A.J. Burnett

A left groin injury has derailed what has arguably been Pettitte’s best season in his illustrious career. The area commonly referred to as the groin is actually a group of muscles known as the adductors. The group includes the adductor magnus, brevis, longus, and gracilis that all work together to bring the leg inward toward the midline of the body in a motion known as adduction. When a groin strain occurs, the athlete generally reports a sharp pain in the area and sees a decrease in lateral movement and ability. For Pettitte, the strain has limited his ability to bring his left leg across his body while completing the follow-through phase of throwing.

The strain occurred when Pettitte landed awkwardly while delivering a pitch in New York’s recent series against Tampa Bay. While a MRI confirmed the All-Star left-hander suffered a minor Grade I sprain, the Yankees will be overly cautious with the veteran. They have placed Pettitte on the disabled list and expect him to miss at least four weeks. In comparison, Jason Hammel and Chad Billingsley both missed two weeks with similar groin injuries. Sergio Mitre will join the Yankees' rotation, but is too inconsistent to be considered a reliable fantasy contributor.

Unlike Pettitte, Burnett is suffering from a self-inflicted injury. After giving up four runs in two innings to the Rays, he angrily burst through the clubhouse doors, cutting his hands on a Plexiglas lineup holder in the process. He suffered several lacerations to the palms of both hands in the incident and is considered day-to-day. Fortunately, Burnett avoided joining a dubious list of players that have seriously injured themselves in fits of rage and disappointment including Kevin Brown, and Julian Tavarez. Burnett is expected to make his next start, Friday against the Royals.

Josh Beckett

While the Yankees are losing a key component of their rotation, the Red Sox are close to welcoming Beckett back into the fold. Beckett has been out since May 19 with a lower back injury and recently stated he was dealing with a strained latissimus dorsi. If you will recall a strained lat muscle limited Cleveland reliever Kerry Wood earlier in the season while a torn lat has ended the season for White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy. Back injuries directly affect the core of an athlete. For a power pitcher like Beckett, the results can be particularly limiting. For the last two months the Red Sox have restricted his activity while progressively strengthening the injured muscle. Beckett is set to return on Friday against the Mariners but fantasy owners should exhibit some patience. Beckett has struggled with his control on his minor league assignment and was carrying a bloated 7.29 ERA before the injury.

Scott Kazmir

The Angels will be without Kazmir for an extended period of time as he battles shoulder fatigue. Injuries, including a hamstring strain and deltoid fatigue, have plagued the lefty throughout the season leading to a decline in the velocity of his fastball and poor production across the board. He is currently undergoing active-release massage therapy (ART). ART is a relatively new massage technique intended to break up adhesions in the effected body part through a series of aggressive manipulations. While ART patients report good results following the procedure, it may not be enough to save Kazmir’s season. The former All-Star is currently carrying a 7-9 record and a 6.92 ERA. Any fantasy owners clinging onto Kazmir in shallow leagues should use this latest injury as an excuse to finally cut bait.

Hitters

Brandon Inge

The Tigers will be without their veteran third baseman for four-to-six weeks after Inge suffered a broken hand. He suffered a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal in his left hand after getting hit by a Scott Feldman pitch. While Inge isn’t a top fantasy commodity, he is fourth on the Tigers in RBI trailing just Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez, and rookie Brennan Boesch. His absence will directly affect these three stars, as his bat will no longer be available to drive these hot hitters home.

Scott Rolen

Rolen is dealing with a double-whammy as he battles a strained right hamstring and a case of the flu. Rolen felt a burning pain in his hamstring as he tagged up in last Friday’s contest against the Rockies. The injury resulted in inflammation that required a cortisone shot. Cortisone is a strong anti-inflammatory drug that provides pain-relief by decreasing inflammation at the injury site. The effects of cortisone can last for several days or several weeks. While the injection should provide Rolen some relief, the Reds are unsure of his availability for the week and have yet to rule out a trip to the disabled list.

Manny Ramirez

Once again, Ramirez is heading to the disabled list after aggravating his strained right calf less than 24 hours after coming off his second stint on the DL. An MRI of the area revealed a strain that manager Joe Torre is calling “significant.” The area commonly referred to as the calf is two muscles, the gastrocnemius and soleus. The Dodgers have hinted the latest injury is in a different portion of the muscle than his previous injury, which could indicate he has now strained both muscles.

The case of Ramirez is a good example to explain a method of evaluation known as the kinetic chain model. In this system, each joint of the lower extremity is considered interconnected. When one joint, or link in the kinetic chain, is injured or imbalanced the chain is weakened and other injuries can develop as the body adjusts for the weak link. Ramirez has battled muscle issues in his right leg all season missing time with a hamstring injury in addition to the calf problems. While the injuries occurred at different times it is likely the hamstring injury disrupted the kinetic chain of his right leg and contributed to the calf injuries.

The Dodgers expect to be without Manny for at least three weeks, but four weeks, similar to the timeframe missed by Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins, seems more reasonable.

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