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Diamond Cuts: Phenom Under the Microscope

Jeff Stotts

Jeff Stotts

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

Pitchers

Stephen Strasburg

That gasp you just heard was the majority of baseball fans exhaling as a MRI on the rookie phenom’s sore right shoulder revealed no structural damage. Strasburg was a late scratch from Tuesday’s start with what was described as “tightness” in his throwing shoulder. Diagnostic imaging, including a MRI and X-ray, was performed revealing inflammation on the posterior aspect of his shoulder. The Nationals have not revealed any specifics but the muscles located in this area include the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, the posterior aspect of the deltoid, and the rhomboids. Any of the muscles can become inflamed with overuse and it is likely Strasburg’s shoulder has become slightly irritated by the amount of pitching he has done over the past few months. Since the season began, Strasburg has pitched 109.2 innings in the minor and major league levels, already equaling the total he pitched his senior year at San Diego State. It is not uncommon for young pitchers to experience inflammation as their bodies adjust to the rigors of joining a major league rotation. The Nationals plan on resting his arm and providing plenty of anti-inflammatory medication to insure the issue is addressed. It sounds like Strasburg could be available for Washington’s weekend series against the Phillies, but will likely be rested as the Nationals protect the face of their franchise. Keep in mind the Nationals plan on limiting Strasburg to 160 innings this season anyway.

Dan Haren

With memories of Mo Vaughan still in their minds, Angels fans watched as The Dan Haren Experiment in Anaheim nearly ended after four innings. Haren took a line drive to the right forearm from Kevin Youkilis and was removed from the game. Fortunately, X-rays came back negative and Haren is slated to make his next start on Monday against the Rangers despite the bruise to his throwing arm. Haren-owners are fortunate as the radius and ulna of the forearm are vulnerable to fractures near the site of his injury.

Huston Street

The oft-injured Colorado closer suffered another injury on Tuesday, this time in a scary incident during batting practice. Street was struck in the right pelvic area by a line drive prior to the team’s game against the Pirates. The reliever was in-and-out of consciousness and eventually taken off the field and to the hospital in an ambulance. While the final diagnosis was a right abdominal contusion, Street was extremely lucky.

The abdomen is divided into four quadrants and Street’s injury occurred to the right lower quadrant (RLQ). Several organs including the appendix and portions of the ascending colon and small intestine are located in the RLQ. A direct blow to this area can damage or rupture these organs resulting in a true medical emergency. Fortunately, Street avoided serious injuries and is considered day-to-day. Expect Manny Corpas to fill as the Rockies’ temporary closer.

Kerry Wood

Wood is nearing a return from the disabled list that has kept him out since the All-Star break. He was placed on the DL with a blister on his right index finger. A blister may sound like no big deal but can dramatically affect a pitcher’s ability to grip a ball and deliver a pitch with velocity and accuracy. Blisters often develop as an area of skin is repeatedly rubbed against the neighboring finger or the seams of the baseball. These sores can be extremely painful and irritating and are prone to infection. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, major league pitchers are not allowed to pitch with athletic tape or Band-Aids on their hands or fingers so players must wait until the area is healed before they are able to effectively pitch again. Expect Wood to return following another bullpen session or brief minor league assignment and assume his closer role from teammate Chris Perez.

Hitters

Chris Coghlan

Like Anaheim’s Kendry Morales, Coghlan is headed to the 15-day disabled list and could miss an extended period of time after injuring himself during a celebration gone awry. Coghlan tore a meniscus in his left knee after landing awkwardly while delivering a shaving cream pie to the face of teammate Wes Helms following his game-winning RBI against the Braves. The menisci are fibrocartilage discs that provided support for the knee from high levels of stress, all while remaining elastic.

Team physicians have yet to determine if the reigning NL Rookie of the Year will need surgery, but expect to make a decision later in the week. If surgery is required Coghlan will need between six and eight weeks to recover and could miss the remainder of the season. Earlier this season, Angels shortstop Erick Aybar injured his meniscus but was able to avoid surgery and returned to action 11 days after the injury occurred, while Arizona catcher Miguel Montero’s mensical injury required surgery and kept him shelved for two months. The Marlins have promoted Logan Morrison from Triple-A and expect him to platoon with Emilio Bonifacio in left field.

B.J. and Justin Upton

The Upton brothers had a rough night Tuesday as both players left their respective teams with injuries. Justin left the Diamondbacks’ loss to the Phillies with a right hip-flexor injury while B.J. suffered a sprained left ankle while fielding a ball early in Tampa’s win over Detroit.

Justin will be given several days off to rest his hip flexor and hopes to return by the weekend. The hip-flexor is actually a group of muscles that work in unison to pull the knee upward. Muscles in the group include the rectus femoris, the sartorius, and iliopsoas. When injured the athlete will often complain of tightness and pain in the area and if untreated can lead to lower back issues as well as groin pain. Upton may return wearing a supportive wrap known as a hip spica, but the injury does not sound serious and several days of rest should help.

B.J. also looks to make a quick return from his ankle sprain and hopes to miss no more than three games. The sprain is likely a minor or Grade I sprain and should feel better with time. Tape or a lightweight brace may be utilized to provide the ankle with extra support while the ligaments completely heal.