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Diamond Cuts: Chopped Brave

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

Jorge De La Rosa

Just as he appeared to be finding his groove, the Rockies lefty will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his left elbow. The injury will require Tommy John surgery to repair and should limit his availability for spring training in 2012. The injury comes as a bit of surprise as the veteran has never had any noted elbow or shoulder problems. He has battled blisters and a torn flexor band in his left middle finger but neither serves as a precursor to an UCL tear. Greg Reynolds came out of the bullpen to assume De La Rosa’s spot in the rotation but that move is likely temporary with Aaron Cook progressing in his rehab assignment. Cook has yet to pitch past Triple-A this season while dealing with a fractured finger right ring finger and shoulder inflammation.

Matt Garza

The Cubs will be without Garza for a brief stint after an MRI revealed a bone bruise was the culprit behind his lingering elbow tightness. Given the situation with De La Rosa, Garza and the Cubs appear to have dodged a bullet. Medial elbow pain can be disastrous but the MRI revealed no ligament damage or ulnar nerve involvement. Instead the bone bruise will be treated with various modalities and must be completely healed before Garza will be allowed to return. This area of the elbow is placed under high degrees of stress and a contusion to the area could be extremely painful. The pain would be particularly problematic during follow-through, as the ligaments, muscles, and bony structures must work in conjunction to decelerate the large amounts of force being placed through the elbow. Garza is optimistic he will be ready to return in early June, meaning he would be only miss two starts. The Cubs will need a healthy Garza after they learned teammate Andrew Cashner aggravated his ailing shoulder and will be out through the All-Star break.

Josh Johnson

The Marlins have placed their ace on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation. Despite holding an impressive 1.64 ERA, Johnson admitted the shoulder pain has been an issue since the beginning of the season but only recently was he unable to pitch through the discomfort. A MRI revealed the inflammation but did not indicate any structural damage. The Marlins hope extended rest will help Johnson get past the injury. However, fantasy owners should anticipate the organization taking an extremely conservative approach with Johnson and don’t be surprised if he takes longer than the original 15 days. This minor setback should come as no surprise as Johnson entered the season with an increased risk of injury. He underwent Tommy John in 2008 and saw his 2010 season prematurely end with shoulder and back issues.

Hitters

Marlon Byrd

The Cubs' outfielder is recovering from a scary incident after getting struck in the face by a pitch in the team’s weekend series at Fenway. Byrd suffered several facial fractures, likely to the zygomatic and maxilla bones, and significant swelling in the area. He also bruised a portion of his eye. Luckily, Byrd passed multiple vision exams and has maintained his 20-20 vision. Unfortunately the short-term prognosis isn’t great. The facial fractures will require time to heal and any lingering symptoms like headaches will need to subside before Byrd can return to activity. He remains determined to return this season but it seems likely that is weeks, if not months, away. Reed Johnson will take over in center field and could be a decent addition in deeper leagues.

Jason Heyward

A recent visit with Dr. Lewis Yocum has led the Braves to place their promising young star on the DL with right rotator cuff inflammation. Heyward has been in-and-out of the lineup for the past few weeks dealing with the shoulder pain that has been accompanied by numbness down into the arm. The loss of sensation is the result of a nerve in the shoulder being impinged by the inflammation. The space within the glenoidhumeral joint is severely limited already and any swelling can cause significant limitations and impingement, particularly on a bundle of nerves known as the brachial plexus. Fortunately, an MRI revealed no structural damage.

Heyward has received a cortisone injection to help the healing process. Cortisone is a corticosteroid and an anti-inflammatory. While some view the drug as a pain reliever, any pain reprieve comes as result of the decreased inflammation. The expectations in Atlanta are that rest and the cortisone will allow the inflammation to subside and enable the youngster to return to action. However, Heyward’s short career has been maddening for fantasy owners. Since a red-hot start, Heyward has been riddled with injuries including the shoulder and a thumb injury. Based on what we’ve seen so far, it might not be a bad idea for those in non-keeper leagues to shop Heyward around.

Brian Roberts

The Orioles second basemen is another player often associated with injury and he once again is on the shelf. Roberts was placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list after he began experiencing headaches following a headfirst slide. While there was no impact on the play, it seems likely the whiplash from the event caused what is called a contrecoup injury. In this type of injury the brain hits the opposite side of the skull as the head is whipped in a particular direction. The incident may not seem exceptionally violent, but remember Roberts has a history of head and neck issues and missed the final six games of the 2010 season with a concussion. The initial seven days did not do the trick for Roberts and he will be shut down from all baseball activities for at least two weeks. If the symptoms then subside at rest and with exertion, the Orioles can then begin the necessary paperwork for Roberts to return to action. In the meantime, Ryan Adams will see the majority of time at second base.

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