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Diamond Cuts: Furcal Derailed Again

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

Peavy is back on the disabled list but not for an injury you would expect. While the former Cy Young winner has overcome shoulder issues, he now has been slowed by a strained right groin. The groin is a muscle group referred to as the adductors. They work in conjunction to pull the leg inward toward the midline of the body. For a pitcher, the adductors are placed on stretch in the delivery of a pitch and also play a key role in creating forward momentum. As the pitcher drives his arm and body forward toward the plate, energy transfers from his back leg (the injured leg in Peavy's case) to his lead leg. A strain in this area would severely limit his ability to generate the required force to efficiently pitch. For fantasy owners take some solace in the fact that his surgically repaired shoulder is unaffected and the latest injury should only keep him out a few weeks.

Brett Anderson

After being roughed up in two consecutive outings, the A's have placed Anderson on the DL with an elbow injury. The team's physician reviewed the subsequent MRI and the worst is feared. It is assumed that Anderson has torn his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) and will require Tommy John surgery. Infamous orthopedist Dr. James Andrews will be consulted but it sounds like Anderson is done for the season. The hard-throwing lefty will become the second Oakland starter lost for year after Dallas Braden needed surgery on his shoulder.

Hitters

Brandon Belt

The case of the San Francisco prospect appears straightforward on paper. He was hit by a pitch and suffered a hairline fracture in his left wrist. He has since been placed on the 15-day DL and will likely miss up to a month. However, his situation can serve as a teaching point for fantasy owners. The early reports on Belt were promising. The X-rays taken showed no signs of a break and the initial diagnosis was a wrist contusion. However, upon further review and with additional medical testing, a fracture was revealed. Fantasy owners should use this as an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the different imaging techniques employed by medical professionals.

Everyone is familiar with the X-ray. It produces 2-D images of skeletal structures and is most often utilized to locate breaks in bone. A majority of professional stadiums are equipped with X-ray machines that are often immediately used following an acute injury. However in tiny bones, like those located in the foot and wrist, a break may not show up on the initial X-ray. X-rays performed weeks later may show signs of a break but only after the body has begun healing the bone. For this specific reason, it is smart to not place too much stock in initial images taken of these injured areas. That does not mean there is or isn't always a break but keep in mind these are not 100 percent accurate.

A bone scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are two other forms of medical imaging widely used. A bone scan is often taken when a fracture is suspected in an area that X-ray is not picking up. In the procedure, the athlete is injected with a radioactive dye and then scanned with a specialized camera. The resulting image shows "hot spots" in areas where bone remodeling due to infection, disease, or fractures are occurring. Because of the high-cost and the need for a specialized technician to inject the dye, professional sports arenas are not equipped with the necessary equipment.

An MRI varies from a bone scan and X-ray because it doesn't require radiation. Instead it uses magnets to create a 3-D image of not only bone, but also soft tissues structures like tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. The varying contrast in these images can help identity fractures in bone, tears in muscle, and even edema in an injured area. Like a bone scan, the machine required to create the images is expensive and requires a trained individual to operate. However, MRIs are frequently used by the various MLB medical staffs and remain one of the most accurate forms of medical imaging. A MRI was the imaging technique that ultimately revealed the fracture in Belt's injured wrist.

By understanding and familiarizing yourself with these procedures it should help you make the proper moves in regards to your fantasy team. Play close attention to what imaging techniques are being carried out and you place yourself at an advantage.

Jimmy Rollins

The Phillies shortstop recently underwent a MRI of his own, which revealed a bone contusion but no structural damage on his injured right knee. The injury occurred over the weekend when he fouled a ball off the joint. While Rollins was seen limping noticeably in the following days, he continues to maintain he will avoid the DL. The former National League MVP did serve as a pinch-hitter on Tuesday, indicating the injury is improving. However we've already seen this season with Cleveland's Grady Sizemore that knee contusions can take an extended period of time to heal. Remember bone contusions to the patella often result in swelling and pain with movement, particularly during extension (straightening the knee). In the meantime, Rollins will wear the dreaded "day-to-day" label.

Rafael Furcal

The veteran shortstop becomes the latest player to strain his oblique muscle. Furcal suffered the injury to his left side while making a throw and could be sidelined until the All-Star break. The injury is just the latest in a long list of injuries that have derailed Furcal's career. This marks the sixth time in six seasons with Los Angeles that Furcal will spend time on the DL. He most recently missed six weeks earlier this year with a broken thumb. The two-time All-Star has received a platelet-rich plasma injection in the muscle, designed to accelerate the healing process. Speedy prospect Dee Gordon has been called up from Triple-A Albuquerque to takeover at short and could be worth a pickup for teams in need of steals.

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