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Diamond Cuts: Brave New World

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

Josh Johnson

It seems the inventible has at long last occurred as the Marlins appear set to shut down Johnson for the remainder of the season. His injured shoulder does not have structural damage but has been a problem since the start of the year. The inflammation in the shoulder began in May and sent him to the 15-day disabled list. He later transferred to the 60-day DL following a setback during rehab. A visit with Dr. James Andrews and a cortisone injection were beneficial but with the team no longer in contention, running the risk of another backward slide was not worth it. The timing of the decision is beneficial and fantasy owners can at last move on. Those in keeper leagues would also be wise to look elsewhere. Johnson has too many red flags in his past, including Tommy John in 2007, to be counted on long-term.

Hitters

Adrian Beltre

The Rangers offense continues its relentless assault on opposing pitchers, but it will have to stay the course without one of its key competent. Beltre has been placed on the 15-day DL with a strained hamstring, just as he was hitting his stride at the plate. On the bright side, the injury is not on the same side as the calf strain that limited in spring training. The Grade I calf strain was on his right leg and cost the clean-up hitter nearly three weeks of playing time. The hamstring strain has also been classified as a Grade I but is on his left leg. Had the injury been in the same kinetic chain, addition caution would have been required during the rehab process and may have needed extra time off. Beltre will still be sidelined for at least another two weeks but could extend that timeline with a rehab assignment.

In the meantime, Chris Davis has been recalled from Triple-A Round Rock and has taken over at the hot corner. Davis, a minor league All-Star, needs to prove he has what it takes at the big league level. Unfortunately, he got off to a slow start, going 0-for-6 in Texas' 20 run explosion against Minnesota.

Lance Berkman

Berkman continues his battle with a strained right rotator cuff and will undergo a MRI, not for diagnostic purposes but for therapeutic reasons. The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles situated at and around the scapula (shoulder blade) as well as the head of the humerus. The tendons of the four muscles, plus the tendons of the biceps, occupy a small area in the shoulder making it difficult to precisely find the area of injury. The MRI will allow team physicians to pinpoint the location of inflammation so that a cortisone shot can be accurately delivered. Cortisone, a strong anti-inflammatory, will help decrease the inflammation and as a result ease Berkman's level of discomfort. Once the injection is delivered Berkman will be forced to sit out several days. If the shoulder responds well, he could avoid a trip to the DL. Expect to see newly acquired Corey Patterson patrolling the St. Louis outfield very soon.

Jose Bautista

Joey Bats appears to have avoided serious injury after taking a pitch off the helmet in Tuesday's loss to the Orioles. He left the game after getting hit by a wild pitch from Jake Arreita and did not return. Bautista was examined by team athletic trainers and physicians and showed no signs of a concussion. He will be re-evaluated Wednesday morning in hopes of playing later in the day. Bautista joins Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler on the list of players to be recently beaned in the head. Kinsler did not miss any time after getting plunked.

Brian McCann

The dreaded oblique strain has grabbed its latest victim as the Braves catcher is headed to the DL after injuring himself in Atlanta's 19-inning affair against Pittsburgh. McCann injured his left oblique while attempting to throw out a baserunner.

For a catcher, oblique injuries can be extremely problematic. A catcher makes multiple throws during various points of the game and must make his appearance in the batting lineup. The obliques, located on either side of the rib cage, are thin muscles that contract along with the opposite side to complete trunk rotation. For McCann, who throws right-handed, his left internal obliques contract along with his right external obliques to complete the throwing motion. However McCann serves as a unique case because while he throws right-handed, he bats as a lefty. Though he may begin to feel okay throwing, the injury could still be easily aggravated while batting and vice-versa. McCann will need to approach rehab cautiously and under the watchful of the medical staff. Look for McCann to need the full 15 days and more to completely recover.

Evan Longoria

Longoria has been suffering from a recurring foot injury that has resulted in a summer swoon. He rebounded from a slow start to hit six home runs and drive in 24 runs during the month of June. However, July hasn't been kind as he has just three home runs while batting .211 for the month.

Longoria has been diagnosed with a Morton's neuroma in his left foot. A Morton's neuroma occurs when the nerves between the third and fourth metatarsal swell. The area is susceptible to injury because it's the junction between two nerves. When swelling occurs, pain and parasthesia begin in the midfoot and spread down into the toes. The problem is exacerbated with weight bearing, meaning simple baseball-related activities like running and batting can increase the pain. Other predisposing factors like a flat foot or tight shoes can also contribute to the problem.

Surgery is rarely required and the majority of the symptoms will subside with extra padding and supportive shoes. However if the condition has progressed to the point of constant pain, extended rest will be needed. With the Rays falling behind both the Yankee and Red Sox, Tampa could consider shutting their All-Star down for the remainder of the year. Longoria is too big of a name to bench but don't expect maximum production from the ailing star.

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