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Diamond Cuts: Hamstrung Again

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

Josh Johnson

Out since May with shoulder inflammation, Johnson continues his throwing rehabilitation but has yet to throw off of a mound. The unfortunate issue is here is that miscommunication between Johnson and the Florida medical staff likely cost the ace the season. Johnson elected to not inform the training staff when he initially began feeling discomfort in the shoulder. He then suffered several setbacks in the rehab process. While a MRI revealed no structural damage, the inflammation persisted. The Marlins remains optimistic that Johnson can get a start or two in before the conclusion of the season. He may be worth a flier in deeper leagues but it's hard to put too much stock in a guy that hasn't pitched in almost four months. Owners in keeper leagues have to be encouraged but should keep in mind he will still enter next season with multiple red flags surrounding his health.

Francisco Liriano

Liriano has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left posterior shoulder strain suffered in his most recent outing against the Orioles. The Twins pitcher missed 14 games earlier in the year with inflammation in the same shoulder. A recent MRI revealed positive news, showing no new damage but based on his history, it's hard to imagine why Minnesota would push Liriano back out there this season. His shoulder has been an issue for most of the season, not to mention this is the same guy who needed Tommy John surgery in 2006. Aside from the no-hitter, 2011 has been a down year for Liriano and it may be time to shut him down and begin focusing on next season.

Hitters

Nelson Cruz

With the return on Adrian Beltre on the horizon, the Rangers were hoping to have a healthy lineup just in time for the stretch run and postseason. However, Cruz came up limping on Sunday after hitting a double. He underwent a MRI on Monday that revealed a Grade 1 hamstring strain in his left leg and has been placed on the 15-day DL. Cruz has dealt with hamstring issues for several years now and missed 53 games last season with three different stints on the disabled list for hamstring injuries (twice with the left, once with the right). Cruz is the latest example of how troublesome hamstring strains can be, joining teammate Beltre, Jimmy Rollins, and countless others who have missed significant amounts of time with the ailment. Cruz's injury did receive the lowest degree of severity but extended rest will still be needed to insure the muscle properly heals. Cruz will be out at least three weeks. Texas has promoted outfielder Leonys Martin from Triple-A, but will likely lean heavily on veteran David Murphy.

Andre Ethier

There's drama in Los Angeles as Ethier and manager Don Mattingly needed a private meeting to discuss comments made by the outfielder regarding his bothersome knee. Mattingly felt Ethier was insinuating he did not want to finish the season and that the coaching staff was pressuring him to play on an injured right knee. The two cleared the air after Ethier received an off day Sunday. The rest appears to have helped the sore knee, as Ethier is 6-for-8 with a home run and five RBI since the day off. Rest and a synthetic lubricant injection are the likely reasons for the improvement but it remains probable he will need offseason surgery on the knee. Given Ethier's symptoms and comments on the knee, it is likely he is suffering from meniscus damage or a plica, a remnant piece of fetal tissue that can be present in the knee. Either way the issue can be fixed with an arthroscopic procedure. Enjoy Ethier's current hot streak but expect the occasional day off to rest the balky knee.

Hanley Ramirez

The Ramirez saga continues. After many in the organization expected Hanley to miss the remainder of the season following his left shoulder sprain, the shortstop was able to participate in a minor league assignment over the weekend with High-A Jupiter. However, he left Tuesday's game after experiencing discomfort in the shoulder and is headed back to Miami to consult with team physicians. Again this is the same shoulder Ramirez needed surgery on in 2007 and any instability in the joint should be taken seriously. Fantasy owners who once again got their hopes up have to take some solace in the fact that hopefully they will now receive a definitive answer on his availability. For now it seems his season is over.

Alex Rodriguez

A-Rod will sit the remainder of New York's series with Boston after receiving a cortisone injection in his sprained left thumb. He suffered the initial sprain 10 days ago and suffered a setback over the weekend. The injury is to his glove hand so it bothers him while fielding but isn't an issue when throwing. At the plate the injury will affect his grip and has the potential to take a significant amount of pop out of his bat. The injection will address the inflammation that in turn should help ease his discomfort. He should be back in the lineup Friday for a home series against the Blue Jays.

Cameron Maybin

The Padres' outfielder has missed four straight games and will likely miss several more after suffering a wrist injury. A MRI revealed inflammation but no structural damage. San Diego hope that anti-inflammatory medication along with an extra day off scheduled for Thursday, will allow the swelling to subside and give Maybin the chance to return by the weekend. The injury shouldn't affect him on the basepaths, where he is most valuable to fantasy owners, but will affect his ability to get on base. Limited motion in the wrist directly effects bat speed and Maybin may find it difficult to effectively swing. Other stolen bases options like Juan Pierre are equally available in most formats and come without the injury risk.

Colby Rasmus

Like Maybin, Rasmus is dealing with a wrist injury sustained while patrolling the outfield. The recently acquired Blue Jay twice jammed the wrist making defensive play and as been placed on the 15-day DL. Rasmus' wrist has been slow to heal and Toronto elected to shut him down for the immediate future. Wrist injuries heal quicker when immobilized so expect to see Rasmus in a splint or brace. The unfortunate downside to immobilization is that the muscles can atrophy quickly, weakening the area. Look for Rasmus to work closely with Toronto athletic training staff to receive treatment that will help minimize the effects of splinting while insuring the wrist is healing in the most productive way. With a .216 average since joining the Jays, now may be the time to part with the enigmatic outfielder.