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Diamond Cuts: Whoa, Nelly! Cruz Off DL

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

Shutdown season is upon. As the playoff picture becomes more apparent non-contending teams will begin looking to next year. The White Sox are the first team to shift their focus, electing to shut down Peavy for the remainder of the season. Chicago wants to give the former Cy Young winner a much-needed and well-deserved break after Peavy spent the offseason painstakingly rehabbing from an unorthodox procedure needed to repair a complete tear of his latissimus dorsi. He also battled through a case of rotator cuff tendinitis associated with his aggressive throwing regime and has recently been bothered by a sore groin. Cutting Peavy's season short will allow him to rest before his offseason-conditioning program begins. The hope is Peavy will enter next year's spring training at 100 percent. He finished with a 7-7 record with a 4.92 ERA. Fantasy owners shouldn't hesitate to look elsewhere.

Josh Beckett

With the Rays breathing down their necks, the Red Sox need a healthy Beckett. Fortunately, his sprained ankle has improved and after a successful bullpen session Monday, he appears ready to return just as Tampa Bay rolls into Fenway. The injury has the potential to alter his mechanics, particularly as the game goes on and the joint begins to fatigue. Look for the Red Sox to closely monitor his pitch count. With many leagues already in playoff-mode fantasy owners have to start a banged-up Beckett but may want to lower their expectations.

Hitters

Nelson Cruz

Nelly has been activated from the disabled list but is putting fantasy owners in a tough spot. The Rangers will carefully manage his activity level as he attempts to return from a Grade I strain of his hamstring. Prone to hamstring and quadriceps injuries, Cruz will serve as the designated hitter but will be replaced by a pinch-runner should he reach base. The outfielder admitted he has yet to run at 100 percent, making him a risky play going forward. He will eventually return to his everyday role in the Texas outfield but with the playoffs on the horizon and David Murphy swinging a hot bat, manager Ron Washington feels no need to rush the slugger back.

Matt Holliday

The Cardinals may have to finish out the year without Holliday after the outfielder suffered a hand injury while in the on-deck circle. He was removed from the game and has left the team to return to St. Louis where he will visit with team physicians. The injury is believed to be a sprain to the underside of his right hand. A sprain to the area would affect his grip and make throwing and batting difficult. More information will emerge after Holliday's visit with the doctor's but he was not in the lineup Wednesday and it sounds like the Cardinals are expecting him to miss a significant stretch.

Nick Swisher

Swisher missed several games with a left elbow injury but has returned to action after a MRI did not reveal any structural issues. The Yankees are publicly calling the injury a mild case of tendinitis. He manned first base in his initial game back but returned to the outfield a day later. The injury doesn't appear to be a cause for major concern but, like every other team with their eyes on October, expect him to get some additional rest down the stretch.

Troy Tulowitzki and Kevin Youkilis

The Rockies shortstop has yo-yoed in-and-out of the lineup over the last week, dealing with a nagging hip injury. He was recently tested for hip bursitis and remains a candidate to be shut down. In Boston, bursitis has been confirmed for Youkilis and has kept the third basemen sidelined for three games.

Hip bursitis can be extremely uncomfortable. On top top of the femur sits the trochanteric bursa, a fluid-filled sac that acts like a ball bearing for the hip joint. It allows the multiple muscles that attach in the area to smoothly move over the bumpy, rigid prominences of the bone. Bursitis occurs if the bursa becomes irritated and inflamed, resulting in pain and discomfort. Another bursa sac, the iliopsoas bursa, is located between the tendon of the psoas muscle and the hip, near the groin. It is the largest bursa in the body and also prone to inflammation. Bursitis here is known as hip bursitis as well and causes similar symptoms to the affected athlete.

Both conditions can be treated with cortisone injections, designed to reduce the inflammation in the bursa, however rest is usually the best course of treatment. With Colorado officially eliminated from the playoffs, the Rockies may elect to end Tulowitzki's season prematurely. The Red Sox, fighting for their playoff lives, do not have that luxury and will continue to utilize Youk as best they can. However, his situation is compounded by the development of a sports hernia near the injured area that will ultimately require offseason surgery to repair. Look for both players to receive more time off in the coming days, as their injuries remain an issue. For fantasy owners suddenly missing a key component or two from their offense, it would be best to have a suitable backup handy to plug in during these off-days.

Chase Utley

Utley had a positive impact earlier in the week but not the one fantasy owners have grown to expect from the second baseman. Utley posted a solid score on his ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) test and has been cleared to return to play from a concussion sustained after getting struck by a pitch last week. The ImPACT test is performed on a computer and analyzes the individual's current mental status by testing neurological function using activities that check attention span, reaction time, and problem solving. The results are then compared to baseline information gathered prior to the start of the season. Utley's results have returned to their baseline and he is expected back Thursday for Philadelphia's double-header against the Marlins. Utley's teammate Jimmy Rollins is also back following a Grade II groin strain but will be used in a limited role for the next week or so.

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