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Diamond Cuts: The All-Scar Team

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.

The first half of the MLB season was littered with injuries, leaving talented players wasting away on the disabled list white others have yet to appear in a game this year. Frustrated fantasy owners can take little solace in owning one of the individuals below, but here are the second annual MLB All-Scar teams.

Catcher

NL- Jonathan Lucroy

Really it should be Lucroy's wife occupying this spot after she inadvertently knocked a suitcase on his right hand, fracturing his fifth metacarpal. Pins were inserted in the bone and Lucroy has not played since late May. Fortunately the cast is off and Lucroy is targeting a July 20 return. His .345 average could help some struggling fantasy teams, especially in leagues that require two catchers.

AL- Salvador Perez

It may be unfair to place a youngster like Perez here but the promise he displayed briefly last season had many people hoping for a big year. Instead surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee forced him to miss Kansas City's first 67 games. He's looked good so far, hitting .386 with three home runs in his first 12 games played. I was tempted to hand this spot to Detroit's Victor Martinez but he wasn't expected to play much behind the plate.

First Base

NL- Ryan Howard

Howard had some competition here, beating out Mike Morse and Lance Berkman for this dubious distinction. Howard was expected to miss time after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon in his final at-bat of the 2011 seasons, but an infection delayed his recovery. He has returned but is still moving slowly around the bases. He won't have the same value we're used to seeing from the slugger but if he's still available he's worth a flier moving forward.

AL- Mark Teixeira

The overall health of American League first basemen has been impressive. None of the top 10 first basemen have missed significant stretches with injury so I'm penciling in Teixeira by default. His numbers have been down and some believe his dip in power is the result of nerve damage to his vocal cords resulting from an earlier infection. The damage left Teixeira with a persistent cough that took a physical toll on the slugger. With the issue diagnosed and being treated, I'm expecting a big second half from Tex.

Second Base

NL- Chase Utley

Utley fills this spot for the second consecutive season for the same condition that landed him on the list last year. Chondromalacia in his right knee held him out of the first 46 games of the 2011 season and the same ailment in his left knee forced him out of the first 76 games this year. Like Howard, he's back in the lineup but expectations should be limited.

AL- Dustin Pedroia

Pedroia is a late addition to the squad after a second thumb injury will keep him out for at least three weeks. He missed six games earlier in the season with a torn adductor muscle in this right thumb. A second injury, this time to the volar plate, did what the first couldn't, sending Pedroia to the DL. The volar plate is connective tissue that supplies stability to the joint. Surgery won't be needed but his absence is an obvious blow to fantasy owners.

Shortstop

NL- Troy Tulowitzki

Tulowitzki underwent groin surgery in late June to clean up scar tissue around a nerve. The groin has been an issue all season and limited the former All-Star to just 47 games. He's expected to miss at least six weeks. Stephen Drew and Emilo Bonifacio earn honorable mentions spots here.

AL- Yuniesky Betancourt

Shortstops in the American League have been fortunate enough to avoid the injury bug, making Betancourt the selection. A high-ankle sprain cost him nearly the entire month of May and he's needed the occasional day off since returning.

Third Base

NL- Pablo Sandoval

Sandoval suffered a fractured hamate bone in his left wrist. The tiny bone located at the base of the pinkie needed surgery to repair and cost him 35 games. Oddly enough a fractured hamate in his right wrist cost him a significant stretch of time last year.

AL- Evan Longoria

A partially torn hamstring has left Longoria sidelined since May and a setback in June delayed his return. The Rays do not have a timeline on their star but don't expect him back until August. Hamstring injuries and their tendency to slowly heal have led to many people being included on an All-Scar team and it appears Longoria is no exception.

Outfielders

NL- Matt Kemp, Jayson Werth, and Giancarlo Stanton

Kemp has been one of the biggest disappointments in the first half. The number one overall pick in numerous drafts has played in 36 games due to a nagging hamstring strain. The end may be near as the Dodgers All-Star is preparing to return Friday.

Werth has played in even fewer games than Kemp after breaking his wrist in early May. Wrist problems have bothered him throughout his career and this particular injury required surgical screws and plates to repair. He should start swinging a bat soon and is targeting an August return.

Stanton has been great in the first half but he joins the squad after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery just days ago. He had multiple loose bodies removed from his right knee in a procedure known as a debridement. Miami is expecting to be without him for at least a month but don't be shocked if it's longer.

AL- Brett Gardner, Carl Crawford, and Jacoby Ellsbury

The AL outfield is made up of a trio of outfielders from the AL East. Gardner led the American League in stolen bases last season but has appeared in just nine games this year after suffering an elbow injury. He initially strained the elbow in early April and suffered another strain to the area after rushing his rehab. The elbow finally appears to have healed and the Yankees are hoping he will be able to return at the end of July.

The Red Sox entered the season, knowing Crawford would not be completely over offseason wrist surgery. What they didn't expect was a partially torn elbow ligament occurring in the outfielder's throwing arm. He avoided undergoing Tommy John surgery and appeared poised for a return shortly after the break. However he suffered a mild left groin strain and will be shutdown for a brief period. A groin injury would only limit Crawford even more and I'm not expecting any major contributions from him in the second half.

Crawford's teammate should be back at Fenway soon as Ellsbury continues his rehab assignment. Ellsbury has been inactive since dislocating his shoulder in Boston's seventh game of the year. The injury is healed and the speedster continues to strengthen the area to insure stability. If he is able to avoid re-injury, Ellsbury could be a big help in the second half.

Starting Pitchers

NL - Roy Halladay

Halladay beats out Chris Carpenter to get the nod for the NL. Halladay has been a stalwart for the majority of his career so his injury was more of a surprise than the chronically injured Carpenter. Out since May with a strained lat muscle, Halladay recently completed a successful bullpen session and could be nearing a rehab assignment.

AL - Brandon McCarthy

McCarthy gets the start over several deserving candidates including Andy Pettitte, Brandon Morrow, and Michael Pineda. McCarthy has teased fantasy owners once again, producing a 2.54 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in-between DL trips. His shoulder has been the main culprit and has again sidelined him until mid-July.

Relief Pitchers

NL - Brian Wilson

Even the Beard isn't immune to injury. After two appearances and one save, Wilson's season ended with a torn ulnar collateral ligament. He underwent Tommy John surgery and will try to ready before the start of next season.

AL - Mariano Rivera

The Yankee legend tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while shagging flyballs prior to a game. He underwent successful surgery and vowed to return next year to properly finish his career.