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Diamond Cuts: Tulo Time

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.


Troy Tulowitzki

Tulowitzki is a difficult player for fantasy owners to figure out. He's extremely talented, plays a position that is often shallow in talent, but has been notorious for his inability to stay healthy.

Since joining the big league club in 2007 he has gone to the disabled list five different times with an assortment of injuries including a torn quadriceps tendon, a lacerated right hand, a fractured left wrist, and groin and hip problems. Some of the injuries, the broken wrist and hand laceration, have been unlucky but his chronically injured left lower extremity raises serious red flags.

Tulowitzki is off to solid start, batting .308 while hitting six home runs and driving in 22 runs. Unfortunately the injury bug has reared its nasty head again and he is now suffering from a strained left shoulder that occurred while sliding into home plate. He has been diagnosed with a minor strain of his rotator cuff and will be listed as day-to-day.

Needless to say those brave enough to draft the two-time All-Star have to be worried to see Tulowitzki's name appear on the injury list. However this particular injury would seem to fall into the aforementioned unlucky category and does not appear to pose a real risk for him moving forward. The injury occurred to his non-throwing shoulder and should not be an issue if the stability of the shoulder joint remains intact. If no further damage is discovered on his impending re-evaluation then he shouldn't miss more than a game or two. The Rockies have an off day slated for Thursday so he would in line for some additional rest.

Francisco Cervelli

The Yankees lineup suffered another setback over the weekend as Cervelli is expected to miss at least six weeks after fracturing his right hand. The break occurred when a Rajai Davis foul-tip hit the catcher's hand. His hand was clenched in a fist with the ball striking him directly on the knuckles. The axial load resulted in a broken hand bone that required surgery Saturday morning. This type of injury is common in boxers and MMA fighters and is even referred to as a boxer's fracture. Surgery allows the physician to align the bone and help stabilize the fracture site to help promote proper healing. The rehab protocol is fairly straightforward with the individual focusing on hand strength and range of motion while the bone heals. Cervelli will be able to maintain his conditioning but may need additional recovery time since the affected hand is his throwing hand. However that will save the hand from the rigors of catching and make what could have been an even longer recovery somewhat shorter. Six weeks is a fair estimate but seven or eight may be a bit more realistic. The Yankees have recalled Austin Romine from Triple-A to replace Cervelli and could be worth a look in leagues that require two catchers.

Brian McCann

As one catcher heads to the DL, another is fighting his way back. After some minor soreness in his wrist, McCann has begun his attempt to return from offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. The early returns are good as McCann hit two home runs in his first two plate appearances while displaying improved strength in his throws. The arm strength is the best sign for McCann who is expected to remain with Class A Rome for several more games before heading to Triple-A Gwinnett for a minimum of five games. If he continues to progress he remains in line for an early May activation.

The health reports for McCann are encouraging but do create an interesting problem for Atlanta. They are currently enjoying the early season production from Evan Gattis and as a National league team don't have the luxury of a designated hitter. The team has already begun to hint that Gattis could shift from behind the plate to the outfield. It sounds nice in theory but when Jason Heyward returns from an appendectomy, a similar logjam is created. Furthermore a shift in position could leave Gattis open to injury as he plays a less familiar place in the field.

Josh Johnson

The Blue Jays are hoping right-hander Josh Johnson will return to the rotation after missing his last start with tightness in his right triceps. A MRI did not reveal any structural damage but given Johnson's injury history there is plenty of cause for concern. Johnson has made multiple trips to the DL for Tommy John and other forearm and elbow related problems as well as a season-ending stint on the DL with right shoulder inflammation.

This long list of injuries means Johnson can ill afford any type of injury that could alter the normal mechanics in his throwing motion. The triceps is primarily used during the acceleration phase of throwing when it shortens concentrically. If the muscle is tight or unable to work in a normal fashion, force is shifted through the elbow, leaving the UCL vulnerable to injury. Basically this means a minor triceps injury has the potential to be extremely damaging for a player like Johnson.

The Jays will keep a close eye on Johnson's mechanics even if he does make his next start. However, fantasy owners may want to sit Johnson for the immediate future, especially if you factor in his 6.86 ERA.

Matt Garza

The Cubs pitcher suffered a minor setback in his rehab for a latissimus dorsi strain sitting out his Wednesday start with “dead arm.” The team does not appear worried and feel the weakness and soreness is normal. He will continue his rehab assignment and is slated to make his first start with Double-A Tennessee this Wednesday. As long as the soreness improves and any lingering pain is not attributed to the distal attachment of the recovering lat muscle, he should still be on track to return by the end of May.

Michael Bourn

Bourn has returned to Cleveland and has had the five stitches removed from his lacerated right index finger. He can successfully grip a bat and a ball but the team remains hesitant to say he will be ready to play when he is first eligible to come off the DL on Tuesday. His conditioning shouldn't be a problem and Bourn should be reinserted back into lineups when he does return, likely next weekend.