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Diamond Cuts: Can CarGo Go?

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.

Carlos Gonzalez

Gonzalez was one of the riskier first-round picks this season due to a lingering finger issue that went unaddressed in the offseason. Despite the concern, he has performed admirably hitting four homeruns and driving in 14 runs. Unfortunately another injury has emerged that could be a lingering problem.

Gonzalez exited Sunday's game in the sixth inning with what is being reported as a knee tendinitis. While more common in basketball, knee tendinitis is a frequently diagnosed and problematic condition that often involves the quadriceps tendon. This specific tendon is the conjoined tendon of the quadriceps muscles located on the front of the thigh. Tendinitis often results following excessive force on the tendon or with constant, repetitive motion. The tendon becomes inflamed, causing pain and discomfort before, after, or during activity depending on the severity.

Tendinitis is considered an overuse injury and is common in a sport when players receive few days off for rest. Baseball's grueling schedule lends itself to the condition and rarely provides an athlete adequate time to properly treat the ailment. By stopping the repetitive motion that is causing the problem, the inflammation can be treated and the tendon can heal. The affected individual can then focus on improving the strength and flexibility of his lower extremity muscles so that the knee will be better suited to handle the rigors of baseball-related activities. Keep in mind Gonzalez has a history of hamstring problems and a tight or underactive hamstring group can play a role in the development of tendinitis.

The Rockies outfielder insists he will play through the injury but fantasy owners can't expect the issue to simply go away. He will continue to receive treatment but may be limited on the basepaths. This is an instance in which a proactive trip to the disabled list could end up protecting Gonzalez's availability for the remainder of the season, though it appears Colorado won't currently use that option.

Chris Sale

The White Sox left-hander will miss at least the next two weeks after suffering a flexor strain in his forearm. Sale reported general soreness following a 127-pitch outing against the Red Sox and a subsequent MRI revealed the injury leading to his placement on the 15-day DL. Flexor injuries come with some associated risk that can complicate the recovery process.

The primary concern surrounding an injury of this nature involves the origin point of the flexor muscle itself. The flexor bundle of the forearm connects to the medial epicondyle, the same location as the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). The UCL, as fantasy owners well know, is the ligament repaired during Tommy John surgery. Fortunately Sale's MRI showed the ligament was intact but Chicago will closely monitor his rehab to insure he does put any unnecessary stress on or through the elbow. Though the team is optimistic he will return in the minimal amount of time, don't be surprised to see this play out a bit longer.

Taijuan Walker

Rarely does an injured player with so little big league experience generate this degree of fantasy interest but Walker has done just that since draft day. However the Seattle prospect continues to keep his owners waiting after suffering a setback on his rehab assignment. Walker reported stiffness in shoulder prior to his minor league start on April 14 and received a diagnosis of shoulder impingement upon further evaluation.

Shoulder impingement often occurs when a tendon of the biceps or one of the rotator cuff muscles becomes pinched or irritated as they pass through a narrow space in the shoulder. The issue must be treated seriously because, if left untreated, the cuff muscles can develop a tear or lead to the labrum and elbow complications. Treatment generally focuses on the use of anti-inflammatory medications and a rehab protocol designed to strengthen the effected and surrounding musculature. The Mariners have elected to shut Walker down for a two-week period and will then re-evaluate the situation. A mid-to-late May return is possible but Seattle would be best to treat Walker conservatively.

Check Swings

Aroldis Chapman: After suffering a scary facial fracture in late March, Chapman has begun throwing to live hitters. Barring any unforeseen complications, the Reds suspect he will begin a rehab assignment shortly, possible as earlier as next week.

Alex Cobb: The Rays pitcher continues to make progress in his rehab for a strained oblique muscle and hopes to return before June. The initial timeline for his return was four-to-six weeks, keeping him right in line with this estimation.

Cole Hamels: The Phillies ace will return to the mound Wednesday after missing the start of the season dealing with biceps tendinitis. Fantasy owners that were opportunistic likely got Hamels at a discounted price and should begin to reap those rewards.

Hisashi Iwakuma: Iwakuma performed well in a simulated game and is scheduled to make a rehab start Tuesday for Triple-A Tacoma. If he continues to show no lingering effects of his finger injury, he could be back following an additional minor league outing.

Clayton Kershaw: The reigning Cy Young winner is expected to make his first of two scheduled rehab assignment starts Friday. Kershaw is working his way back from a teres major strain and appears to be on target for an early May return.

Manny Machado: Machado reported soreness in his knee that is being treated as routine and will not prevent him from continuing his rehab. If the soreness dissipates as expected he could begin a minor league assignment by the end of the week.

Ivan Nova: The depth of the New York starting staff will be tested, as Nova appears done for the season. Nova has been diagnosed with a partial tear of his UCL and, while he hopes to avoid surgery, does not have history on his side. Conservative treatment for UCL tears rarely works and it seems inevitable he will require Tommy John.

Wilson Ramos: Ramos is ahead of schedule in his rehab protocol for a fractured hamate. The tiny wrist bone was removed less than three weeks ago but the Washington catcher is already gripping a bat. While he will need time to rebuild any loss muscle tone, expect Ramos back earlier than anticipated.

Wandy Rodriguez: Pittsburgh placed Rodriguez on the 15-day DL with right knee inflammation after the leftie saw his ERA balloon to 7.65 for the year. A knee injury could affect pitch delivery and maybe this bit of respite will allow him to return 100 percent and in better command of his pitches.