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Diamond Cuts: Why Can't We Have Nice Things?

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.


Jose Fernandez

The Marlins fear the worst, as it seems Tommy John surgery is inevitable for their promising ace. Fernandez has been diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow and has already been placed on the disabled list. The young pitcher has returned to Miami and a decision regarding his potential surgery will be decided shortly. He now joins the ever-growing list of pitchers to suffer the injury so far this season that already includes Matt Moore, Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy, Jarrod Parker, and A.J. Griffin.

There is no denying the rate of Tommy John surgeries required so far this season is alarming. No one seems immune to the injury as prospects and veterans alike are being forced under the knife. Even players who have previously required the procedure are breaking down, as multiple pitchers including Josh Johnson and Beachy have recently undergone the second Tommy John surgery of their careers.

The biggest problem facing these teams in regards to Tommy John continues to be a reliable method of prevention. Despite pitch counts, innings limits, and other conservative steps to protect their players, the rate of Tommy John remains significantly high. The Marlins did everything suggested to protect Fernandez's elbow yet here we stand. The same holds true for the Mets and Matt Harvey. Unfortunately many believe that the problems begin in youth baseball. Young and developing kids are exhausting their body's before they even reach the collegiate or professional level, leaving them susceptible to elbow and shoulder injuries. Until that issue is addressed and proper mechanics are stressed, the ramifications felt by the MLB will likely continue.

Matt Wieters

Wieters is facing a similar situation as he too has suffered a UCL sprain. The Baltimore catcher will not immediately opt for Tommy John, electing to wait and see if conservative, non-surgical treatment will improve the injury. This may require him sitting out until mid-summer which means this injury could potentially impact this season as well as next year. While the general timeline for a positional player isn't quite as long as a pitcher, the amount of throwing required by the catcher position could prolong Wieters' recovery. Given the uncertainty of the situation, fantasy owners would be wise to prepare to play without Wieters' services for the remainder of the season.

CC Sabathia

The Yankees sent Sabathia to the 15-day DL after inflammation in his right knee persisted. The fluid build up was so extensive that the former Cy Young winner needed to have it drained Monday. He's slated to visit with Dr. James Andrews to determine if the injury is linked to his 2010 surgery for a torn meniscus in the same knee. Given his previous operation it wouldn't be surprising to see him need an additional procedure on the joint though the team is optimistic he will able to return after 15 days. However another debridement or a more impactful surgery would guarantee a prolonged stay on the DL. Look for more information to surface following Sabathia's visit with Dr. Andrews.

Check Swings

Brandon Belt: Belt will undergo surgery Tuesday to repair his fractured thumb. Belt sustained the injury after being hit by a pitch and will now need two pins inserted into the joint to stabilize the area and promote proper bone union. Bone heals nicely and he's expected to be back in roughly six weeks. Michael Morse will see additional time at first base in his place.

Carlos Beltran: The Yankees outfielder is scheduled for a MRI after he suffered a hyperextended elbow in the team's loss to the Mets. Keep in mind, a diagnosis of a hyperextended elbow does nothing but tell us how the injury occurred. Multiple injuries including a muscle strain or ligament sprain remain in play. The results of the imaging should provide better insight to how much, if any, time Beltran will miss.

Ryan Braun: Braun is expected to rejoin the Brewers on Tuesday after missing time with a strained oblique. He will test the area prior to the game against the Pirates and will be activated if all goes well. Hopefully the time off also proved beneficial for his nagging thumb injury and he will return with a bit more power in his swing.

Coco Crisp: A mild neck strain continues to limit Crisp, who has now missed five straight outings for the Athletics. The team is limiting his activity but plan on waiting a few more days before deciding on a possible DL stint.

Carlos Gomez: Gomez appears to have avoided serious injury when a wild pitch struck him the wrist. X-rays on the area were negative and the damage appears limited to the surrounding soft tissue. With Braun less than 100 percent and Aramis Ramirez also ailing, the Brewers can ill afford another injury to one of the primary components of their lineup.

Bryce Harper: Harper recently had the stitches removed from his surgically repaired thumb. Though the milestone is a small one it will impact the progression of his rehabilitation. He should be able to begin strengthening the joint and begin work on scar tissue management. He remains six-to-eight weeks away from returning to the Nationals.

Colby Rasmus: The Blue Jays have hinted that Rasmus's hamstring issues are more serious than initially believed. While the injury continues to be described as hamstring tightness, it sounds like the team is preparing to send him to the 15-day DL. Given his injury history and factoring in the unyielding playing surface in Toronto, a proactive DL stint could be the best decision to protect Rasmus's long-term availability.

Chris Sale: The White Sox southpaw continues to progress and is slated to make a start for Triple-A Charlotte on Thursday. If all goes well he could rejoin the team late next week. He has not pitched since April 17 after suffering a flexor strain in his arm.

Taijuan Walker: Walker took a positive step forward over the weekend. He completed a bullpen session that included a small mixture of pitches. Walker, who has yet to pitch this season, is slated to throw again Wednesday.