*Diamond Cuts will not run next Tuesday as I take a much needed vacation but will return on August 5.*
The Colorado shortstop dropped a bit lower in most drafts this season, largely in part to his extensive injury history. However those that took the gamble have reaped the benefits so far this season as he has put forth one of the best fantasy lines of any player. Those same fantasy owners likely felt a twinge of fear over the weekend when Tulo exited Saturday's game with an injury. Fortunately the injury does not sound overly concerning as the final diagnosis was revealed as a tensor fasciae latae (TFL) cramp. Still, the Rockies should carefully manage this particular situation given Tulowitzki's past and the role of the affected muscle.
The TFL is a small muscle located on the outer aspect of the thigh. However despite its diminutive size, the TFL is a vital muscle in physical activity. The TFL's primary responsibilities include bending the hip (flexion) and moving the leg out away from the body (abduction). However the muscle joins with the iliotibial band, a long band of connective tissue that runs from the hip to the knee. This setup allows it to function as a knee stabilizer, primarily when the opposite leg is being moved. The TFL also helps keep one foot in front of the other while an individual is walking or running.
It the TFL becomes strained or shortened (like with a cramp) the affected player can develop an imbalance in the pelvic area. A disparity in this group could be very problematic for a player that previously missed time with an injury in the area. During the 2012 season Tulowitzki needed surgery to remove scar tissue impeding on a nerve in the area of his groin. If the balance amongst these neighboring muscles is thrown out of whack then the player in question is left vulnerable to a new and potentially worse injury.
Furthermore another injury in Tulo's past could come into play. During the 2008 season he missed time with a quadriceps strain. The quad, like the TFL, is involved in hip flexion. Again any limitation here could make him susceptible to further injury and should be addressed quickly and carefully.
Tulowitzki did not play Sunday or Monday but was optimistic he would avoid the disabled list. However it would be in the best interest of Tulowitzki and his fantasy owners if the Rockies were to treat the injury conservatively to insure his long-term health and availability - and the Rockies apparently agree, as they put him on the DL before Tuesday's game.
The Cuban All-Star has not been in the starting lineup since Saturday after getting hit by a pitch on his left hand. X-rays taken on the area did not reveal a fracture and Puig is simply left managing the associated symptoms from the injury. This marks the second time this season that Puig has suffered a left hand injury, previously missing time with a left thumb contusion sustained while sliding head-first into a base. Multiple hand injuries could have a negative impact on Puig's grip strength causing a dip in power. Fortunately the Dodgers did say Puig was available to pinch hit Monday despite the fact that he never entered the game. Look for him to miss an additional game or two and scale back your expectations for the immediate future, at least until Puig can prove the multiple injuries are not hurting his ability to grip a bat.
Matt Cain: Cain's rough season just got worse as the Giants right-hander heads to the DL with elbow inflammation. A MRI revealed no structural damage but Cain has a history of bone spurs in the joint and that could easily be the root of the problem. More information is bound to surface over the next few days but fantasy owners should begin making the necessary steps to fill Cain's roster spot for the foreseeable future.
Joel Peralta: In one of the more peculiar injury stories of the season, the Tampa Bay reliever believes he contracted the chikungunya virus during a trip home to the Dominican Republic during the All-Star break. The virus is spread through mosquitos and causes the infected individual to experience joint pain and other arthritis-like symptoms. The diagnosis has not been confirmed but if Peralta does indeed have chikungunya then he will likely be sidelined for a significant period of time.
Cliff Lee: The former Cy Young winner showed signs of major rust in his return from the DL on Monday, surrendering six runs on 12 hits. Lee also struggled in his rehab appearances and may need additional time to get back into his normal routine. However his track record is just too good to consider benching him and fantasy owners will simply have to remain patient.
Justin Morneau: In addition to Tulowitzki, the Rockies are also dealing with an injury to their hard-hitting first baseman. Moreneau was placed on the DL Monday with a neck strain but could be in line for a quick return. He hasn't played since July 13, meaning he could be back within the next week. Consider him day-to-day and hope this is only a minor setback in what has been a very productive season.
Alex Rios: The outfielder became the latest Ranger to suffer an injury as he suffered a right ankle sprain Saturday. He was held out Sunday and is expected to be sidelined through Wednesday. A DL stint seems possible though Texas may be motivated to showcase Rios for potential trade suitors.
Mark Teixeira: The Yankees slugger is suffering from a lower latissimus dorsi strain that will keep him out of the lineup for the next few days. The lat runs from the neck to the lower back and is invovlved in a majority of baseball-related motions, including rotation while batting and throwing. The team is downplaying the severity of the injury and do not believe a trip to the DL will be necessary. However Teixeira's recently described experiencing spasms throughout the muscle and he was slated to receive a platelet-rich plasma injection sometime on Monday. If a PRP injection is indeed utilized than it seems more than likely that he would miss more than a few days.