Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Dodgers Pitching Takes Hit

Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Dodgers Pitching Takes Hit

This article is part of our Fantasy Baseball Injury Report series.

Los Angeles Dodgers Pitchers

The starting rotation for the Dodgers took a big hit last week as two starters suffered injuries that are serious enough to warrant injured list designations.

Dustin May went down first, suffering a right flexor pronator strain. Injuries here are a bit more complex than a simple, isolated strain. To start, the flexor pronator is not a single muscle but a muscle complex made up of four different muscles. Collectively the flexor pronator bundle performs multiple movements at the elbow and wrist, while also acting as a dynamic stabilizer for the medial (inside) area of the elbow. Furthermore, the flexor pronator unit anchors at the same attachment point as the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of the elbow. As a result, the UCL and the flexor pronator are inherently linked and work synergistically to divert stress on and through the medial elbow. The two have an inverse relationship, meaning if one of the structures is weakened, say as the result of an injury, the other assumes the excess strain. As a result, the "healthy" tissue becomes overloaded and vulnerable to injury.

For May, who underwent Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL in 2021, it is important for his long-term health to ensure the flexor pronator is healthy and at full strength. He is undergoing platelet-rich plasma injections to help facilitate the healing process but is expected to miss at least one month. Given his injury history, those invested should anticipate his absence extending beyond that

Los Angeles Dodgers Pitchers

The starting rotation for the Dodgers took a big hit last week as two starters suffered injuries that are serious enough to warrant injured list designations.

Dustin May went down first, suffering a right flexor pronator strain. Injuries here are a bit more complex than a simple, isolated strain. To start, the flexor pronator is not a single muscle but a muscle complex made up of four different muscles. Collectively the flexor pronator bundle performs multiple movements at the elbow and wrist, while also acting as a dynamic stabilizer for the medial (inside) area of the elbow. Furthermore, the flexor pronator unit anchors at the same attachment point as the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of the elbow. As a result, the UCL and the flexor pronator are inherently linked and work synergistically to divert stress on and through the medial elbow. The two have an inverse relationship, meaning if one of the structures is weakened, say as the result of an injury, the other assumes the excess strain. As a result, the "healthy" tissue becomes overloaded and vulnerable to injury.

For May, who underwent Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL in 2021, it is important for his long-term health to ensure the flexor pronator is healthy and at full strength. He is undergoing platelet-rich plasma injections to help facilitate the healing process but is expected to miss at least one month. Given his injury history, those invested should anticipate his absence extending beyond that early estimate and it wouldn't be surprising if he is done for the season. Look for this situation to remain fluid. 

The rotation took another hit over the weekend when Julio Urias suffered a hamstring strain in his left leg. Hamstring strains are more common in positional players but can be impactful for pitchers.

Like the flexor pronator, the hamstring is a muscle complex. Urias strained his left leg, meaning his drive leg has been compromised. While most strains for pitchers involved the landing leg, the muscle activity is often greater in the drive leg. As a result, it is important for Urias' delivery that he too return only when at full strength. Look for his absence to also extend beyond the minimal amount of time.

The Dodgers are dipping into their talent pool to plug the holes left by Urias and May. Top prospects Gavin Stone and Bobby Miller are slated to join the rotation, starting Monday and Tuesday respectively. Both are enticing waiver wire additions, but patience may be needed as they adjust to life in the big leagues.

Manny Machado

The Padres third baseman will miss time after a stray pitch left him with a broken hand. Machado suffered a fracture of his third metacarpal, one of the five bones that form the bulk of the hand, bridging the carpal bones of the wrist and the long bones of the fingers. The distal ends of these long bones form the knuckles of the hand, making them vulnerable to fractures, especially following a direct blow. For this reason, metacarpal fractures are often referred to as a Boxer's fracture.

Recovery time following a metacarpal fracture is dependent on multiple factors, including the specific bone broken and the nature of the break. It sounds like Machado received good news on both fronts.

First, the third metacarpal is the bone located below the middle finger. Fractures here are often easier to manage as they are anchored to the bones of the wrist and as a result are largely immobile. 

Secondly, it sounds like Machado's fracture is nondisplaced, meaning the fragmented pieces of bone remain aligned. These types of breaks are often treated conservatively (non-operatively), reducing the recovery time.

Time remains the best course of treatment, though a return when first eligible is possible. Even if he does miss additional time, a return by mid-June seems likely.

Check Swings

Cody Bellinger: The Cubs placed Bellinger on the IL Friday with a left knee contusion. The injury occurred Monday, forcing him out of the next three games. After the injury did not improve as quickly as the team would have liked, the decision was made to place him on the IL. It is likely he is dealing with a bone contusion, an injury that can be slow to heal based on the normal biomechanics of the knee. He could easily be back when first eligible, but a return early next week is more realistic.

Mike Clevinger: The White Sox placed Clevinger on the IL with right wrist inflammation. It is unclear as to what is causing the inflammation, making predicting a timeline problematic. Hopefully, it is something mild and Clevinger can resume throwing after a bit of extended rest.

Jacob deGrom: The Rangers biggest offseason acquisition continues to progress through rehab for elbow inflammation. He threw multiple bullpen sessions last week and was slated to throw another on Monday. Texas seems pleased by his improvement, with deGrom telling reporters he felt like he turned a corner in recovery. He will remain a high-risk, high-reward option when he inevitably returns.

Nick LodoloLast week I discussed Lodolo's calf tendinosis diagnosis. Less than a week later the diagnosis has changed, as further testing revealed a bone injury, not a muscle-related problem. It has since been determined that Lodolo has a stress reaction in his left tibia. Stress reactions are often the result of the body's inability to keep up with the stresses placed on and through the skeleton with high-energy or repetitive activities. If left untreated, a stress reaction can develop into a true stress fracture. The Reds have placed Lodolo in a protective walking boot to reduce the amount of weight placed on the area. The new diagnosis is easier to manage but won't drastically alter his recovery window. Time is still needed to allow the injury to heal, and the Reds medical staff will need to pinpoint why the injury developed in the first place.

Logan Webb: The Giants right-hander reported lingering soreness in his back after tightness in the area forced him to make an early exit in Saturday's start. The team has yet to send Webb for imaging, though I bet an MRI is on the horizon after the issue persisted. Based on the reported symptoms, it seems likely he is dealing with a lower back strain. Keep an eye out for a more concrete diagnosis over the next few days.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
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