Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Early Season Injuries

Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Early Season Injuries

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

Koji Uehara
The Red Sox will open the season with Edward Mujica as their closer, with Uehara continuing to battle hamstring problems. While not as significant as an upper extremity injury, lower leg problems can be very limiting for a pitcher and dramatically alter their delivery.
 
The motion of a pitch is divided into five stages: windup, early cocking, late cocking, acceleration, and follow-through. The windup and early-cocking phases allow for the build up of the energy that is violently released during the late-cocking and acceleration phases.

Uehara suffered a strained right hamstring, meaning his plant or stance leg is the affected extremity. This is actually a little bit of a win as the lead leg is vital in maximizing velocity and serves as a lever arm for the high amounts of force generated to deliver the pitch. However, the stance leg remains important especially in the early windup and cocking phases.

During the windup, the pitcher's center of gravity is positioned over his stance leg. This allows the individual to achieve the maximum amount of momentum once the delivery has begun. As the pitcher begins his stride, the hamstrings work to extend the hip which initiates the transfer of energy from the lower half of the body through the pelvis, torso, and ultimately the arm. Any weakness or limitation of the hamstring at the point can effect velocity and force the shoulder musculature to do more work. This disrupts the kinetic chain and leaves the pitcher susceptible to

Koji Uehara
The Red Sox will open the season with Edward Mujica as their closer, with Uehara continuing to battle hamstring problems. While not as significant as an upper extremity injury, lower leg problems can be very limiting for a pitcher and dramatically alter their delivery.
 
The motion of a pitch is divided into five stages: windup, early cocking, late cocking, acceleration, and follow-through. The windup and early-cocking phases allow for the build up of the energy that is violently released during the late-cocking and acceleration phases.

Uehara suffered a strained right hamstring, meaning his plant or stance leg is the affected extremity. This is actually a little bit of a win as the lead leg is vital in maximizing velocity and serves as a lever arm for the high amounts of force generated to deliver the pitch. However, the stance leg remains important especially in the early windup and cocking phases.

During the windup, the pitcher's center of gravity is positioned over his stance leg. This allows the individual to achieve the maximum amount of momentum once the delivery has begun. As the pitcher begins his stride, the hamstrings work to extend the hip which initiates the transfer of energy from the lower half of the body through the pelvis, torso, and ultimately the arm. Any weakness or limitation of the hamstring at the point can effect velocity and force the shoulder musculature to do more work. This disrupts the kinetic chain and leaves the pitcher susceptible to serious injury.

Uehara continues to battle soreness in the area and appears the injury will cost him some time to start the season. As a result, Mujica becomes a sneaky source of early-season saves. Uehara could return to form down the road but it obviously lowers his stock in remaining drafts.

Justin Verlander
The 2011 American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner is hoping to rebound from an injury-plagued 2014 season. He appeared to be on the right track early on, showing signs of control and a return in velocity. However, he was forced from his most recent start after experiencing a cramp in his right triceps, an injury that could be more problematic than it sounds.

Cramps are common in all sports, especially with fatigue and dehydration. NBA superstar LeBron James infamously experienced cramping in his lower legs during Game 1 of the 2014 NBA Finals after a power failure left the AT&T Center without air conditioning. However, sometimes when a cramp is reported it is really more than that. Sometimes the injury is actually a strain caused by a overstretching or the cramping itself. The difference is a strain leaves the fibers or microfibers damaged and the body's natural defense mechanisms will need to be allotted time to repair the damage. Even the mildest of strains require time. Tigers manager Brad Ausmus alluded to the fact that Verlander's injury could in fact be a mild strain and not just an episode of cramping. The fact that Verlander has already been scratched from his next spring start is a good indicator that there's more to the situation than initially believed.

The triceps is a crucial muscle in a pitcher's throwing mechanics, affecting both the shoulder and elbow. Any limitation in the area would negatively alter the distribution of forces in his arm and increase his odds of a more significant injury elsewhere.

As a result, a trip to the disabled list remains a real possibility. However, the move could be backdated and Verlander's absence from the rotation would be brief. Fantasy owners shouldn't be frustrated, as a skipped start to begin the year could allow the Detroit right-hander to avoid a lengthy stint on the DL. Downgrade Verlander a bit and keep an eye for any noted progress.

Check Swings

Miguel Cabrera
With Verlander already limited, the Tigers can ill afford to play without their top offensive weapon. However, Ausmus has yet to confirm Cabrera's availability for Opening Day though they are optimistic about the former Triple Crown winner's chances. Cabrera has received limited reps after offseason surgery to address a stress fracture in his navicular bone. Given the fact that Miggy just returned to the field, it's hard to imagine he will be 100 percent out of the gate. However, if he can work his way into shape and minimize the stress placed on the surgically repaired foot, fantasy owners drafting in the late first round could have a valuable piece fall into their laps.

Jacoby Ellsbury
The speedy outfielder is working his way back into form after suffering a mild oblique strain. He is confident he will be fine by Opening Day and history certainly suggests he will be with limited preseason reps. However, this remains a situation in which early restraint could prove valuable down the stretch.

Carlos Gonzalez
CarGo appears to have avoided a new injury with his surgically repaired left knee though the reported soreness and fatigue isn't particularly reassuring. Health has been Gonzalez's biggest limiting factor and it seems likely he will receive regular rest throughout the early stages of the season.

Devin Mesoraco
The Reds' catcher has had a rough spring thus far. After sustaining his third concussion since 2010 earlier in the month, Mesoraco was forced out of a recent spring training game with cramping in his left quadriceps and hamstrings. It seems likely that the incident is no big deal but is worth mentioning given his position. A healthy quad is necessary for someone expected to sit in a squatted position for an extended period of time. There's plenty of upside here but the number of potential red flags is growing.

Josh Reddick
The Athletics' outfielder is making progress in his return from an oblique strain. He played five innings in a minor league game over the weekend and showed no lingering symptoms of the injury while performing rotational activities. He remains unlikely to play on Opening Day and will start the season on an injury rehab assignment. However, he hopes to be back for Oakland's second series of the season, a home matchup against Seattle.

Want to Read More?
Subscribe to RotoWire to see the full article.

We reserve some of our best content for our paid subscribers. Plus, if you choose to subscribe you can discuss this article with the author and the rest of the RotoWire community.

Get Instant Access To This Article Get Access To This Article
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only MLB Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire MLB fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
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.
College Baseball Best Bets for Sunday, March 3
College Baseball Best Bets for Sunday, March 3
College Baseball Betting: Expert Picks for Saturday, March 2
College Baseball Betting: Expert Picks for Saturday, March 2
Spring Training Job Battles: NL Central
Spring Training Job Battles: NL Central
College Baseball Picks Today: Best Bets for Friday, March 1
College Baseball Picks Today: Best Bets for Friday, March 1