Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: End of the Road?

Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: End of the Road?

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

A.J. Burnett
The Pirates veteran suffered through a rough outing Thursday, surrendering seven earned runs over 4.1 innings. The 38-year-old right-hander displayed diminished velocity leaving him searching for answers after the game. The answer came quickly as Burnett was placed on the 15-day disabled list the following day with right elbow inflammation and is set to meet with team physicians Monday. Unfortunately, listening to Burnett talk, it sounds like he fears the worst and could be lost for the remainder of the season. Burnett was considering retirement prior to the start of the year and this injury has the potential to be career-ending. Burnett has put together an impressive resume during his 16-year career, including a World Series championship in 2009 and a no-hitter in 2001. Fantasy owners should take the proactive approach and grab a replacement now, even before the test results are revealed.

C.J. Wilson
Wilson is another veteran pitcher facing a season-ending injury. The Angels left-hander is expected to undergo surgery to remove bone spurs in his left elbow after the resulting pain become too much to pitch through. While some teammates are reportedly skeptical of the severity of Wilson's injury, his track record does suggest his condition is legit. Wilson underwent Tommy John surgery in 2003 and has needed two subsequent elbow debridements since then, most recently following the 2012 season.

Bone spurs, or osteophytes, like this are often connected to the way in which a pitcher throws. When a pitch is delivered, the elbow is

A.J. Burnett
The Pirates veteran suffered through a rough outing Thursday, surrendering seven earned runs over 4.1 innings. The 38-year-old right-hander displayed diminished velocity leaving him searching for answers after the game. The answer came quickly as Burnett was placed on the 15-day disabled list the following day with right elbow inflammation and is set to meet with team physicians Monday. Unfortunately, listening to Burnett talk, it sounds like he fears the worst and could be lost for the remainder of the season. Burnett was considering retirement prior to the start of the year and this injury has the potential to be career-ending. Burnett has put together an impressive resume during his 16-year career, including a World Series championship in 2009 and a no-hitter in 2001. Fantasy owners should take the proactive approach and grab a replacement now, even before the test results are revealed.

C.J. Wilson
Wilson is another veteran pitcher facing a season-ending injury. The Angels left-hander is expected to undergo surgery to remove bone spurs in his left elbow after the resulting pain become too much to pitch through. While some teammates are reportedly skeptical of the severity of Wilson's injury, his track record does suggest his condition is legit. Wilson underwent Tommy John surgery in 2003 and has needed two subsequent elbow debridements since then, most recently following the 2012 season.

Bone spurs, or osteophytes, like this are often connected to the way in which a pitcher throws. When a pitch is delivered, the elbow is stressed and, if cartilage has eroded over time, bone grinds on bone. As a result, new bone tissue is laid down and an osteophyte develops. The new bone tissue then acts similarly to a doorstop, limiting range of motion and irritating the neighboring soft tissue. Pitchers can pitch with the injury but surgical excision is the easiest way to address the problem. If alterations to the individual's delivery are left unchanged, the osteophyte will simply reform over time. Wilson seems content to go under the knife and fantasy owners should be equally content to cut him free.

Mookie Betts
The Red Sox outfielder is progressing through the MLB concussion protocol after suffering a head injury Tuesday night. Betts is reportedly symptom-free at rest and was slated to undergo exertional testing Sunday, including treadmill running and work on a stationary bike. If he remains symptom-free following the testing, Betts must then pass a neurocognitive test AND receive clearance from a club physician. If he begins to exhibit any symptoms, such as headaches or nausea, at any point of the protocol, his progress stalls and he must try again. Betts will not play in the team's three-game series against the Yankees but is hoping to rejoin the Sox in Detroit on Friday.

Corey Dickerson
Dickerson's disappointing 2015 campaign continued over the weekend when the left fielder suffered non-displaced fractures to two ribs while diving to make a catch last Thursday. The Rockies placed Dickerson on the DL for the third time this season and called up 2010 first-round pick Kyle Parker from Triple-A Albuquerque. Given the precedent of recent rib fractures, expect Dickerson to be sidelined until late August or early September. Even then, the team may opt to chalk this up as a lost season and give Dickerson additional time to let his ribs heal and his reoccurring plantar fasciitis to settle down. Simply put, Dickerson has been too unreliable so far this season to trust down the stretch.

Check Swings

Kris Bryant
The Cubs rookie took an early exit from Sunday's game after a hard slide into second base. He collided with Brewers shortstop Jean Segura and was struck in the head. The Cubs medical team removed him from the game after Bryant reported feeling dizzy. Chicago manager Joe Maddon said he had improved by the end of the game. The move may be labeled as precautionary but expect Bryant to receive a full concussion evaluation. The team doesn't have the benefit of an off-day Monday, so keep your eyes peeled for an update later in the day about Bryant's status.

Jason Kipnis
The Indians are mulling over whether or not to send Kipnis to the DL as soreness in his right shoulder persists. The team initially downplayed the severity of the injury but a MRI on Sunday appears to have changed their minds. The team's medical staff will review the findings and a decision should be made soon. It's hard to break down an injury without knowing an actual diagnosis but it seems like Kipnis will miss at least a few games. Like with Burnett, a proactive approach is the best approach and having a healthy second baseman available is highly recommended.

Joe Panik
The All-Star second baseman yo-yoed in-and-out of the lineup all week with reoccurring back stiffness. He sat in back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday and then again in Sunday's loss to the Rangers. Back injuries can be very difficult to manage as the affected individual gets stuck in the painful pain-spasm cycle. When a back injury occurs, whether it is to muscle or not, pain is elicited. Pain leads to an increase in tension in the surrounding musculature, and this resulting tension leads to spasm. Spasms increase pain, which increases tension, which leads to more pain. It's a vicious cycle that will continue until the root of the problem is treated. I expect the issue to linger into next week.

Josh Reddick
The Oakland outfielder is also dealing with back tightness and is expected to miss Monday's game against the Orioles. He's hoping the issue will resolve by Tuesday but it sounds like that's far from a guarantee. The same approach discussed with Panik applies here and rolling with another option, especially in weekly leagues, is likely the safe play.

Steven Souza
The Rays will be without Souza for at least four weeks after an X-ray revealed a fracture in his left hand. The injury occurred Saturday when Souza was struck by a pitch from Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly. As for now, surgery does not appear to be necessary, though it wouldn't drastically alter his recovery timeline.

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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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