Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Oblique Strain for Scherzer

Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Oblique Strain for Scherzer

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

Max Scherzer

After sidelining players like Teoscar Hernandez and Yoan Moncada, the oblique monster has claimed another victim. The Mets ace is expected to miss substantial time after suffering a "moderate to high grade" internal oblique strain. 

The specifics provided by the Mets help add a bit of clarity to understanding the injury. As previously discussed with Hernandez, the obliques are divided into two separate groups, each located on either side of the rib cage. The external obliques are the more superficial of the pair, sitting atop the internal obliques with the fibers of the muscles running in opposite directions. This layout allows the obliques to complete trunk rotation when paired with the muscles of the opposite group on the opposite side. When a right-handed pitcher delivers a pitch, the internal obliques on his lead leg side (left side) work synergistically with the external obliques on the side of the throwing arm. Since these two muscle groups are most active during delivery, they are the most vulnerable to injury. This is exactly what happened with Scherzer. When he threw his final pitch, his left internal oblique failed, and the muscle tissue was strained. The "moderate to high grade" description means the injury is at least a partial tear of Grade 2 strain.

New York has already stated that they believe he will miss at least six-to-eight weeks. The early estimates are in line with the precedent set by players like St. Louis pitcher Jack Flaherty. Flaherty suffered a

Max Scherzer

After sidelining players like Teoscar Hernandez and Yoan Moncada, the oblique monster has claimed another victim. The Mets ace is expected to miss substantial time after suffering a "moderate to high grade" internal oblique strain. 

The specifics provided by the Mets help add a bit of clarity to understanding the injury. As previously discussed with Hernandez, the obliques are divided into two separate groups, each located on either side of the rib cage. The external obliques are the more superficial of the pair, sitting atop the internal obliques with the fibers of the muscles running in opposite directions. This layout allows the obliques to complete trunk rotation when paired with the muscles of the opposite group on the opposite side. When a right-handed pitcher delivers a pitch, the internal obliques on his lead leg side (left side) work synergistically with the external obliques on the side of the throwing arm. Since these two muscle groups are most active during delivery, they are the most vulnerable to injury. This is exactly what happened with Scherzer. When he threw his final pitch, his left internal oblique failed, and the muscle tissue was strained. The "moderate to high grade" description means the injury is at least a partial tear of Grade 2 strain.

New York has already stated that they believe he will miss at least six-to-eight weeks. The early estimates are in line with the precedent set by players like St. Louis pitcher Jack Flaherty. Flaherty suffered a moderate internal oblique strain last year and missed roughly two and half months. Scherzer has been placed on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to May 19. However, fantasy managers should anticipate him ultimately being shifted to the 60-day IL.

Tyler O'Neill

O'Neill has had a rough start to the season, hitting just .195 with two home runs. There may be a reason for the slow start as O'Neill has hit the IL with right shoulder impingement. Impingement is a term used to describe an injury that involves some sort of tissue (muscle, tendon, nerve, etc.) getting pinched in a certain area. Shoulder impingement often involves the rotator cuff tendons. The tendons of these muscles run in a narrow space known as the subacromial space. If they become inflamed, the space narrows and the problem can further irritate the muscle. Other causes of impingement in the area includes bone spurs, anatomical variations or calcification of nearby soft tissue structures.

The Cardinals medical staff is now tasked with reducing the inflammation and addressing the root of the impingement. Hopefully O'Neill's issue is a quick fix and he's back in two to three weeks. Top prospect Nolan Gorman has joined the Cardinals and is worth a waiver wire claim if possible. Gorman has gone 5-of-13 to start his career, including four runs, three walks and an RBI.

Freddy Peralta

The Brewers believe Peralta will pitch again this season but do anticipate him missing "significant" time with a posterior shoulder strain. Peralta's injury is like Scherzer's but involves a different muscle, the latissimus dorsi (lat). While the obliques sit on the anterior aspect of the core, the lats are situated on the posterior of the trunk along the thoracic region of the spine. The muscle extends up the back before inserting into a small groove in the upper arm bone known as the humerus. The lat is involved in multiple shoulder movements including extension, internal rotation and horizontal abduction. It also works with the internal oblique of the same side to assist in trunk rotation. 

Peralta could be facing a similar timeline to Scherzer with his recovery likely measured in months, not weeks. Pitchers like James Paxton, Johnny Cueto, Stephen Strasburg and Mike Montgomery have all missed major stretches of time in recent seasons recovering from lat strains. Aaron Ashby will move back into the rotation for the immediate future.   

Check Swings

Brandon BeltThe veteran infielder received a cortisone injection in his problematic right knee and reportedly had the joint drained. Belt is planning on returning to action in the minimal amount of time, but how his knee responds to treatment will better dictate his recovery timeline. The fact that the knee was drained suggests an underlying problem that will unlikely resolve itself in just 10 days. Plan on him missing at least two weeks.

Mike Clevinger: Clevinger's comeback season has been derailed by yet another injury. After undergoing Tommy John in November of 2020, the Padres right-hander has been sidelined with a right knee sprain and now a strained triceps. The triceps is particularly concerning given its proximity to the UCL. The triceps anchors to the elbow at the ulna, allowing for it to extend (straighten) the joint. Hopefully it's just a mild strain and the team can prevent it from having any sort of trickledown effect on his surgically reconstructed UCL. Nick Martinez will take Clevinger's spot in the rotation.

Wander Franco: The Rays phenom did not start either of Tampa Bay's two weekend games in Baltimore after suffering a mild quadriceps strain on Friday. He was able to pinch hit on Sunday and is hoping to return for Tuesday's series opener against the Marlins. However, this is Franco's second "mild" strain on his right lower extremity following a hamstring injury earlier in the month. While I'm not going to recommend sending Franco to the bench, I am going to consider his inherent level of injury risk elevated for the foreseeable future.

Salvador Perez: The Royals catcher is out with a left thumb sprain. Perez revealed to reporters that the involved ligament is on the inside of the joint and is a Grade 2 sprain, meaning he is managing a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) of the thumb. Surgery will not be needed, and the team is optimistic he will be back in approximately two weeks. That seems a bit optimistic considering the demands of the position, but it's nice to hear they aren't preparing for a lengthier absence. MJ Melendez will slot in at catcher for the Royals until Perez returns. Melendez has hit .258 since taking over, including two home runs and a triple. 

Tarik Skubal: In Detroit, it appears Skubal avoided a serious injury when he took a line drive off his left leg. The ball struck him in the tibia (shinbone), an area of the skeleton poorly protected due to a lack of protective tissue. Fortunately, the bone did not break, and the left-hander was diagnosed with a left shin contusion. He successfully completed a bullpen session on Monday and is slated to make his Thursday start.

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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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