Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Time Before Opening Day

Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Time Before Opening Day

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

Anthony Rendon
The Nationals' second baseman is currently managing a mild knee sprain suffered while attempting a diving stop. The official diagnosis was a Grade I medial collateral ligament (MCL) in is left knee. Ligament sprains are graded on the severity of the involved damage. A Grade I sprain is considered minor, with damage isolated to overstretching or tearing of the microfibers that comprise the ligament tissue. A Grade II sprain is considered a partial tear and, as its name suggests, involves tearing of the actual fibers of the ligament. A Grade III or higher is usually indicative of a total tear or rupture with surgical intervention often necessary. Fortunately, Rendon's sprain is mild and the MCL is capable of healing on its own.

The MCL is vital in maintaining knee stability during lateral or side-to-side movement. Ensuring the ligament is fully healed is critical for a second baseman that performs a large number of lateral movements, particularly in the field. Rendon will continue to miss time and it wouldn't be surprising if the Nationals handle his recovery extremely conservatively. If the season had already begun, a trip to the 15-day disabled list would be likely, but the timing of the injury should still allow for Rendon to be available by Opening Day.

Devin Mesoraco
The Reds' emerging catcher was back in the lineup Monday after missing time with a concussion, the third reported concussion for Mesoraco during his professional career, which raises his inherent risk moving forward.

Concussions are

Anthony Rendon
The Nationals' second baseman is currently managing a mild knee sprain suffered while attempting a diving stop. The official diagnosis was a Grade I medial collateral ligament (MCL) in is left knee. Ligament sprains are graded on the severity of the involved damage. A Grade I sprain is considered minor, with damage isolated to overstretching or tearing of the microfibers that comprise the ligament tissue. A Grade II sprain is considered a partial tear and, as its name suggests, involves tearing of the actual fibers of the ligament. A Grade III or higher is usually indicative of a total tear or rupture with surgical intervention often necessary. Fortunately, Rendon's sprain is mild and the MCL is capable of healing on its own.

The MCL is vital in maintaining knee stability during lateral or side-to-side movement. Ensuring the ligament is fully healed is critical for a second baseman that performs a large number of lateral movements, particularly in the field. Rendon will continue to miss time and it wouldn't be surprising if the Nationals handle his recovery extremely conservatively. If the season had already begun, a trip to the 15-day disabled list would be likely, but the timing of the injury should still allow for Rendon to be available by Opening Day.

Devin Mesoraco
The Reds' emerging catcher was back in the lineup Monday after missing time with a concussion, the third reported concussion for Mesoraco during his professional career, which raises his inherent risk moving forward.

Concussions are serious injuries and should never be labeled "minor." While many people believe having previously suffered a concussion makes an individual more susceptible to a subsequent concussion, that's not really what is happening. The effects of a concussion are cumulative, meaning the damage and the symptoms of each successive concussion build on one another. The more serious the damage, the more likely an individual will miss a prolonged period of time. For Mesoraco, each head injury moving forward is likely to last longer and come accompanied with more significant symptoms.

If that bit of elevated risk wasn't enough, Mesoraco plays a position prone to concussions. The concussion rate for catchers is higher than any one position, with notable names including Salvador Perez, Alex Avila, Joe Mauer and Buster Posey all missing time with the injury. The seven-day concussion DL has been utilized for catchers almost twice as much as any other position.

While there is no certainty that Mesoraco will suffer another concussion this year or beyond, it is a factor fantasy owners have to account for when drafting a position that is shallow in talent. Weigh all your options before investing heavily in a catcher with an already lengthy history of concussions.

Chris Sale
The White Sox's ace is already throwing off a mound as his rehab and recovery for a fractured foot continues. Sale suffered a sprained right ankle and an avulsion fracture of his fifth metatarsal. The two injuries often go hand-in-hand, as forced inversion of the ankle overstretches the lateral ligaments and causes the peroneal muscles to violently attempt to withstand the force. The reaction causes a small piece of the fifth metatarsal to tear away from the bone. The strength of one of the other ligaments in the area may also contribute to the fracture. The injury is different than the more problematic Jones fracture, and Sale was able to avoid surgery. He remains likely to miss Opening Day, though he could return after a one-start absence.

Check Swings

Miguel Cabrera
While all reports on Cabrera's progress from offseason foot surgery have been positive, he has yet to make his spring debut. The window of opportunity is slowly closing, though the Tigers have yet to suggest opening the season on the DL is a possibility. He's no longer a top overall pick but Cabrera could be had at a discounted rate as questions about his health linger.

Edwin Encarnacion
The Toronto slugger is expected to resume hitting Tuesday after missing the last week with a sore back. The official reason for the soreness was never revealed, though it sounds like it was muscular in nature. Encarnacion should be fine as long as the root of the problem has improved and not just the symptoms.

Alex Gordon
His recovery from offseason wrist surgery continues to move surprisingly slow, as the Royals' outfielder isn't expected to play in Cactus League games for several more days. Downgrade Gordon for the immediate future, as the odds of him missing the start of the regular season are suddenly growing.

Drew Smyly
The newly-acquired left-hander is likely to miss his first start as he continues to deal with tendinitis in his throwing shoulder. Smyly doesn't have a lengthy history of shoulder problems, and his age and relatively-low workload should help him make a quick recovery.

Glen Perkins
A strained oblique has thrown off Perkins' spring schedule but the injury is mild enough that he should be able to return to throwing within the next week. He remains in line to be the Twins' closer if he can prove the injury is in fact behind him. Even better, his forearm issue from last season appears to be a thing of the past.

Stephen Strasburg
Given his tumultuous injury history, fantasy owners had to be alarmed to see Strasburg listed on Washington's recent injury report. Fortunately, the injury is minor and does not involve his throwing shoulder or arm. The right-handed ace is dealing with an ingrown toenail that prevented him from throwing last week. Ingrown toenails are more of an inconvenience than anything but they can be painful and, as was the case here, require surgery to remove. This shouldn't affect his overall value and Strasburg should be back shortly.

Zack Wheeler
After losing Matt Harvey to Tommy John surgery a season ago, the Mets will now be without Wheeler for the year for the same problem. A recent MRI revealed the torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) and the right-hander is expected to undergo surgery in the near future. The Mets will first look to Dillon Gee and Rafael Montero to replace Wheeler in the rotation before considering prospects Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz.

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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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