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Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: On the Shelf

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.


Johan Santana

What a difference a week makes. After many thought Santana would simply miss a short period of time with a pectoral strain, it turns out he may not pitch again until next June. Santana successfully underwent surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. The anterior capsule is a structure made up of connective tissue, ligaments, and tendons that engulfs the shoulder joint. It originates from the cartilage disc known as the labrum and has attachment points on the shaft of the upper arm bone known as the humerus. The capsule secures the glenohumeral joint, the primary joint of the shoulder, and prevents instability while an individual performs explosive motions like those involved with pitching. It also helps diffuse the considerable amounts of stress put on the rotator cuff muscles. Damage to the anterior capsule can often be misdiagnosed as a pectoral strain as pain differs into the muscle and because the pectoralis minor attaches near the site of the capsule. The Mets team doctor repaired the tear arthroscopically and most likely utilized a procedure known as capsulorrhaphy. In a capsulorrhaphy, stability is regained by the insertion of a surgical anchor or through thermal capsulorrhaphy in which a thermal probe is used to “shrink” collagen fibers located in the shoulder ligaments and tendons. Both methods result in the joint capsule becomes tighter and more stable.

Santana’s 2010 season is over and his recovery window could carry over into next season as well. Generally the time frame for this type of procedure is six months to a year for pitchers. Yankees catcher Jorge Posada underwent a similar procedure in July of 2008 and was ready to return for spring training the following season. However, Santana has a much more difficult road ahead of him and this could be the beginning of the end for the veteran ace.


Scott Podsednik

The Dodgers speedster will likely miss the remainder of the year with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. The plantar aponeurosis or plantar fascia is a collection of thick fibrous connective tissue. The plantar fascia originates at the heel and runs along the foot where it divides into five individual bands. The fascia protects the bottom surface of the foot, while supporting and stabilizing the arch of the foot. When over-stretched or strained it can become inflamed resulting in plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is a painful injury for most athletes. Pain increases when tension is placed on the inflamed tissue while running and jumping. These activities become extremely difficult making optimal performance nearly impossible. For a player like Podsednik who makes a living off stealing bases, it is even worse. Pods is visiting with several specialists but the injury greatly diminishes his fantasy value for the remaining weeks of the season. Jay Gibbons will take over in the Dodgers' outfield.

Andres Torres

The Giants' outfielder underwent an emergency appendectomy on Sunday and will miss the next few weeks recovering from the procedure. Torres had been plagued with right side pain for several weeks before awaking to more severe pain on Sunday morning. Torres was taken to a nearby hospital where his vermiform appendix was removed in a laparoscopic procedure. The appendix is a tube-like structure that extends from a portion of the colon. It is believed to be a vestigial structure, meaning it no longer has a true use, but some have argued it plays a role in the digestive system. The appendix is usually not an issue unless it becomes inflamed and must be removed. Torres underwent a minimally invasive laparoscopic appendectomy that has a shorter recovery window. While the pain associated with the appendix issue may be the culprit behind Torres’ recent slump at the plate, it has forced many fantasy owners to drop the surprise fantasy producer. The time needed to recover, despite the laparoscopy, should compel those still holding on Torres to move on.

Josh Hamilton

Hamilton continues to miss time with a rib injury sustained nearly two weeks ago. The slugger recently attempted to swing a bat but the motion aggravated the bruised ribs and caused a spasm. Unfortunately, it sounds like Hamilton is stuck in the vicious pain-spasm-pain cycle. When an area is injured following trauma, pain results and muscles surrounding the area become tight and go into spasm. The spasms increase the pain resulting in more tension, which leads to more pain. The Rangers' medical staff is currently providing treatment to Hamilton in an attempt to end the cycle. Treatment has included Hamilton sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber to accelerate the healing process. However Hamilton’s availability for the MLB playoffs is not a primary focus for fantasy owners in the middle of their own personal postseason. While his numbers are impressive he cannot be counted on down the stretch and fantasy owners should at long last finally look elsewhere.

Jimmy Rollins

Rollins remains out with a right hamstring strain and like Hamilton is focused on returning for the postseason, a frustrating actuality for fantasy owners who invested a high pick in the Phillies' shortstop. Rollins has missed the past week with a strained right hamstring (confirmed by MRI) that could easily be related to a right calf strain that has bothered him at various points throughout the season. The gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, better known as the calf muscle, begin where the hamstring muscles end. The calf is primarily responsible for plantar flexing the foot (pointing your toes) at the ankle joint but also aids the hamstrings in knee flexion. An injured calf can cause the hamstrings to become overworked, making them susceptible to being strained themselves. The first calf strain held Rollins out for over a month and a recurrence of the injury cost him most of June. Given the nature of the injury and Rollins’ previous track record he is too unreliable to man shortstop for a fantasy team with championship aspirations. Wilson Valdez has taken over at shortstop, hitting .280 in nine September games.