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Diamond Cuts: Taking the Conservative Approach

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.

Matt Kemp

The panic meter in the fantasy realm quick escalates when an elite talent like Kemp is placed on the disabled list. However, given the information available, it appears the injury isn't serious and the Dodgers are playing it safe while protecting the outfielder from himself. Kemp had earlier told reporters he wasn't going to need a DL-stint but after a MRI revealed a low-grade strain in his bothersome left hamstring, the Dodgers moved quickly placing him on the 15-day DL. Kemp has battled the issue since May 5 and has struggled since going 4-for-20 with just one extra base hit. He's also appeared limited in the field, a big issue for a center fielder.

As previously mentioned Los Angeles is taking the conservative approach, sacrificing two weeks now to insure his availability for the long term. Hamstring issues can be extremely nagging if not dealt with early on and LA will not allow him back on the field before they feel he is 100 percent. Fortunately Kemp has a solid track record, having played in 399 consecutive games before Monday, and should bounce back quickly from this likely Grade I strain. Expect him to return by the end of the month, just in time for a home series against the Brewers.

Carlos Beltran

The man leading Kemp in the National League home run race is dealing with an injury of his own as inflammation in his right knee has prevented Beltran from building on his league-high 13 homers. Beltran was limited to pinch-hitting duties for four straight games but a MRI taken did not reveal any serious issues. He returned to the lineup on Friday and again on Saturday.

However Beltran is not out of the woods just yet. The Cardinals did mention Beltran is also dealing with a problem in his right foot. A foot issue may not seem like much to some but the potential issues are deeper than that. Keep in mind the right knee is the same knee that has given him problems for the past two years and needed microfracture surgery in 2010. If his right foot is hurting him it could directly affect the problematic knee.

To understand how, let's take a look using a method of evaluation known as the kinetic chain model. This model visualizes each joint in an extremity as an interconnected chain. If one joint, or one link in the kinetic chain, is injured or imbalanced, the entire chain is weakened and other injuries can develop as the body adjusts for the weak link. For Beltran, a foot issue on his right leg could hamper an already balky knee joint. While he has been great so far this season, the foot problems and inflammation in his knee does nothing but raise Beltran's already high level of risk. Now may be the time to sell high on the outfielder before something serious occurs.

Michael Morse

Morse is making progress in his rehab for a latissimus dorsi muscle and could make an early return. Out since spring training, Morse will begin a rehab assignment in Florida on Monday and is now targeting a June 1 return. Even if he does need extra time and sticks with his initial June 8 target, he will be able to take advantage of Washington's schedule and ease back into things. June 8 marks the beginning of a six-game Interleague road trip. Since the Nats would be on the road, Morse could play DH and limit the amount of stress placed on the affected muscle. Remember throwing was his major problem, not hitting. Either way it looks like Morse is nearing a return and could still provide fantasy owners a nice boost.

Geovany Soto

The Cubs will be without Soto for an extended period of time after the catcher underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee to repair a partially torn meniscus.

The fibrocartilage menisci serve as both shock absorbers and stabilizers of the knees. They are situated on the articulating surface of the tibia and making them highly prone to injury. When the knee is violently twisted, the menisci are easily pinched between bony protuberances of the femur and can tear. Chronic tears can also develop with repetitive motion and it's not surprising to see a catcher with meniscus problems. The constant squatting required to man home plate takes a toll on the knees, which is one reason why veteran catchers are often shifted to another position later in their careers. The Cubs are estimating Soto will miss three to four weeks but I wouldn't be shocked to see him out longer.

David Robertson

The Yankees first replacement for their legendary closer Mariano Rivera lasted eight days after Robertson suffered a left oblique strain. The reliever has been placed on the 15-day DL but is poised to be sidelined longer than the allotted time. The Yankees plan on completely shutting him down for seven to 10 days before beginning the next phase of his rehabilitation. That plan is likely to take longer than five days and I wouldn't count on Robertson being available until mid-June. Rafael Soriano has taken over, collecting a pair of saves.

Jeff Niemann

Niemann is expected to miss four-to-six weeks after suffering a broken leg earlier in the week. Niemann was struck by a comebacker on the outside portion of his right lower leg. The ball appeared to hit him in his lateral malleous, the big bony prominence on the outside of the foot. The lateral malleous is part of the fibula and serves as an attachment site for multiple ligaments of the ankle. The area is surrounded by virtually no fat or muscle, leaving it extremely vulnerable to injury. The bone will need ample time to heal and since the injury occurred to Niemann's plant leg this may take a bit longer. The plant leg bears a high degree of weight during pitching and is important in transferring the shifting weight of the pitcher. The bone will need to be healthy and up to the task in order for Niemann to be effective so I'd anticipate his return to be closer to the end of the predicted recovery window.

Kerry Wood

A quick tip of the cap to the now-retired Cubs pitcher. Injuries will always be a part of sports and athletes able to fight through multiple injuries and still manage to have successful careers will always have my respect. Wood was no exception as he battled back from injury countless times, including Tommy John in 1999, a partially torn rotator cuff in 2006, and a significant lat strain in 2010. Through it all he managed to amass 86 wins, 63 saves, and 1,582 career strikeout, including a league-best 266 in the 2003 season.