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Diamond Cuts: Three Injured Indians

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.

Carlos Santana, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Travis Hafner

The Indians offense is dealing with a handful of injuries that have left their lineup severely lacking. The problems start behind the plate as Santana has been placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list. The catcher took a foul ball off the mask Friday and became the first player in franchise history to be placed on the 7-day DL Saturday. The team is calling the concussion mild and do not anticipate Santana to be out longer than the minimum amount of time. However it's worth nothing that the effects of a concussion are cumulative. After an individual has suffered one concussion, the symptoms of any subsequent head injuries carry over and often worsen. There may not be any early signs that Santana will miss more than a week but concussions can be unpredictable so pay attention to his status as the week progresses.

Cabrera's timetable isn't as clear as the shortstop remains day-to-day with tightness in his left hamstring. He initially injured the muscle while making a play in the field on Friday and was a spectator for Saturday's loss to the White Sox. Hamstring injuries are always worrisome but particularly problematic for shortstops. To properly man the position, the player must be able to quickly start and stop while running and throwing across the field. Though the team has yet to call it a strain, there is a laundry list of shortstops to struggle with chronic and nagging hamstring injuries including Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez. It's extremely important he isn't rushed back. Fantasy owners should also tread carefully moving forward and begin looking for a suitable backup.

Joining his teammates in the athletic training room is Hafner. A knee injury has kept him sidelined for three straight games and a MRI taken Thursday revealed an irritation of the meniscus. The injury is being treated with anti-inflammatory medication and the Indians will have Pronk test it out on Monday to see if a trip to the DL is warranted. Hafner's role as designated hitter should help the situation since he will be able to limit the stress placed on the joint. However, fantasy owners required to set their lineups on Monday should play it safe until it's clear that the veteran is out of the woods.

Cameron Maybin

The Padres speedy outfielder is likely to miss a couple games nursing a sore right wrist. X-rays taken on the area did not reveal anything significant and the team is calling the injury a sprained wrist. It's an odd diagnosis to make with just an x-ray. X-rays are utilized to image bone tissue; meaning Maybin's test results did not reveal a break in the bone. The team is likely calling the injury a sprain by default, since it's not possible for the x-ray results to show the integrity of the ligaments. Furthermore it's been alluded to that the source of the problem is overuse, suggesting a strain of the muscle could also be playing a factor. The Padres plan to aggressively treat the area and give Maybin as much time as needed. I'd anticipate a MRI is in Maybin's future if the problem doesn't clear up in the next few days.

Emilio Bonifacio

Another speedster sidelined by injury is Miami's Bonifacio. The league leader in stolen bases is expected to miss four-to-six weeks after needing surgery on his injured left thumb. A MRI taken revealed an avulsion fracture, meaning the ligament involved tore away a small piece of bone at its attachment site. Surgery will anchor the effected area down, preventing in future complications. An injury of this magnitude will directly affect his grip and will be the primary focus of rehab once he is able to begin treatment. Philadelphia second basemen Chase Utley suffered a similar injury in 2010 and returned after six weeks, despite an initial timeline of eight weeks. Bonifacio owners should target the latter portion of the team-established window of recovery.

The injury also serves as a reminder of the dangers of sliding headfirst. Besides the potential for head injuries, the fingers and thumbs are particularly vulnerable when a player dives with his arms extended toward the bag. As in the case of Bonifacio, the thumb often gets hung up on the bag as the player slides through the base, resulting in ligament sprains, most commonly to the ulnar collateral ligament. Players such as the previously mentioned Utley, Ian Kinsler, and Jason Heyward have all missed time with thumb injuries sustained during a headfirst slide.

Fortunately there are steps the runner can take to decrease the likelihood of a thumb injury from occurring. Some players will grip batting gloves in their hands so that their hands remain in fists, even when sliding. Philadelphia outfielder and notable base thief Juan Pierre is the best example of this strategy. Pierre, the active leaded in career stolen bases, would occasionally keep an additional pair of batting gloves handy so that he could keep his original pair on while clutching another. Unfortunately far too few players utilize this simple approach, making thumb sprains a common issue.

Neftali Feliz

The Rangers made their first DL assignment of the season, placing their converted closer on the 15-day DL with an elbow strain. Unfortunately the 15 days is a drastic understatement, as the team will not allow Feliz to touch a baseball for at least four weeks. Despite a dominant two years stint as the club's closer, Feliz has always aspired to join the starting rotation. His plans last season were derailed by shoulder inflammation and now it appears the flexor strain will do the same. It's not surprising to see the Rangers take the conservative approach with the young pitcher. The flexor bundle of the elbow attaches in close proximity to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), the ligament repaired in Tommy John surgery. It's safe to guess a return before the All-Star break would be optimistic and Feliz's role upon his return remains unknown. Scott Feldman has taken Feliz's spot in the rotation, but the team will give serious thought into signing veteran Roy Oswalt after Feldman struggled in his first outing.