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Diamond Cuts: Carpenter Progressing

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.

Troy Tulowitzki

After visiting a specialist to determine if surgery to repair a sports hernia was warranted, Tulowitzki ended up going under the knife but not for what we expected. As I mentioned last week, the Rockies shortstop was in fact suffering from a condition known as athletic pubalgia. Unfortunately like the term "shin splints", athletic pubalgia can be used as a catchall term with multiple injuries falling under its umbrella.

Tulowitzki's injury has been dubbed baseball pitcher/hockey goalie syndrome, a condition that affects athletes that repetitively torque their bodies. Anyone that has watched Tulo play the field knows he fits into this category. The constant twisting and distorting results in torn muscle fibers in the groin muscle group. As the damage is naturally repaired, scar tissue is laid down sometimes causing the muscle itself to herniate. In Tulowitzki's case, the scar tissue began irritating a neighboring nerve causing him pain and discomfort.

The surgery was considered a success and the shortstop will be able to begin his rehab protocol almost immediately. He will spend three weeks strengthening the area and improving any range of motion limitations before advancing to baseball-related activities. The timeline remains very similar to what we anticipated when it was believed he had a sports hernia. He will be out a minimum of six weeks, though a safer estimate is eight weeks. Tulowitzki owners should hope the Rockies play well enough during this span for the team to feel comfortable putting the two-time All-Star back on the field.

Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury

Another week, another step closer to the return of two key members of the Red Sox outfield. Ellsbury has begun taking regular batting practice and working on his motions in the field. His subluxed shoulder seems to be healed but the team wants to insure Ellsbury is mentally prepared to return to a high-level of play. Boston manager Bobby Valentine was very specific on the areas he wanted Ellsbury to focus on, including diving in the field and back to a base during a potential pickoff. These motions are the activities that will place the shoulder at the highest risk for re-injury. Fortunately, a rehab assignment for the speedster doesn't seem far off.

Crawford is ahead of Ellsbury has begun a rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League. He appeared as a designated hitter in his first action in nearly eight months, finishing 0-for-3 with a run and two walks. He plans on returning to the field later in the week and should return to the big league club in approximately three weeks. Crawford has yet to appear in a game this season after undergoing offseason wrist surgery as well as a partial tear in the UCL in his right elbow.

Andrew Bailey, Clay Buchholz, and Josh Beckett

The Red Sox injury woes aren't limited to the field as three key members of the pitching staff are sitting on the disabled list.

Bailey, out since undergoing thumb surgery in April, threw a rocky bullpen session Friday after progressing quickly through the initial rehab phases. The team is planning on resting him before allowing him to return to the mound. Unfortunately it sounds as though his arm was the issue, not his thumb, and the situation is worth closely monitoring. The thumb surgery hampered his grip thus limiting his ability to throw. This may just be a small step in the recovery process as he shakes off the rust and gets his shoulder and arm back in shape. However Bailey's injury-riddled past raises some caution moving forward.

The Red Sox have yet to determine when Beckett will return to the rotation after spending the past few weeks on the DL with shoulder inflammation. A MRI of the shoulder did not reveal any significant injuries but the team took the conservative approach to insure one did not develop. Beckett is eligible to return from the DL on Wednesday, June 27, but Franklin Morales is currently slated to make an additional start. The team should make a decision early this week but fantasy owners in weekly leagues may not want to take that risk.

Buchholz is the latest pitcher to be added to the DL. The right-hander recently checked into a hospital with gastrointestinal distress. Buchholz began feeling ill at the start of the weekend and was scratched from his Sunday start. It does not appear to be overly serious but Boston was forced to make the move due to its numerous injuries.

The decision is also a smart preventive move that's in the best interest of Buchholz. Rangers pitcher Derek Holland has missed three weeks recovering from a similar incident and still remains about a week away from returning. Holland began suffering an intestinal virus that caused him to lose weight and eventually led to shoulder fatigue as he attempted to pitch through the illness. Forcing Buchholz to rest for two weeks will make it more likely that he misses the minimal amount of time.

Chris Carpenter

Carpenter continues to make progress as he attempts to return from a nerve issue that kept him sidelined all season. He faced hitters for the first time in three months and was pleased with his performance and his ability to throw a variety of pitches. Despite the good vibes coming from St. Louis I'm still leery of his fantasy impact. Nerves take a considerable amount of time to heal and Carpenter has a previous history of nerve problems. He may be worth a look in NL-only or deeper mixed leagues but I'm still not convinced a fantasy team looking for stats at this moment should risk the roster spot.

Brandon Beachy

The Braves received bad news on their surprise pitcher as it was confirmed that Beachy suffered a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) and would need Tommy John surgery to repair the injury. Beachy will miss the remainder of the season and the early portion of 2013 rehabbing. As we seen with multiple pitchers, including Stephen Strasburg, Tommy John is not a career killer and we expect Beachy back for the second half of next year.