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Diamond Cuts: Feeling the Heat

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.

CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte

It was a rough week for the Yankees as two key members of their rotation were lost to injury. Early Wednesday, Sabathia was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a Grade I adductor strain. The diagnosis may sound loaded but it's not particularly alarming. It basically means he has a minor groin strain. The adductor muscle group is commonly known as the groin and gets its name because it pulls the leg toward the midline of the body in a direction known as adduction. The groin is key in pitching, helping with stride and weight transfer. Fortunately the Grade I classification means it's the least severe strain possible and should heal relatively quickly. The Yankees expect their ace to miss two starts and return following the All-Star break.

The new isn't as good for Pettitte who has been placed on the 60-day DL after suffering a fractured ankle. The three-time All-Star took a Casey Kotchman line drive off the outside of his leg and was later removed from the game. A x-ray taken revealed the break. Watching the replay, it appears the ball struck him near the lateral malleous of his fibula. The lateral malleous is that bone bump near the ankle. Fortunately it does not appear the break caused the bone to displace or move and the Yankees believe surgery is not warranted. Instead he will be placed in a protective walking boot and placed on crutches. The good news here is that bone heals quicker than most other tissue and it is the only type of tissue capable of returning to its original strength. He should be ready to return before he is eligible, allowing him to shake off any rust and be ready to return when he is able. Barring any unforeseen complications, the timeline provided by New York should be accurate.

Chris Carpenter

While bone heals well, Carpenter is learning the same cannot be said for nerves. The Cardinals pitcher suffered a setback in his recovery from a nerve injury, experiencing weakness in his throwing arm. He visited a specialist in Dallas that diagnosed the right-hander with thoracic outlet syndrome. Thoracic outlet syndrome is a condition that occurs in the region between the collarbone and ribcage. A bundle of nerves known as the brachial plexus is situated here, providing innervation to all the muscles of the upper extremity. Unfortunately the space here is extremely compact leaving the nerves vulnerable to compression. If this occurs, weakness and numbness can develop along the path of the nerve and in the corresponding muscles. Anatomical variations like an extra rib or repetitive motion, like overhead throwing, can increase the likelihood of thoracic outlet syndrome occurring. Multiple players including pitchers Kenny Rogers, Matt Harrison, and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia have suffered from the condition and recovered. However Carpenter's age complicates the issue and his previous nerve issues have to be taken into consideration. The Cardinals have not ruled out offseason surgery for their veteran and plan on moving forward with extreme caution. For fantasy purpose I'm still not convinced he makes an impact this year. As I've stated nerves take a significant time to heal and there's no sign that he is going to pitch without the issue flaring up.

Stephen Strasburg

The heat in Atlanta was too hot even for the Nationals fireballer. Strasburg lasted just three-innings succumbing to the heat with the temperature in triple-digits and the temperature on the playing surface at Turner field even hotter. He began feeling dizzy and appeared pale and eventually needed IV fluids to fight dehydration. Heat illness is a serious condition that can progress quickly and in extreme cases become life-threatening. Strasburg was never in serious danger as the Nationals athletic training staff were on top of the situation and he should be fine for his next scheduled start. However as summer sets in and temperatures across the country rise, don't be surprised to see more MLB players receive treatment for various heat-related issues.

Joey Votto

The Cincinnati first basemen was an early departure from Saturday's game after experiencing inflammation in his left knee. The inflammation stems from a play in the game before when Votto jammed the knee into the base while sliding. The Reds are in the middle of a brutal stretch of games and will likely handle the situation conservatively. Expect Votto to miss a game or two to see if the issue clears up quickly. If the inflammation lingers, don't be surprised if he needs a MRI to rule out a significant injury such as a patella contusion. In the meantime, fantasy owners should remain patient and hope the issue is minor like the Red are advertising.

Dan Hudson

The Arizona pitcher has a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) and will undergo Tommy John surgery. Hudson has struggled all season and finishes the season with a bloated 7.35 ERA. It seems likely his poor performance may have been injury-related and he will now be forced to clear his head and get his body right. The injury may be a good thing for fantasy owners that had been hoping Hudson would shake off his struggles and return to form. He will go under the knife soon and should be set to return around the All-Star break next season.

Josh Hamilton

After a monster start to season, Hamilton struggled in June. He suffered an intestinal virus that sent him to the hospital and cost him three games. However some of his issues may be related to his decision to quit using smokeless tobacco. He made a smart choice to stop dipping but may have subjected himself to withdrawal symptoms in the process. For prolonged users of tobacco, quitting can result in headaches, irritability, and fatigue. Any of these symptoms could effect a baseball players, particularly while at the plate. Fighting nicotine withdrawal may pale in comparison to Hamilton's previous battles with drugs and alcohol but it should be taken into consideration. The slugger has opted to chew gum and toothpicks to help fight the urge and it appears to be working. He has performed well over the last week, hitting three homers while batting .308.