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Diamond Cuts: Big Names on the DL

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.

Jose Bautista

It's been one week since Bautista injured his right wrist while hitting a foul ball against the Yankees. The Blue Jays slugger instantly showed signs of pain after connecting with the ball and left the field cradling his wrist. X-rays taken did not reveal a fracture and a subsequent MRI failed to uncover any significant damage. Toronto is calling the injury an inflamed wrist and it sounds like one of the tendons in his wrist is the main reason for the inflammation.

Soft tissue injuries in the wrist can be very limiting and it appears Bautista is no exception. He is wearing a splint daily and is able to perform various gripping exercises as a part of his therapy. Unfortunately he is still having difficulties with any rotational-based activities, hinting this is an injury that could be problematic moving forward. If he is unable to rotate his wrists, properly swinging a bat will be extremely difficult and undeniably limit his ability to hit for power. Early reports are positive but I would be surprised if he is ready to play when he is eligible to come off the disabled list. I suspect this lingers longer than the allotted 15 days and I wouldn't be surprised to see him miss three to four weeks.

Joey Votto

The Reds offense was also sent reeling last Monday when it was revealed Votto would need arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. He originally injured the knee on July 29 but elected to play through the pain. However a MRI was ultimately needed and the tear in the fibrocartilage disc was revealed. The procedure is a relatively simple one in which the damaged tissue is shaved down and removed. His initial rehab will focus on regaining and maintaining a complete range of motion before shifting to strength training and ultimately baseball-related activities. If all goes as suspected he could be ready to go in two to three weeks. As long as the inflammation subsides and there are no other complications, Votto should be fine once he is able to return.

Giancarlo Stanton

After undergoing a similar procedure to remove several loose bodies in his right knee, Stanton is making progress in his recovery. He has begun swinging a bat and is hitting balls off of a tee. Seeing Stanton put weight on and through the knee is an encouraging sign but the slugger remains out and is expected to miss at least two more weeks. His treatment plan should be similar to the one laid out for Votto, meaning he has begun the strength training aspect of his rehab. If he continues to progress at his current pace an early August to mid-August return seems plausible. Like Votto his risk will be slightly elevated for the remainder of the season but he remains too valuable to sit.

David Ortiz

It could have been a lot worse for Big Papi after multiple MRIs confirmed his Achilles injury is nothing more than a strain. A ruptured Achilles would have meant surgery and ended his season but instead Oritz will rest and receive non-surgical treatment on his injured right heel. The Achilles tendon is the common tendon of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, better known as the calf muscle. The calf is responsible for pointing the toes and plays an important component in running, particularly during acceleration. While Ortiz isn't known for his speed, his size does play a factor. His lower extremities, particularly his right side, must be strong enough to support his weight and perform the necessary movements needed to throw and bat. He's currently sporting a walking boot and did not accompany the team for their series against the Rangers. He's hoping to join up with them in New York when they face the Yankees. He can't come off the DL until the first of August but he will be able to spend time with the team's athletic trainers rehabbing the injury. Hopefully he should be ready to go when he's first eligible.

Roy Oswalt and Colby Lewis

The veteran members of the Rangers pitching staff are nursing injuries that are directly effecting the Texas rotation. Oswalt's injury should come as no surprise as his chronic back issues have flared up. His back issues began back in 2007 when a bulging disc forced him to miss his final few starts of the year. He had problems again in 2008, 2009, and twice in 2011 when inflammation and a bulging disc forced him to the DL. The latest problem is being called stiffness but it's severe enough that the three-time All-Star will miss his start on Monday and travel to visit with his back specialist to receive a cortisone injection in the area. The Rangers knew of the preexisting condition when they signed the veteran and anticipate him making his next scheduled start. Fantasy owners can't be as patient. Oswalt wasn't exactly dominating before the injury. His 3-1 record is a bit misleading, as he has surrendered 13 hits in two of his five starts and his ERA sits at 5.22 despite giving up just two earned runs in his past two outings. Given his statistics and high injury risk there are more suitable and trustworthy options to consider.

Lewis is also facing a reoccurring issue as his right forearm continues to limit his productivity. After missing nearly a month with tendinitis in his forearm, Lewis was pulled from his first start back with forearm tightness. He has since been diagnosed with a torn flexor tendon and will be out for the year. Forearm injuries are worrisome because of their connection to the medial elbow. The forearm flexor bundle originates on the medial epicondyle, the same place where the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) attaches. It's worth noting that Lewis has already undergone Tommy John surgery once in his career. Texas will plug Scott Feldman back into the rotation and could call up Martin Perez if needed.

Brandon Morrow

Morrow's rehab from an oblique injury has not gone as smooth as expected but it appears at long last a light may be visible at the end of the tunnel. After straining his left oblique in early June, Morrow appeared to be nearing a return. Unfortunately back spasms pushed back a bullpen session and delayed his recovery. The back spasms have been dealt with and Morrow was able to throw a 42-pitch session over the weekend. He's slated to face live hitters in a bullpen session Tuesday and if all goes well hopes to begin a rehab assignment. The assignment is expected to last three-to-five starts and could have him available by late August. His return could boost a Toronto team fighting for a playoff spot as well as help fantasy owners compete down the stretch.