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Diamond Cuts: Good News and Bad News

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.

Alex Rodriguez

It's been a relatively quiet season for the three-time AL MVP. He's batting .276 with 15 home runs and it appears it will be a while before A-Rod is able to build on those some-what disappointing numbers. Rodriguez suffered a fractured fifth metacarpal bone after being struck by a Felix Hernandez pitch. The break was non-displaced, meaning the bone remained in its normal alignment. This is, pardon the bad pun, a lucky break for the Yankees because it means he will avoid surgery and be able to return quicker. Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons suffered a similar injury on July 8 and has spent the last three weeks in a cast. Simmons recently had the area re-evaluated and is now targeting a mid-August return. If he does hit that target date he will have missed roughly five to six weeks. I think that's a fair expectation for A-Rod as well and he should be available by September.

Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison

There's tons of news out of Miami so let's start with the good news. Stanton, out since July 7 after undergoing a debridement procedure on his left knee to remove several loose pieces of cartilage, is slated to begin his rehab assignment on Wednesday. I detailed some of his rehab plans last week and he continues to progress with his recent return to running. He's expected to spend four-to-five games on his assignment before rejoining his Miami teammates. Don't be surprised if he gets the occasional day off during his first few weeks back with the team. Fantasy owners rostering Stanton should get ready for a nice boost of power down the stretch.

Unfortunately Stanton's teammate Morrison is heading in the opposite direction as the Marlins placed him on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his troublesome right knee. Morrison underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in the offseason but the issue continued into spring training. The problem has lingered throughout the season and may be the culprit behind Morrison's disappointing season. He's batting just .230 in 296 bats while driving in 36 runs and has failed to make the impact he did last year. There are already grumblings that this latest flare up could cost him the remainder of the season. The Marlins promoted Ryan Webb to take Morrison's place on the roster and Donovan Solano will assume his starting spot in left field.

Evan Longoria

No news is good news for Longoria. Still recovering from a torn left hamstring, Longoria has begun a rehab assignment. He has yet to collect a hit in his first two games with Triple-A Durham but did draw two walks. Longoria did not play Saturday but is expected back Sunday. Tampa is handling the situation very carefully, even more so since his setback in June. The Rays are hoping he will return on Friday, meaning fantasy owners in weekly leagues will be without his services for at least one more week. Like Stanton, Longoria will be eased back into the mix once he returns to Tampa. He will play DH initially before returning to the field. I remain extremely precarious about his fantasy contributions for the remainder of the season. Hamstring injuries are notoriously fickle and if the Rays slide from playoff contention I could easily see the team electing to shut him down for the remainder of the season.

Carlos Ruiz

Ruiz has been one of the biggest surprises, particularly at the catcher position, but it sounds like his productivity may take a hit down the stretch as he battles a case of plantar fasciitis.

The plantar aponeurosis better known as the plantar fascia is a collection of thick fibrous connective tissue that originates at the heel and runs along the foot. As it progresses it divides into five separate bands that protect the bottom of the foot, while supporting and stabilizing the arch. If over-stretched or strained it can become irritated and inflamed resulting in plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is a painful injury for most athletes, particularly when tension is placed on the inflamed tissue during running and jumping. For a catcher, constantly sitting in a squat position will likely aggravate the condition, making playing behind the plate every day very difficult. He has been dealing with the problem for the past two weeks, needing several days off to rest. Unfortunately there is no “cure” for plantar fasciitis and it will likely linger throughout the remainder of the season. He will attempt to battle the problem with various types of treatment and stretching but expect him to get more days off than usual to alleviate the pain.

Matt Garza

The Cubs have been without Garza since an early exit on July 21. He initially complained of cramping in the elbow on his throwing arm and an ensuing MRI revealed a build up of fluid located in his triceps. An injury to the triceps can be tricky for pitchers because of its location and role in throwing.

The triceps sits on the posterior aspect of the upper arm and controls straightening (extending) the arm at the elbow joint. It is utilized throughout throwing and plays a key part during the acceleration phase. As a pitcher begins to deliver a pitch, the triceps controls the angular velocity of the elbow while helping stabilize the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). Doing so reduces the amount of sheer force placed on and through the medial elbow and UCL, making it vital that the triceps is able to fire and work properly. Any limitation could lead to a serious damage to the UCL or flexor bundle located in the same area.

The injury couldn't have come at a worse time for the Cubs and fantasy owners alike. The Cubs were shopping Garza but the injury will likely scare off any potential suitors. Fantasy owners hoping a change of scenery would benefit Garza and his numbers will have to wait until the offseason. Meanwhile Garza played catch over the weekend and is slated to throw a bullpen session on Monday. If all goes well there is a chance he could pitch at the end of the week.