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Diamond Cuts: Waiting Game

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.

Josh Beckett

Beckett remains on track to make his Wednesday start against Texas after missing his last start with back spasms. As I am always quick to point out here in Diamond Cuts, back spasms are not a true injury but instead a symptom associated with some other injury or trauma, which can include overuse, strains, or even fatigue. Pain results from trauma causing the neighboring muscles to spasm.  Spasms lead to more pain, which leads to more tension and spasms, which continues the vicious pain-spasm cycle. Spasms can be treated in a multitude of ways including heat, ice, medication, and physical therapy, but until the root of the cause is discovered the cycle can easily be re-initiated.

Back problems are nothing new for Beckett and will likely be an issue for the remainder of his career. However how much of that career will be with the Red Sox remains to be seen. I don't see a change of scenery helping him much and fantasy owners still holding onto Beckett despite his poor record and 4.54 ERA can use this most recent setback as a reason to move on.

A.J. Griffin

One of the most reliable young pitchers for the suddenly surging Athletics is headed to the 15-day DL with a strained right shoulder. After going 3-0 with a 2.51 ERA in his first seven starts, Griffin made an early departure in most recent start against the Blue Jays. X-rays and a MRI failed to reveal any significant structural damage, yet Oakland elected to take the conservative route with the rookie. He will now be forced to rest and rehab at least two weeks before he will be able to rejoin the team. It's nice to see a medical staff protect a young player from himself. Younger players trying to make an impression on the big league level often will ignore their bodies and attempt to play through pain. Griffin won't have that option and can instead bide his time by improving his shoulder. Brandon McCarthy is set to assume Griffin's spot in the rotation but with his lengthy list of injuries, he doesn't exactly instill a lot of confidence moving forward.

Neftali Feliz

Feliz's injury-riddled 2012 campaign finally came to end Wednesday when the former Rookie of the Year underwent Tommy John surgery on his injured right elbow. After missing time with shoulder stiffness and elbow inflammation, Feliz appeared to be nearing a return. However, ongoing discomfort led to additional tests and ultimately surgery. The timing of the injury is also disappointing, as it will cost Feliz a significant portion of the 2013 season as well. The Rangers moved quickly adding Ryan Dempster in a trade with the Cubs and shifting Roy Oswalt to the bullpen. Dempster was limited by a latissimus dorsi injury earlier in the season and it will be interesting to see how his shoulder responds to the blister Texas heat and a new medical staff. The later summer months have not been kind to Dempster throughout his career and his first start with the Rangers continued this trend. Pitching in 100 degrees temperature, he gave up eight earned runs in his Texas debut.

Jose Bautista

Bautista was not activated from the DL when he became eligible on Wednesday as lingering pain in his injured left wrist continues to be a problem. While he has begun swinging a bat, Bautista said he would not return to the lineup until he's 100 percent. The decision should protect him from suffering a setback due to a rushed recovery and allow him to avoid a rehab assignment. When he is finally activated, possibly as early as late the week, expect an initial dip in power. Rotational motion gave him the biggest problems in rehab and would slow his bat speed if any limitation remains. Teams in weekly leagues should find a replacement for the upcoming week.

Emilio Bonifacio

It appears Miami manager Ozzie Guillen may have gotten ahead of himself in regards to Bonifacio's injured left thumb. After missing nearly two months recovering from surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb, Bonifacio reinjured the digit while diving for a ball against the Nationals. Original reports suggested the speedster would miss the remainder of the season. However he will visit with his surgeon on Monday and the Marlins are now optimistic they could have Bonifacio back in the lineup by the end of the month.

If an owner if your league dropped the infielder anticipating him being done for the season, now would be a good chance to pounce, especially if you can stash him on your disabled list. Thumb injuries often have a bigger impact on power numbers but Bonifacio's value isn't tied to his ability to hit home runs but instead to his ability to get on base. Furthermore he has proved he's capable of bouncing back quickly, batting .273 and stealing eight bases in his first 18 games after returning from the initial injury.

Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto

Phillips has been a spectator in Cincinnati's last five games as he battles a strained left calf. Fortunately it seems like he will avoid a trip to the DL and make his return early in the upcoming week. Calf strains can be nagging for a player of Phillips' ilk so be prepared for the possibility of a reoccurrence.

Phillips return and the impending return of Votto would be a big bolster to the Reds offense. Votto, out since July 17 after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, has begun hitting in a cage and taking grounder at first. However he is admittedly not at 100 percent speed and will likely miss the team's upcoming three-game stint against the Brewers. A weekend return against the Cubs remains an outside possibility but I'm betting he's still a week to 10-days away from returning.