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Diamond Cuts: Setbacks Everywhere

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.

Matt Garza

Several weeks ago I detailed how the triceps injury suffered by Garza diminished his trade value, hurting both the Cubs and fantasy owners in the process. Unfortunately further testing has indicated the injury is more than a just a simple strain and Garza's already limited fantasy value takes another hit. During a recent visit with a team physician, Garza was diagnosed with a stress reaction in the elbow joint where the triceps attaches to the ulna at a bony process known as the olecranon process. A stress reaction is a precursor to a stress fracture, in this particular case an avulsion fracture. Basically the tendon of the triceps muscle is slowly pulling up the bony tissue but has not done enough damage to be considered a true break.

While the injury isn't classified as a true break, his body will mend the area like it would a complete fracture, meaning ample time will be needed for the injury to heal. Garza has been placed on the disabled list and the Cubs have hinted his year could be over. Garza is refuting those reports, vowing to return this season. However it is hard to imagine the Cubs rushing one of their top pitchers (and offseason trade chips) back and risking a more severe injury. Fantasy owners able to stash Garza have the luxury of waiting but those looking to solidified standings or a spot in the playoffs should begin looking elsewhere.

Huston Street

Street is a frequent inhabitant of Diamond Cuts, making numerous trips to the DL with a variety of injuries. Since 2006 he's missed time with an ulnar nerve issue, multiple shoulder strains and biceps tendinitis. His injuries have not been isolated to his upper extremities either as a lingering rib injury, a hip flexor strain, and several groin strains have also limited his availability. His most recent injury is another lower extremity injury suffered while he sprinted to cover first base in a win over the Pirates. Street suffered a left calf strain on the play and the Padres expect to be without their closer for a while. The injured area is on his lead leg meaning he would have problems during the final phases of throwing, primarily the deceleration phase. It would also become problematic during fielding and batting. Street expects to miss at least two weeks and given his past I wouldn't be shocked for it to be longer. Dale Thayer appears to be the most likely to step in as the Padres new closer with Luke Gregerson another possible candidate.

CC Sabathia

The Yankees will be without their ace for the immediate future as Sabathia has been placed on the 15-day DL with elbow inflammation. The issue began earlier in the week when the former Cy Young winner began experiencing stiffness in the joint. A MRI did not reveal any structural damage and he was able to make his start against the Tigers on Wednesday. However the stiffness returned and the Yankees have elected to play it safe and utilize the DL. They are optimistic he will miss the minimal amount of time.  Given that this is the first time in his illustrious career that an arm injury has forced him to the DL, I think that a reasonable expectation.

Mike Napoli

The Rangers injury problems have primarily centered on their pitching staff. Unfortunately Napoli has bucked that trend and been placed on the DL with a quadriceps strain. The muscle began bothering him during a recent series against the Red Sox, forcing him to miss the final two games. He returned to action Friday but couldn't shake the lingering pain and was placed on the DL Saturday. His appearance against the Tigers will push back his return date, meaning the earliest he can return is August 26. Quad strains for a player required to sit in the squat position for the majority of a game is an obvious concern and while the injury isn't considered serious, I wouldn't be shocked if he misses more than the allotted 15 days. It's been a disappointing season for Napoli but this could give him a chance to clear his head and help him finish the season on high note. Newest Ranger and former Cub Geovany Soto will man the backstop while Nap is out.

Will Middlebrooks

Middlebrooks, one of the lone bright spots in a tumultuous season for the Red Sox, suffered an unfortunate injury when a stray Esmil Rogers pitch struck him on the wrist. The ball broke a bone in Middlebrooks' wrist, likely ending his season. Middlebrooks value for the remainder of the season remains low but his numbers during his rookie campaign make him a viable option in keeper leagues. Bone heals well and I suspect we see Middlebrooks in the starting lineup on Opening Day next season. In the meantime the Red Sox have recalled recently acquired Danny Valencia from Triple-A to fill the void left by Middlebrooks' absence. Boston's offense would get a boost from the return of David Ortiz but the designated hitter remains in limbo as he continues to experience pain in his injured Achilles.

Joey Votto

After running the bases and practicing sliding it seemed like Votto was on the verge of returning to the Cincinnati lineup. Unfortunately the 2010 National League MVP will miss additional time after suffering a setback during rehabilitation. Out since July 17 after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair a medial meniscus tear in his left knee, Votto underwent a second procedure last Friday to remove an additional piece of cartilage floating in the joint. The new loose body was discovered on a recent MRI after Votto continued to experience pain in the area. The setback is expected to push back his return by at least a week. However the Reds have actually increased their lead in the division during Votto's absence and won't feel forced to rush their All-Star back. A late August return now seems like a best case scenario, much to the chagrin of invested fantasy owners.