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Diamond Cuts: Headfirst Into Trouble

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.

Nick Markakis

The red-hot Orioles will be missing a key component to their lineup as they attempt to steal the AL East Division from the Yankees. Markakis suffered a fractured thumb on his left hand after getting hit by a CC Sabathia pitch in the fifth inning of the team's win on Saturday. The initial x-rays taken revealed the break but additional testing will be performed to determine the true extent of the damage. The location of the fracture is crucial. Unlike the other four fingers that have three individual bones each, the thumb is comprised of two bones. The tip of the thumb is the distal phalanx and the next bone down is known as the proximal phalanx. The proximal phalanx articulates with the first metacarpal bone of the hand which serves as the thumb's attachment to the hand and the wrist. A fracture in this area is often more serious than a phalanx fracture and often requires surgery to mend. Regardless of location, the Orioles expect Markakis to miss at least six weeks of action. That timeframe would keep him out for the remainder of the regular season, ending his fantasy season. The thumb injury is just the latest setback in what has been a rough season for the Baltimore outfielder. Offseason abdominal surgery made for a rougher than usual spring while surgery for a broken hamate cost him six weeks in the June. It's also been a bumpy season for Baltimore leadoff hitters. Nolan Reimold and Brian Roberts are both out for the year after undergoing surgery for various injuries and now Markakis becomes a spectator too. If you add Nate McClouth or Lew Ford, cross your fingers that they are able to avoid the injury bug.

Matt Kemp

Kemp is another normally healthy outfielder that has limped through a rough 2012. Kemp missed nearly two months recovering from a lingering hamstring strain and has recently been dealing with a shoulder injury suffered after crashing into the outfield wall. A MRI revealed inflammation in the joint and some fraying of the fibrocartilage ring known as the labrum. The labrum stabilizes the glenohumeral joint of the shoulder by deepening the area of contact. Minor damage to the labrum does not necessitate surgery and the area can be treated by strengthening the neighboring muscles. It looks like this is the plan for Kemp who also received a cortisone injection to help with the inflammation. The Dodgers hope to have him back in the lineup on Tuesday but don't be shocked if he needs some additional time to allow for everything to take effect.

Troy Tulowitzki

The Rockies are hoping to have their All-Star shortstop back in the lineup Monday for the first time since he underwent surgery on May 30 on his injured groin. The procedure was designed to remove scar tissue that was impeding on nerve in the area causing pain and weakness in the adductor muscles. Tulo has been rehabbing with Colorado Springs and Tulsa, hitting two homeruns. While he has been performing well physically, Tulowitzki admitted the mental side of rehab has been much tougher. He has been hesitant to push his limits, fearing another injury. The Rockies and Tulowitzki said he would not return until 100 percent in all aspects, suggesting he has overcome his final hurdle. His return will be a welcome addition in fantasy circles but expectations should be slightly scaled back until he's able to shake off any remaining rust.
Mark Teixeira

The controversial play that ended Saturday's game between the Orioles and Yankees may have cost New York more than a win. After sitting for 10 days, the Yankees slugger aggravated his ailing calf sprinting down the first base line and could be lost for the remainder of the season. The team has scheduled a MRI for Monday to reevaluate the strained muscle before deciding how to move forward. The calf muscle complex is made up of two different muscles that work together to help plantar flex the foot (point the toes). It is also utilized in acceleration and works closely with the hamstring group to help decelerate the leg while running. Furthermore the muscle activity of the calf is extremely difficult for the body to replace so any weakness resulting from an injury upsets the entire kinetic chain. It sounds like the team is preparing for the worse and expects the slugger to miss a substantial portion of the remaining games on the schedule. With expanded rosters in full swing, there is no guarantee Teixeira will be placed on the disabled list. Fantasy owners in one year leagues may want to consider dropping Tex if the MRI reveals any new damage or a lack of healing.

Chad Billingsley

The Dodgers recently transferred Billingsley to the 60-day disabled list after his troublesome elbow once again flared up. A MRI revealed a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament and the team has current plans to attempt a conservative course of action. Billingsley will rest for four to six weeks before beginning a rehabilitation plan. If the conservative approach is not successful, the next plausible option is Tommy John surgery. Tommy John would cost Billingsley the 2013 season but is not a career-ending operation, as evident by the other countless pitchers to comeback following the surgery. His value for this remainder of the year and next year is minimal in both yearly and keeper leagues.

Brandon McCarthy

The Oakland medical staff should be commended on the great job they did with McCarthy after the pitcher took a line drive off of the side of his head. McCarthy suffered a skull fracture, a brain contusion and an epidural hemorrhage on the play and needed surgery to relieve the resulting pressure. His fantasy value was irrelevant as the injury put the right-hander in a life-threatening situation. McCarthy is still under close watch but appears to be progressing nicely in a Bay Area hospital. He hopes to be moved to regular accommodations sometime soon. I don't anticipate McCarthy returning to the field any time in the near future as the focus remains on evaluating his long-term health.