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Diamond Cuts: Blister vs. Abrasion

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.

Yu Darvish

Darvish grabbed headlines during the first week of the season, missing a perfect game by one out. His numbers in his first start were sensational as he fanned 14 Astros before Marwin Gonzalez singled up the middle. His second start didn't go as smoothly as he surrendered six hits, four walks, and three earned runs before exiting with an injury on his right ring finger. While many are calling the injury a blister, Darvish hinted it's more of an abrasion than a pocket of fluid. The skin on the inside of the finger came off, likely due to the repetitive friction created during his near-perfect outing.

Blisters and finger abrasions are common in baseball, especially for pitchers. Generally friction develops between the skin and the seam of the baseball, causing fluid to build and the skin to be come irritated and in some cases raw. Blisters are often seen in the beginning of the season, as the skin on the fingers has not yet toughened. These types of injuries are also more likely to happen to a pitcher like Darvish who uses an assortment of pitches and grips. There are a variety of ways people elect to treat blisters, some weirder than others, but they can be managed and do not often result in time off. However since Darvish doesn't think his injury is a true blister all the remedies for normal blister care are out the window. Instead the Rangers will look to keep the area clean as to avoid infection and hope it heals with time. Keep Darvish in your lineups but expect his control to be a tad off until this minor issue is completely behind him.

Jered Weaver

The ace lined up opposite Darvish in Sunday night's game was also removed early due to injury after Weaver took an awkward tumble while avoiding a Mitch Moreland comebacker. He twisted his left elbow in the fall and was taken out. X-rays did not reveal any bone damage and the Angels are calling the injury a muscular strain. The good news is the injury occurred to his non-throwing arm but unfortunately the swelling and associated discomfort could cost Weaver his next start. More information should surface over the next few days but he remains a risky play this week.

John Lackey

Lackey's attempt to return from Tommy John surgery got off to a rocky start after the former All-Star suffered a biceps injury during his first outing since 2011. He struck out eight but was in obvious pain after delivering a pitch in the fifth inning. A MRI taken on his arm revealed a mid-biceps strain and inflammation in the area but, surprisingly enough, no significant structural damage. While the injury is unfortunate, Lackey may have caught a break with the location of the strain. A mid-biceps strain means the muscle damage is in the muscle belly and not the tendons on either end. A proximal biceps tendon strain would compromise the shoulder joint while a distal strain could affect his surgically repaired elbow. He is by no means out of the woods but this may easily be the best-case scenario given how it looked when the injury occurred. He will be treated with rest and anti-inflammatory medication and a break in the schedule will allow Boston to skip him in the rotation. A DL-stint may still be needed but it looks as though Lackey avoided a serious injury in his first game back in action.

Freddie Freeman

The Braves have placed Freeman on the 15-day DL with a strained right oblique, despite the first baseman's reluctance. The injury reportedly occurred the day before the season began and was aggravated following a RBI single on Saturday. Freeman felt he could play through the injury but Atlanta has wisely elected to take the conservative approach.

The oblique muscle groups are situated on both sides of the rib cage and are divided into two separate groups, the external obliques and the internal obliques. The thin muscles on one side contract with the other group on the opposite side to complete trunk rotation. However Freeman's case is unique because he bats left-handed but throws right-handed, meaning it would be hard for him to alter his approach to compensate for the injury. Whether he was the plate or in the field, he was going to apply stress to the affected area. By placing him on the DL he should be able to make a quick return and move past this minor setback. Look for him to return as soon as the 15 days are up.

Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Braun

The Brewers lineup was missing some pop over the weekend as both Ramirez and Braun were out with injury. Ramirez's ailment is considered more serious and the third basemen is already on the 15-day DL. He suffered a left knee sprain after awkwardly sliding into second base. The injury marked the second time since the spring that he has sprained this joint. He will not need surgery but given the previous injury I would anticipate this taking longer than the expected 15 days.

Braun was a spectator after suffering neck spasms that caused his neck to stiffen. His mobility was limited and the team was forced to keep him in the dugout. The spasms and tightness have reportedly subsided and Braun was in the on-deck circle Sunday as a pinch hitter before he was pulled back. Determining the root of the spasms is key to Braun making a quick recovery and preventing the injury from becoming a chronic problem. Braun could miss a handful of games until then (ed note: Braun was a late addition to Monday's lineup against the Cubs) but as of now it appears he will avoid the DL.

Jose Bautista

Bautista's surgically repaired wrist looks fine but a mild right ankle sprain held him out of three straight games. He was available to pinch hit on Sunday but was not called upon after the Jays were blown out 13-0 against the Red Sox. The team does not play Monday, giving the slugger an additional day of rest. Look for him to be back in lineup when the team starts a three-game series against the Tigers.