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Diamond Cuts: Miggy's Nagging Injury

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.

As the calendar turns to September and the MLB rosters expand, it becomes more important for fantasy owners to pay attention to day-to-day injury reports. The impact of the disabled list is minimized and the end of the minor league season all but eliminates true rehab assignments. As a result, patience must be exhibited for players returning from injury since they must readjust to playing at a high level without the benefit of practice or simulated reps. Sadly this expansion coincides with the arrival of the fantasy playoffs making late season injuries particularly problematic.

Miguel Cabrera

Cabrera's quest for a second consecutive Triple Crown has been slowed by a lingering adnominal injury. Initially listed as a hip flexor strain, Cabrera aggravated the injury late last week during an awkward slide. He was back in the lineup one day later but lasted just two innings. He has since been a spectator and the team is now calling it an abdominal wall strain.

When an injury is reported as a hip and abdominal injury it is generally a sign that the affected athlete is dealing with a sports hernia. A sports hernia occurs as the repetitive forces associated with exertional activity are redirected into the groin and abdominal muscles resulting in micro-tears of the muscle. The hernia leads to groin and abdominal pain while limiting hip function.

However the Tigers medical staff, led by head athletic trainer Kevin Rand, insists Cabrera's injury is not a sports hernia. However that doesn't mean he's out of the woods yet. The Tigers must properly manage the current injury to insure an injury like a sports hernia does not develop. Look for him to return to the lineup as early as Monday with more frequent off days in the mix.

Matt Harvey

The rookie phenom's amazing year came to a crashing halt as Harvey was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his throwing elbow. The Mets have not yet determined if he will undergo Tommy John surgery to repair the damage. In the meantime the club's method of managing Harvey has come under scrutiny. Over the past few years major league teams have begun to micromanage their young and upcoming pitchers, closely monitoring their innings pitched as well as the type of pitches thrown. Some teams even spend the time to have experts analyze the individual's biomechanics to ensure their pitching style does not lend itself to injury. Though the Mets had internally discussed an innings limit for Harvey they reportedly did not have his mechanics analyzed. While a detailed breakdown of Harvey's pitching mechanics could have provided the team more insight, it would NOT have guaranteed anything.

Injuries happen. That's the nature of sports. UCL tears can happen one of two ways. Constant stress placed on and through the joint can wear down the ligament, leading to a chronic tear. An acute tear can also occur when enough stress is generated with one particular throw, causing the UCL to rupture. This is the exact mechanism of injury that resulted in Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg's torn UCL and eventual Tommy John surgery, despite Washington's numerous precautionary measures.

Time will tell if Harvey ultimately elects to undergo the knife but the odds are against him. Very few pitchers have shown success with the non-surgical, conservative route with Adam Wainwright and Takashi Saito being the notable exceptions. Either way it appears Harvey's season is over and Tommy John would consequently alter his value in keeper leagues. Closely monitor the situation for the final outcome but the injury remains a disappointing end to what has been a historical rookie campaign.

Josh Reddick

The A's outfielder was recently placed on the 15-day DL with a sprained wrist that has been an issue all season. Reddick sprained his right wrist for at least the third time since April. He spent nearly a month on the DL in May after receiving a cortisone injection to treat the area after suffering the initial injury. He recently received a second injection though he reported no lingering soreness over the weekend. Given the problems the wrist has caused all season and the previous time missed, it's hard to believe Reddick will be available when he is first eligible to come off the DL. Even when he does return it's hard to imagine he will be effective as his current number suggest the wrist issue has affected him at the plate. He's hit just 10 home runs after hitting 32 last year and his average is hovering around .213. Use the injury as a good excuse to look elsewhere for the remainder of the season.

Check Swings

Elvis Andrus: A tight lower back kept Andrus sidelined over the weekend and will likely keep him out for the start of Texas' series against Oakland. The issue has not been a problem at the plate but gives him problems in the field. The team has openly stated they will proceed with caution, making Andrus a risky play in weekly leagues.

Matt Cain: His forearm contusion has healed nicely and the Giants ace is expected back this weekend in time for a matchup against the Diamondbacks. Cain had bounced back after a rough first half and will look to continue his upward trend.

Carlos Gonzalez: The Rockies are expected to activate CarGo on Tuesday despite lingering soreness in his sprained middle finger. Plug him back into your lineups but be prepared for a dip in power for at least a week or two.

Jason Grilli: Grilli is progressing in his rehab for a strained forearm and is slated to begin a minor league assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis Wednesday. The Pirates will continue to ease him back into things so it's worth holding on to Mark Melancon for the immediate future.

Joe Mauer: The Twins catcher has increased his activity recently but a return date has still not been established. Mauer has been on the concussion DL since August 20 and has progressed slowly in his recovery. The former MVP will be a gamble for the next week given the unpredictable nature of head injuries.

Matt Moore: The Rays will welcome Moore back into the fold on Tuesday against the Angels. Out since July 28 with elbow soreness, Moore hasn't appeared particularly sharp during his rehab assignment. He surrendered four runs on eight hits in four innings of work in his final outing for Triple-A Durham. Tampa hopes he will help them track down Boston though fantasy owners may want to see him pitch in at least one start before reinserting him into their lineups.