When a team opts to take a cryptic approach to details and specifics, evaluating the effects of injuries from afar sometimes can be difficult. Terms like spasms, inflammation and soreness provide vague information that describe a symptom associated with an underlying problem rather than the injury itself. Even terms like sprain or strain can be misleading or provide little insight if they fail to indicate which soft tissue structure is hampered by injury.
The Minnesota closer provides a great example of the problems with ambiguous injury reports. Late last week, Perkins was placed on the disabled list with a shoulder strain. The diagnosis is informative enough to reveal the injury is muscular in nature but fails to disclose the involved muscle. The anatomy of the shoulder is comprised of a multitude of muscles beyond the four rotator cuff muscles and includes muscles that extend into the back and forearm. Predicting any complications that may arise, or the necessary steps in recovery is nearly impossible without knowing which muscle, or muscles, have been strained.
However, even when indistinct information is provided, there are steps fantasy owners can take to make the most prudent decision for their team’s well-being. To start, consider the player’s recent injury history. In Perkins’ case he has a lengthy list of injuries over the past few seasons, including neck and back problems last year and a forearm strain and nerve issue that prematurely ended his 2014 campaign. If the number of injuries on the affected area or limb were substantial, then it would be wise to expect a longer road to recovery.
Furthermore pay attention to other keywords used by managers and players when describing the injury, as they can provide better insight to the injury. Terms like numbness and tingling can indicate a nerve problem, while tightness and stiffness suggest the injury involves the muscles of the area.
In the case of Perkins, I would advise investing in Kevin Jepsen given Perkins’ injury profile and struggles so far this season. While the Twins remain optimistic that Perkins will be activated from the DL when he’s first eligible, his inherent injury risk will remain elevated for the foreseeable future.
The Rockies didn’t hesitate to move Blackmon to the 15-day DL after the outfielder suffered a toe injury. The exact injury is “turf toe” in his left foot, a condition that often occurs when the big toe is hyperextended. This mechanism of injury results in a sprain to the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint that bridges the foot and toes. Turf toe is often very painful, specifically when one tries to push off of the foot. As a result, the injury limits the affected individual’s mobility and ability to make sharp, hard cuts, particularly on the base path. Even worse, turf toe can be a nagging injury that is easily irritated.
Unfortunately for Blackmon owners, this isn’t his first bout with the injury either. In 2012, Blackmon missed a majority of the spring with chronic inflammation in his left big toe and lost a chunk of the previous season with a fractured left foot. Given the situation, a three-week absence seems likely, but don’t be surprised if this stretches out even longer. A dip in his stolen base total should also be anticipated, as the Rockies will likely limit his activity on the base path upon his return.
Yu Darvish: After missing all of last season with a UCL sprain and a subsequent Tommy John surgery, Darvish is set to begin a rehab assignment in the week ahead. He has progressed smoothly through each phase of his rehab, but it seems likely the Rangers will remain patient with his rehab over the next few weeks. Barring a setback, he remains on track for a mid-May return.
Jung-Ho Kang: The Pirates infielder is set to begin a rehab assignment Monday with Triple-A Indianapolis. Kang has spent the spring recovering from a September surgery to repair a fractured tibia and meniscus tear in his knee. He has been an active participant in extended spring training games, but a return to real games will serve as the final hurdle on his road to recovery. The team hasn’t revealed how long they expect his rehab stint to last, but he should be back with the big league club by early May at the latest. He’s worth a stash if you need infield help, particularly at third base.
Starling Marte: In addition to Kang, the Pirates have other injury problems to manage. Fortunately, it appears Marte avoided a serious injury after being struck on the right hand over the weekend. No breaks were discovered, but the team proactively held him out of Sunday’s contest against the Brewers. They hope an off-day Monday will provide enough additional time for him to return to the lineup Tuesday against the Padres. Feel free to employ him as usual, even in weekly formats.
Tyson Ross: After expressing optimism about a quick return, Ross isn’t expected back this week when he first becomes eligible. The fact that the San Diego right-hander has yet to throw a ball since his Opening Day loss is a good indicator that a return remains a ways off. The team hopes he will begin his throwing program at some point this week but, again, fantasy owners will need to exhibit patience with the situation.
Pablo Sandoval: The Red Sox and Sandoval appear to be headed for a messy breakup, as concerns about his weight and now a left shoulder injury have surfaced. Sandoval has undergone a MRI on the injured joint that was reportedly “pretty bad.” The team continues to describe the issue as a strain but has lined up a visit with renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion. Surgery has been suggested as a possible option, and Sandoval’s visit with Dr. Andrews should finalize the appropriate treatment measures. Sandoval wasn’t expected to be a major fantasy factor, but his extended absence solidifies Travis Shaw’s hold on the starting third base job in Boston.