In the last week, we've seen our fair share of injuries, as J.A. Happ was nailed in the head with a line drive and both Bryce Harper and Shane Victorino had nasty run-ins with the outfield wall. But there's been some good news, as several players who started the year on the DL or hit the DL early are being reactivated this week. (If you own Derek Jeter, sorry. Check back after the All-Star break.) Here's the latest on some of the biggest returning players, plus a look at those who went down this week.
? OF Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees -- Remember this guy? Granderson returned to the lineup Tuesday, as the Yankees sent Brennan Boesch down to clear room on the roster. Granderson's rehab progressed on schedule, and he played in four Triple-A games without any problems. To his benefit, bone fractures often heal more effectively than tendon or ligament problems. Strained tendons and ligaments tend to stick around or flare up at inopportune moments. Owners who drafted Granderson back in March can finally move him off the DL and into the active lineup.
? OF Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves -- Many expected Heyward to return from his April 22 emergency appendectomy at the beginning of this week, but a few minor setbacks (rained out rehab games at Triple-A Gwinnett and unexpected soreness) will prevent him from joining the team before Friday. He saw some action in the outfield Monday (previously, he had only played DH), which bodes well for his return.
? P Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers -- Greinke was arguably the biggest casualty of the Dodgers-Padres brawl, as a broken collarbone isn't an injury regularly sustained by a pitcher. It's also a delicate injury, so the Dodgers gave him a cautious, eight-week timetable for his return. The decision to have surgery to help stabilize the fracture improved that significantly, as this week marks the fourth week since his surgery. Greinke pitched in high Class-A last week, where his velocity was up to pre-injury levels. It remains to be seen if Greinke is strong enough to withstand any sort of impact (Can he hit and run? Can he field?), but if he'll start May 15 if he passes his tests.
? OF Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals -- While chasing a long ball hit by A.J. Ellis, Harper slammed into the fence Monday night, sustaining several cuts to his chin, as illustrated by the blood streaking down his face as he left the field. Harper received 11 stitches and was diagnosed with a bruised shoulder, but luckily, tests showed no signs of a concussion. He's currently day-to-day, which is frustrating for owners after Harper missed two games last week with an ingrown toenail (don't laugh -- as one who's suffered several ingrown toenails, those things can be incredibly painful). But Harper took to Twitter, saying "I will keep playing this game hard for the rest of my life even if it kills me! I'll never stop! #RespectTheGame." Owners, don't worry -- there's no long-term injury here.
? P Wei-Yin Chen, Baltimore Orioles -- Chen left his start against the Twins with an oblique strain, which landed him on the 15-day DL along with rotation mate Miguel Gonzalez. The Orioles are not happy to be losing their top pitcher, who's maintained a 3.04 ERA over 47.1 innings pitched this season. It's still too early to tell, but if serious, this injury could keep Chen out for close to a month. Pitchers should not mess around with this type of injury.
? OF Shane Victorino, Boston Red Sox -- While chasing what was ultimately a home run, Victorino smacked his side into the outfield wall and came crashing down. He remained in the game initially, but was forced out due to a stiffening back. (Remember his lower back problems from a few weeks ago?) Victorino went in for x-rays after the game to check for broken ribs, which came back negative, but there's a chance Victorino will suffer from some sore intercostal muscles. When sore or strained, these muscles can hurt with any torso movement (including breathing), so he may be forced to take a few extra days off. A few days off couldn't hurt this guy, who's seemingly injured every week. This might be a sign to sell him high before he actually lands on the DL.
? P Jake Westbrook, St. Louis Cardinals -- Westbrook experienced elbow pain after his last start on May 8, apparently unrelated to his 2008 Tommy John surgery, and was placed on the 15-day DL for some extra rest. Cardinals' GM John Mozeliak said that the issue isn't serious and that Westbrook should only miss two starts. Westbrook received a cortisone injection to help quicken the healing, and in the meantime, John Gast will be starting in his place Tuesday.
? OF Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies -- Cuddyer missed three games last week with neck pain caused by an inflamed cervical disc, and now finds himself on the 15-day DL (retroactive to May 9). He's no stranger to neck pain, which he first experienced nearly a decade ago in 2004, but this is the first time it's sent him to the DL. For now, Cuddyer received an epidural to help ease the pain, and the Rockies brought up Charlie Blackmon to take his place. Necks and spines are nothing to mess around with, so the Rockies will be cautious with this one. Don't expect him back until late May at the earliest.