Injury roundup: Verlander back from sore shoulder; Greinke sidelined
Garrett Richards' knee injury was one of the most gruesome and disheartening of a season littered with injuries to key players. It was not, however, the only malady to befall a team recently. Here’s a look around the league at some other notable injuries from the last few days, listed in order of the overall record of each players’ team.
The Brewers skipped Lohse's turn in the rotation this week after he sprained his ankle while batting during his Aug. 13 outing. With Matt Garza on the disabled list with an oblique strain, that has left Milwaukee with just four starters for the time being, including Mike Fiers, who has been outstanding in three starts since being called up to take Garza’s spot on Aug. 9. The Brewers hope Lohse will be able to start on Tuesday and that Garza will return in early September. Milwaukee has been in first place in the National League Central since Apr. 5, but their lead over the Cardinals is just 1 1/2 games.
Perez is having an MRI on his right knee on Thursday after leaving Monday’s game in the seventh inning when he felt “a pinch” near his right kneecap while running the bases in the fifth. He then played all of Tuesday’s contest, but was a late scratch from the lineup on Wednesday due to tightness in the same spot. The Royals are downplaying the injury, saying the MRI is just a precaution. However, Perez is the team’s second-best everyday player after Alex Gordon, and Kansas City is tied with the Tigers in the loss column despite holding a one-game lead in the Central. You can be sure the team and its fans are holding their breath.
Until Richards’ injury, no team had been hit harder by injuries this month than the Dodgers. In fact, that still might be true. The Dodgers have lost Josh Beckett for the season and placed Hanley Ramirez, Hyun-Jin-Ryu, Chris Perez, Paul Maholm, and Paco Rodriguez on the disabled list as well this month. Now they are pushing back Greinke, Thursday’s scheduled starter, due to tenderness in his pitching elbow. Greinke had a clean MRI two weeks ago and has been rescheduled for Saturday’s start against the Mets, a game which could also include the return to action for New York’s Jacob deGrom, who has been out with rotator cuff tendinitis in his pitching shoulder. For the moment, Greinke’s injury doesn’t seem serious, but the Dodgers would surely prefer not to have to worry about the elbow of their No. 2 starter.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers delivered good news on Ramirez on Sunday, saying he was taking swings at about 90 percent. They expect him to be activated when eligible in three days.
Justin Verlander, RHP, Tigers (68-56)
Verlander hasn't pitched since Aug. 11 due to inflammation in his pitching shoulder, and he was lit up in that start. However, an MRI taken last week came back clean, and he has been throwing this week, including a 35-pitch bullpen session Thursday morning. He is scheduled to start on Saturday in one of the two games of Detroit’s doubleheader against the Twins.
Morton was placed on the disabled list on Sunday with hip inflammation but revealed on Wednesday that his injury is actually a sports hernia that he has been trying to pitch through since June. Morton, who had gone 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA in his last seven starts before hitting the disabled list, is hoping a brief stay on the DL will give him enough rest to allow him to finish the season. Even then, he’ll likely need the hernia surgically repaired in the offseason if not before. Fortunately for the Pirates, Gerrit Cole returned from the DL with a strong start Wednesday night in an important 3-2 win over the Braves, who remain a game ahead of Pittsburgh in the NL wild-card race.
Swisher, who has been on the disabled list since Aug. 10 with soreness in his right knee, had season-ending surgery on both knees on Wednesday. The surgeries were arthroscopic debridements, not a major procedure as far as knee surgeries go, but they will end his season nonetheless. The Indians are unlikely to miss him, however, as he had hit just .208/.279/.331 on the season and had been primarily a designated hitter since returning from a hyperextension of his left knee in mid-June. Zach Walters, the power-hitting shortstop acquired for Asdrubal Cabrera at the non-waiver deadline, has been Cleveland’s DH for the last five games and, true to form, has posted a .211 on-base percentage and .526 slugging percentage, going 4-for-19 with two home runs and no walks.
Masahiro Tanaka, RHP, Yankees
On Saturday and Sunday, Beltran played the field for the first time since early May. He had spent the interim on the disabled list or at DH due to a bone spur in his right elbow that will have to be surgically removed this offseason. On Tuesday, a game he started at DH, Beltran tweaked that elbow on a swing. He sat out Wednesday and received a cortisone shot that kept him out of Thursday’s action as well. The Yankees hope he’ll be able to return to the lineup on Friday.
Meanwhile, Tanaka continues to work his way back from a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. He threw a 35-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday, working in his breaking pitches for the first time since his diagnosis, and will face live hitters on Saturday. Tanaka’s attempts to avoid Tommy John surgery remain more about next season, which he would miss entirely if he had the surgery, than this one, but the early returns continue to be encouraging.
Myers, who missed 70 games due to a fractured wrist suffered in a collision with Desmond Jennings back on May 30, finally returned to the Rays' lineup Wednesday night. He went 0-for-3 with a strikeout as the team’s designated hitter. It likely won’t be long before he replaces Kevin Kiermaier in rightfield. Kiermaier, though a defensive wizard who had a nice run as Myers’ replacement in June and early July, has hit .150/.244/.238 since July 19. Myers' return comes too late to help the Rays get back into contention, however, as they are now four games back under .500 and eight games out of the AL’s second wild-card spot.