Injury report: Waiting for Webb
Winning anything, whether it's the lottery, a business deal, a woman's heart, or fantasy baseball, requires calculated risks. The Powerball jackpot jumped up to $125 million for Wednesday night's drawing. I bought two tickets. The winning chances are slim, so I don't want to invest a lot of cash into it, but $125 million is worth the risk of a two-dollar investment.
Based on his past statistics, Webb can provide plenty of reward for the Diamondbacks and his fantasy owners. The problem is nobody knows when those rewards will come. Webb received a cortisone shot in his surgically repaired shoulder last Wednesday, and hasn't played catch since. Whenever Webb has stepped up his throwing regimen, he's suffered a setback.
The best-case scenario is that once Webb resumes throwing off a mound, he'll have a one-month rehab period and then make his 2010 debut. There were reports before last week's cortisone shot that a May return was "likely" for Webb, but now June is a safer bet.
Fantasy owners with an open DL slot can afford to stash Webb away for a couple months, but it might be time for everyone else to cut their losses. Even with his upside, Webb is becoming too big of a risk to waste on a roster spot that could be used for a pitcher who can actually throw.
Winning by taking calculated risks also means knowing when to bail on those risks. With Webb ailing, and others thriving, it may be time to look elsewhere.
Ethier suffered a mild ankle sprain in the Dodgers' extra-innings loss at Pittsburgh. X-rays showed no major damage to the ankle, but Dodgers manager
It's difficult to guess how serious the injury is, especially because Torre opted to rest a handful of other players Thursday afternoon following the late game on Wednesday, including
In his place, 37-year-old Garrett Anderson replaced Ethier in left field. Anderson doesn't really have much fantasy value, except as a spot-starter in NL-only leagues.
Fantasy managers who took a risk on Reyes (hamstring, thyroid) will reap the benefits when he returns to the Mets' lineup Saturday against the Nationals. It's been widely reported that the Mets have been treating Reyes with kid gloves, so it's safe to say that when he returns Saturday (his first day of eligibility) he'll be ready to go full-speed. In an intrasquad game on Tuesday, he swiped two bases.
It's probably too late, but this is the last chance to make a low-ball offer for Reyes.
Although Wood probably will not return until May, fantasy owners of the Indians' closer received good news when his injury was classified as an upper back strain as opposed to any type of shoulder ailment.
Berkman (knee) will be an early season regular in this column. The Astros hoped to have Berkman back by April 10, but now April 14 is his target date. I noted last week that he would be lucky to meet the original time schedule, and I think that even the 14th is very optimistic.
Here are the facts. Berkman had his knee scoped on March 13. He had that knee drained at least five times this year due to swelling. Every time it swells, it slows his recovery process. If the Astros manage to get him back next week, he will not be close to 100 percent.
In the meantime,
Matsuzaka (neck, back) will make his first rehab start Saturday for Class AAA Pawtucket. This will be the first of three planned minor-league starts. The minor league starts aren't as much about injury recovery as they are about regaining command of his pitches.
With his first start still close to a month away, Matsuzaka is an excellent buy-low candidate, especially for fantasy owners in need of strikeouts. It is worth noting, however, that there are rumors of Boston going to a modified six-man rotation when Matsuzaka returns. Fewer starts could hurt his value in head-to-head leagues.
Gordon started the year as a popular post-hype sleeper before a broken thumb derailed him in spring training. The former second overall pick is on schedule with his recovery, and made a Class A rehab start on Thursday night. Gordon is eligible to come off the disabled list on Saturday, but a return late next week is more likely.
In the meantime
Meche is also closing in on his return for the Royals, and is expected to start Sunday against the Red Sox. Meche, who is battling a shoulder strain, was able to avoid surgery on the shoulder and said, "I haven't felt anything in my shoulder whatsoever. My body feels great, my back's good. It's just a matter of getting out there and doing what I know I can do."
Although it's unlikely that Meche will bounce back to his 2008 form, when he won 14 games, had a sub-4.00 ERA, and struck out nearly eight batters per nine innings, it's also unlikely he'll struggle as much as he did in 2009. Meche is a sneaky fantasy starter in AL-only leagues, and is a player for mixed league owners to keep on their radar.
There are so many bumps and bruises after the first week of the season, let's check who's getting some ice.
* All stats up-to-date as of 04/08/10.