July 23, 2010

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Injuries can drive fantasy general managers to the insane asylum. Imagine being the guy who added Scott Rolen after Aramis Ramirez hurt his thumb earlier this season. Then, trying to get some type of value out of the struggling Ramirez, this owner trades him away and starts Rolen.

Now Rolen is injured and Ramirez is crushing the ball. Simply maddening, and I'm sure that happened in many a league.

Injuries happen. Fantasy owners can understand diving for a fly ball, catching your thumb on a headfirst slide, fouling a ball off your foot, or even taking a stray throw to the groin. But when a guy like A.J. Burnett jacks up his hand during a temper tantrum? Unacceptable I say! It looks like Burnett will avoid the Disabled List, but who knows what effects the cuts to his hand will have.

Meanwhile, here's some news on more sane injuries.

Josh Beckett, SP, Boston Red Sox

When dealing with fantasy GMs who own Beckett, I need to dust off my old college psychology text books (I took psych as one of my core General Education courses, so you know, I learned just enough to get by.) These GMs took multiple levels of fantasy abuse from Beckett this season. It started with emotional stress due to his 7.29 earned run average and 1.66 walks and hits per innings pitched through eight starts. Then his GMs started to feel neglected as their ace went to the DL on May 19 with a lower back strain.

Finally, these poor GMs suffered deep anxiety thanks to the uncertainty surrounding Beckett. "He's on the 15-day DL and will be back in no time," turned into, "Nope, it's the 60-day DL, and we don't know exactly when he'll be back."

It appears that the nightmare for Beckett's emotionally scarred owners is finally over, as the Red Sox's ace will take the mound on Friday against the Seattle Mariners. The Red Sox are going to continue to be cautious with Beckett, and his fantasy owners should take the same approach. While it's possible, I highly doubt that Beckett jumps back into the rotation and becomes the elite starter that he once was. His owners should use him as a spot-starter, until he proves that he's worth must-start status. (Spot-starting includes Friday's game against Seattle, who has scored the fewest runs in the MLB).

The best news about Beckett is that he hasn't had any pain or discomfort in his back for nearly a month, and the past few weeks have been used to improve his endurance and strength. Boston treating him with kid gloves might help him rectify his fantasy season. His Fantasy owners should forgive him, and start to rebuild the relationship.

Erik Bedard, SP, Seattle Mariners

When Beckett starts on Friday, it certainly will not be against Bedard. Nearly a month ago, when it appeared that Bedard was on the road to recovery, I wrote, "In reality, Bedard is more than a month away from taking the mound for the big league club, but now is the time to sign him."

For anyone who added Bedard at that time, I sincerely apologize. But I can't feel too bad because nearly everyone reported that he was going to start on Tuesday, July 6. He didn't make it that night. And now it's looking like he won't make it back on any date in 2010.

On Monday, Bedard underwent an MRI on his left shoulder, and as of my deadline the results of that test hadn't been reported. On Tuesday the lefty told the Seattle Times that he is "probably not" going to pitch again in 2010. It is now officially safe to completely bail on Bedard.

Scott Rolen, 3B, Cincinnati Reds

Rolen's 2010 resurgence has been nothing short of spectacular. Many fantasy GMs, myself included, who got burned by third base flops were able to snag Rolen off the waiver wire. He has rewarded us with 17 homers, 57 RBIs and a solid .287 average.

While we enjoyed the benefits of Rolen's bounce-back year, I think we all knew he had at least one 15-day DL stint in his future. Now that Rolen has been out since July 16 with a hamstring injury, it appears that his DL trip is coming ... or does it?

Rolen got a cortisone injection and is out indefinitely, but it looks like manager Dusty Baker is going to try to keep Rolen off of the DL. This might save Rolen's fantasy owners a few games. If Rolen does land on the DL, there are a number of decent options available. In case you haven't noticed, Pittsburgh's Pedro Alvarez has been raking lately. He's hitting .293 during the last month, and hit a combined four homers on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. He's still available in more than 80 percent of Yahoo! leagues. If Alvarez is gone, his teammate Neil Walker also has third base eligibility and is available in more than 90 percent of leagues. Walker is hitting .342 over the last month.

So many injuries, so few words. Here's the quick rundown.

Cincinnati's Edinson Volquez pitched extremely well in his first start back from Tommy John surgery, but got rocked in his second start on Thursday. He gave up six runs in 2.1 innings against Washington. It'll take him some time to adjust to pitching regularly. ... Orioles' second baseman Brian Roberts (back) is rehabbing with Double-A Bowie and is expected to join the big league club as early as Monday. Like most guys who battled injuries for extended periods of time, Roberts will be worked back into everyday action. ... Good news out of Colorado, Troy Tulowitzki, played for the first time since breaking a bone in his wrist. Of course, he was playing for Triple-A Colorado Springs, but he made it through five innings with no problems. He could return next Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. ... Chase Utley is staying active while recovering from a sprained ligament in his thumb. He's still on pace to return mid-August. ... Zack Greinke's shoulder didn't bother him on Wednesday. The Royals ace struck out nine Blue Jays in eight innings. ... While Beckett is close to returning, a handful of other Red Sox are still out. Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is taking batting practice, but that's about it. Catcher Victor Martinez is much closer to a return, and next week is within the realm of possibility. He'll take part in more baseball activities over the next few days to see if he can manage the pain. Dustin Pedroia basically has to be held back from doing too much. Last Friday, doctors determined that he no longer needed crutches, but he is still wearing a boot on his broken left foot. It's still unclear whether he'll be able to return when the boot comes off. Meanwhile, starter Clay Buchholz is back, but he allowed five earned in four innings on Wednesday. Manager Terry Francona chalked it up to being rusty. The manager told the press, "He'll be okay. He's healthy." ... Believe it or not, Shin Soo-Choo is closing in on a return from his thumb injury. He could be in the lineup on Friday. His Fantasy owners will want to activate him immediately. ... Justin Morneau is making progress in his concussion recovery, but there's no telling when he will return. He did not go with the team to Baltimore on Wednesday. ... In case you hadn't noticed, Angels infielder Maicer Izturis (forearm strain) is back. ... Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen has a mild AC joint sprain, but isn't expected to hit the DL. ... On the other hand, catcher Ryan Doumit went on the DL Thursday with a concussion. ... Diamondbacks starter Brandon Webb threw a bullpen session Wednesday, but the earliest he could return would be late August. ... Scott Kazmir (shoulder fatigue) is on the DL retroactive to July 8. He's making progress, but is likely out another week. ... Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge is out 4-to-6 weeks with a broken finger. ... The Crawford Family Jewels will not hire extra security. Carl Crawford will not change his, uh, equipment after taking a pickoff throw to the groin on Tuesday.

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Have injury questions? Email Nate at natepigott@rotoexperts.com or follow him on Twitter @RotoExpertNate.

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