Under The Knife: Rivera throwing, but don't expect him back this year
On a team that was losing, a quote like
Powered by Johnny Pesky, a man who really lived, on to the injuries:
Yes, Rivera is throwing long toss. No, he's not wearing a bulky brace while doing it. Simmer down, Yankee fans. There's very little chance that Rivera will return this season, as Brian Cashman
Bautista has begun hitting ... off a tee. It's not what Jays fans want to hear, but it's progress. That Bautista was able to make it through a couple sessions of hitting without his wrist swelling is a definite positive. The Jays are taking their time with Bautista, knowing that they're out of any race, but needing Bautista to come back and show that this isn't going to be a lingering problem. Since power is Bautista's game and power is what's usually most affected by this kind of injury, he's not going to put up 10 to 12 more home runs, even if he comes back quickly. That will put his season numbers on a downtrend and leave him out of the first round of most drafts next year. If Bautista comes back and shows any kind of power and needs no other off-season procedures, push him up your draft boards. Projections don't understand injuries and will undervalue him.
I talk about protective equipment a lot, but sometimes the best protection is a functional brain. Pitchers reaching out to field a ball barehanded take what they get, like Wilson did on Monday. Wilson left the game as the bruise got swollen and painful, but indications are that he'll be able to make his next start. Wilson's hit a bit of a wall lately, as the Angels are still recovering from a turnaround game by the Rangers that turned a possible series sweep into a relaunch. If Wilson got a couple extra days or was skipped, the rest couldn't hurt as the Angels fight for a wild-card spot.
Every player wants to help his team. Every player wants to go out on his own terms. Berkman is feeling those chances slipping away as his rehab continues. Berkman hasn't had a setback with his knee, but the pain and inflammation isn't the progress he wants to see. Until he gets to a point where he can run and play without the knee becoming more problematic, he's not going to be able to be activated before roster expansion. Once we get to that point, things change. A pure pinch-hitter isn't taking up room on the roster and taking a chance on a guy in the starting roster isn't as costly if he needs to come out. Cardinals fans might remember how the team dealt with Mark McGwire at the end, when his plantar fasciitis tested Tony La Russa's creativity. It's not there yet for Berkman, but it might not be the worst idea for Mike Matheny to look at some game logs either.
Bailey might be a bit glad he's been in Pawtucket. Not really -- no player wants to be hurt or have an extended rehab, no matter how much nonsense is going on with the team. Bailey was finally activated on Tuesday, after six appearances with Pawtucket (AAA). Bailey's thumb hasn't shown any issues, as he's passed every test the Red Sox medical staff and opposing hitters threw at him. Bailey won't immediately take the closer role, but it shouldn't be too long before he gets the saves. He had a walk and a strikeout in a 1/3 inning of work. There's very little chance of recurrence, so if you're in one of the 70 percent of leagues where he's available, you can put him in your roster with some confidence.
The Tigers were excited at one point not long ago that they could get a late season boost from a return by Martinez. His surgery to repair his sprained knee wasn't as extensive, but the rehab hasn't pushed forward the way that had been hoped. He's not ready now and it's going to be tough to get him on a rehab assignment. It's not necessary, of course, but the Tigers just aren't sure what they'd get. With September roster expansion, they could let Martinez try or they could tune him up with play at their minor league complex, but mostly, it's feeling like the timeline of the season and the timeline of Martinez's rehab aren't matching up. He's going to keep working and as long as the Tigers stay in playoff contention, the chance will remain in play. If you've stashed him on your fantasy roster this long, you might as well keep hanging on to the hope.