April 23, 2013
Between a slow start and an appendectomy, Jason Heyward has been a fantasy bust so far this year.
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While it's obvious that owners need to replace players who hit the DL for 15 days or longer, it's trickier to figure out what to do with players who are bogged down by nagging pains. This week, we've seen several players hampered by seemingly minor, but mojo-sapping injuries. Here's the latest information to help you make informed lineup decisions.

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? OF Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves: The Braves can't catch a break. Just as Freddie Freeman returns to the lineup, they lose Heyward to an emergency appendectomy. Heyward underwent a laparoscopic procedure to remove the inflamed appendix, as opposed to an open -- and more invasive -- appendectomy, thus reducing his recovery time to 2-3 weeks. There's no set date for Heyward's return yet, and Reed Johnson will be starting in right field for now. Heyward's owners were already suffering thanks to his .121/.261/.259 start, so this is a real blow.

? 1B Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: As Eric Mack already discussed in his Weekly Planner, Pujols is not healthy. His .317 batting average may belie that statement, but Pujols himself said it best: "I'm dying." Plantar fasciitis, or the swelling of tendons on the bottom of the foot due to overuse, can only be fully healed by complete rest. So even though Pujols is getting as much treatment as possible and is only serving DH duty at the moment, the injury will linger as long as he plays. When the pain becomes too much for Pujols, he'll likely see some time away from the field.

? SS Derek Jeter, New York Yankees: If Jeter is hogging one of your DL spots, I offer my condolences. A check up on April 18 revealed a small fracture near the place of his previous injury, delaying his return until after the All-Star break. Yankees' GM Brian Cashman maintains that Jeter will perform at his former level when he does finally return, but does anyone else believe that?

? 3B Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals: Zimmerman first felt a cramp in his hamstring two weekends ago against the Braves, and he reaggravated it last Wednesday. What was initially thought to be a minor hamstring strain has knocked Zimmerman to the DL after an MRI revealed a more serious strain. Doctors recommended at least 10 days of rest, so the Nationals called up top prospect Anthony Rendon in the meantime. Don't rush to add Rendon unless you've got roster spots to spare, as this will likely be a brief major-league stint.

? SS Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians: Falling down the dugout stairs doesn't sound quite as cool as breaking a clavicle during a brawl, does it? Cabrera is lucky that his tumble didn't cause more injury (x-rays came back clear), but the ensuing pain forced him to leave Saturday's game early and knocked him out for Sunday's game as well. He returned to the lineup Monday, so his owners shouldn't panic, but monitor his status in case he regresses.

? OF Shane Victorino, Boston Red Sox: Some back tightness gave Victorino a scare, forcing him to sit out Sunday's doubleheader against the Mets. But it was never really a serious concern, as he promptly returned to the lineup Monday, getting one hit against the Athletics and making a stellar play in right field.

? OF Cameron Maybin, San Diego Padres: For the few owners who have kept Maybin through his incredibly slow start (.091 batting average through 37 plate appearances), his right wrist injury should be the final sign that you need to drop him. Maybin, owned in just 17% of Yahoo! leagues, had a splint put on his wrist, meaning the injury is likely worse than initially reported. He's not worth a spot on your roster.

? SP Jhoulys Chacin, Colorado Rockies: Chacin has been the Rockies' best pitcher this season, but he was forced to leave his start Friday against the Diamondbacks. An MRI determined that Chacin, who's 3-0 with a 1.46 ERA this season, suffered a lower back strain, thus landing him on the DL with no anticipated return time. The Rockies recalled Rob Scahill from Triple-A Colorado Spring to replace Chacin in the meantime. Chacin was likely a waiver wire add in most leagues, but keep him if you can. He's looked very sharp so far.

? SP Brett Myers, Cleveland Indians: Myers' sagging velocity was a sign that something was up, and that sign came to fruition this weekend, when he landed on the DL. The starting pitcher underwent an MRI exam which revealed tendinitis and a mild strain or tear of the ulnar collateral ligament. He'll be shut down for two weeks and then reevaluated. Luckily, few owners will miss his 8.02 ERA.

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