By Bette Marston
June 04, 2013
L.A.'s outfield took a big hit when hamstring injuries landed Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford on the DL.
/US Presswire

It's been a pretty terrible stretch for the Dodgers, who really couldn't stand to suffer any more injuries but were bludgeoned with bad news nonetheless. Here's how the last few days have gone: Outfielders Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford hit the DL with hamstring strains, catcher A.J. Ellis went down with a strained left oblique, starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu missed Sunday's start with a bruised foot and news broke that starter Josh Beckett won't pitch any time soon -- and could in fact retire -- due to lingering numbness in his pitching hand. At this point, L.A. fans must pray that Andre Ethier does extra yoga this week to keep his hammys loose.

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It hasn't been all bad, though. On Monday night, a silver lining arrived in the form of rookie outfielder Yasiel Puig, who went 2-for-4 and sealed the 2-1 victory over the Padres with a heads-up defensive play.

Here's the latest injury news from L.A. and elsewhere:

? OF Matt Kemp and Carl Crawford, Los Angeles Dodgers: At the beginning of the season, the Dodgers boasted a rather intimidating outfield with Kemp, Crawford and Ethier. Now only Ethier remains in the starting lineup, as Kemp suffered a minor right hamstring strain last Wednesday night and Crawford strained his hamstring on Saturday. Kemp, the 2011 NL MVP runner-up, has struggled this year following offseason shoulder surgery, hitting just .251/.305/.335. This DL stint may be what he needs to snap out of his funk. Crawford, on the other hand, was actually exceeding expectations, hitting .301/.358/.470 through Saturday's game. Kemp hopes he'll spend only the minimum time on the DL with what was diagnosed as a minor strain; however, keep in mind that it was right around this time last year when Kemp was placed on the DL for his left hamstring, an injury which ultimately cost him 51 games. Clearly, the Dodgers don't want to take any chances this time around for the other leg. Owners who need replacements for either should jump and pick up prospect Puig. If he continues to play like he did last night, he could help the Dodgers spark a turnaround.

? SS Hanley Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers: As the Dodgers' losses continue to mount, they hope to get one back. Ramirez is slated to return to the lineup exactly a month after he went down with a hamstring injury. He was originally projected to return June 3, but the Dodgers put him in one more rehab game that night, likely to test his hamstring through situational play. Ramirez initially injured himself by running the bases, so he needs to test himself before returning. Fantasy owners can count on him returning Tuesday at best and later this week at worst.

? OF Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals: Harper was placed on the DL Saturday, retroactive to May 26. He has been banged up since he crashed into the wall at Turner Field on April 29, and he even admitted that he should have gone on the DL at that point. But he's been hobbling along game by game (not without crashing into the wall at Dodger Stadium, of course), and he finally required a DL stint. Bursitis is a tricky injury, often caused by overuse (or, as in Harper's case, a sudden impact) and something that can truly only be helped with rest; as a result, Harper won't return to the lineup until all signs of pain are gone. However, when Harper does come off of the DL, his knee will need to be closely monitored, as bursitis can regularly flare up. Fantasy owners will need to stay abreast of the situation, as he'll likely sit for a game or two if he reports any knee pain upon his return. This could linger as a minor issue throughout the remainder of the season.

? OF Jayson Werth, Washington Nationals: The Nationals' outfield won't lack star power for long, though, as the team expects Werth to return sometime this week. The Potomac Nationals announced Monday morning that his rehab stint with them had concluded, and Werth has reported that he's now at a point where he can play without worrying about getting injured.

? SS Asdrubal Cabrera, Cleveland Indians: Cabrera pulled up short while running to first base during the Indians' Monday night game against the Yankees, and left the game with what was later diagnosed as a right quadriceps strain. There's chatter that Cabrera has been playing through a sore right quad since the end of April, and now the injury has landed him on the DL. Terry Francona said that Michael Brantley will bat No. 3 in place of Cabrera in the Cleveland lineup, while Mike Aviles, who has fantasy eligibility at second and third base as well as at shortstop, will take over for Cabrera in the field. Pick up Aviles if you need a quick replacement, as he should be available in most leagues.

? OF Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox: Ellsbury injured his groin Thursday while stealing his fifth bag, causing him to miss the entire weekend of games. Manager John Farrell said that Ellsbury showed continuous improvement to treatment over the weekend, but that there was no need to force him to return before Boston's well-timed off day on Monday. Owners should look for Ellsbury to return soon, but to play a bit more reserved than usual -- so expect fewer stolen bases -- as he continues to heal.

? P Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals: Strasburg left Friday's game after two innings and was diagnosed with a mild right lat strain. He admitted that he's been battling this pain through his last few starts, and it finally became unbearable during Friday's outing, which was the shortest of his career. The Nationals are notoriously cautious with their 24-year-old ace, so it wouldn't be a surprise if they skip his Thursday start. However, the strain appears to be mild enough that Strasburg should avoid a DL stint.

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