Fantasy baseball Injury Report: Tigers ailing as Sanchez, Avila hit DL

Tuesday June 18th, 2013

Anibal Sanchez hit the DL with stiffness in his throwing shoulder, but could miss as few as two starts.
Genevieve Ross/AP

The injury bug has hit Detroit, where the division-leading Tigers saw starter Anibal Sanchez and catcher Alex Avila land on the DL on Monday. Are the injuries bad enough to give Royals and Indians fans hope in the AL Central? Here's the latest news on the ailments in Detroit and elsewhere in the league:

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P Anibal Sanchez, Detroit Tigers: Sanchez missed a start early last week with stiffness in his throwing shoulder, then lasted only 3 2/3 innings on Saturday before leaving. The Tigers probably should have taken a more proactive approach and put Sanchez on the DL at the first sign of pain. Sanchez has a history of injuries, including shoulder surgery back in 2007, but recent tests show no sign of structural damage. Detroit manager Jim Leyland said that he expects Sanchez to only miss two starts, but given that this club is playing for October, the Tigers could take a more conservative approach.

C Alex Avila, Detroit Tigers: Taking a 93-mph pitch off the forearm could not have been pleasant for the Tigers' catcher. X-rays failed to reveal any breaks, but Avila has more tests scheduled which will dictate if his fantasy owners will see him back behind the plate at the end of the month. For the time being, Brayan Pena will serve as the Tigers' backstop.

SS Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies: The Rockies' shortstop fractured his rib while making a diving defensive play, as confirmed by an MRI Thursday night. Core injuries are incredibly difficult to heal because the smallest movements -- even breathing -- can aggravate the injury. Right now, the Rockies are saying Tulo will be out 4-6 weeks; fantasy owners should prepare for more, because who knows when he'll be up to full speed again after at least a month of minimal movement. However, the one bright spot in this mess is that the Rockies recalled Josh Rutledge who will split time in the infield with Jonathan Herrera and DJ LeMahieu. Tulo owners should try and grab one of those Rocks or the Indians' Mike Aviles as a replacement.

OF Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler, Colorado Rockies: Both outfielders suffered minor injuries on June 13 when seemingly everyone in Denver was going down. But luckily, while Fowler took a pitch to the right ring finger and Gonzalez took a foul ball off his left foot, neither hit the DL. Gonzalez actually returned to the lineup Friday night and went 4-for-4 with a home run and a stolen base -- a cruel joke to owners (like me) who benched him thinking he would sit the night out. However, not all's well, as he served as Colorado's DH Monday night against Toronto. If this injury lingers or worsens, the Rockies will pull him faster than you can say 'CarGo.' Fowler, meanwhile, sat out this weekend but returned Monday, going 1-for-4. These injuries are seemingly minor, but are worth monitoring nonetheless.

P Alex Cobb, Tampa Bay Rays: Cobb was struck in the side of the head by a line drive Saturday, and was carried off the field on a stretcher. Initial reports are positive: Cobb maintained consciousness during the injury, awoke Sunday morning with just a minor headache and was in good spirits, according to his teammates. Cobb was placed on the 7-day concussion DL, and the Rays recalled Alex Colome and Jake Odorizzi to fill Cobb's rotation spot. Cobb owners should look at J.A. Happ and Brandon McCarthy as cautionary tales, however: While the situations are not identical, both of those players are still struggling with repercussions after they were hit in the head. The official report says seven days, but don't expect Cobb back that quickly.

1B Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees: Teixeira had played just 15 games this season, spending the first few weeks recovering from a partially torn tendon sheath suffered during spring training, and he's already back out. No specific incident caused the injury to resurface; Teixeira simply cites continuing discomfort and weakness. An MRI Sunday revealed only inflammation (no structural damage), so Tex received a cortisone shot that should keep him off the DL for now. Even if he avoids a DL stint, however, his performance at the plate to date indicates he might not be worth keeping in fantasy. Now's the time for owners to unload Teixeira, because you don't want to be left hanging if he needs surgery.

SP Brett Anderson, Oakland Athletics: Anderson, who fell victim to a stress fracture in his right foot just six starts into the season, was supposed to return on June 14, but another setback will keep him in a walking boot for an additional four weeks. Owners who drafted Anderson this year knew they were drafting a huge injury risk, as he's pitched in a mere 44 games since his 2009 rookie season. But even with a possible innings limit, we ranked him among the top 50 starting pitchers in the preseason, since he recovered well from Tommy John surgery in July 2011. Unfortunately, Anderson hasn't lived up to that optimistic projection, and will likely be on the DL for at least another six weeks. Once he gets out of the walking boot, he'll have to rebuild his arm strength. The A's moved him to the 60-day DL, so owners, there's no longer any reason to stash him. The upside? Dan Straily isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

RP J.J. Putz, Arizona Diamondbacks: Heath Bell is getting the saves for the Diamondbacks now, but the job will be Putz's when he returns from the DL. Bell recently gave up back-to-back homers, effectively shaking the closer's confidence. Putz had a "great" throwing session Monday and will make a rehab start Friday. He may be racking up the saves by the end of the month, so reacquire him now. Bell owners: He won't be worth a spot in your lineup when Putz returns, so plan accordingly.

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