The Painful Comparisons of 2020 To Seasons Past

Tracy Ringolsby

Two weeks into MLB's abbreviated 60-game season, and there were 123 players on the injured list

Is that a lot?

Not really.

As an example, the Rockies have three players on the injured list. 

Wade Davis is sidelined with a strained right shoulder suffered in his third appearance of the year. 

Peter Lambert, however, is recovering from Tommy John surgery, the result of an injury suffered during the March spring training, and Scott Oberg was diagnosed with a recurring blood clot problem in his right arm that forced him on the injured list on Aug. 18 last year, and resurfaced this year.

In comparison to 1995, the only other time Major League Baseball was limited to a three-week spring training -- created by the settlement of a player strike that began in the previous August not being settled until the first week of April -- there were only 110 players on what was then called the disabled list -- by the end of the first month of play.


But, don't overlook the fact that in 1995 there was a 15-day disabled list, as the injured list was known at the time -- not the 10-day list that replaced it in 2015. 

Given the luxury of a player being sidelined for only 10 days, instead of 15, teams have taken advantage of the ability to juggle rosters. In four of the last five years, MLB has had the biggest list of players on the injured list in MLB history, three times surpassing the 200-mark in the opening month of a season.

So, yes, MLB has 123 players on the injured list as of Thursday, the start of the third week of the season. What will happen in the next 17 days when the first month will be completed only time will tell.

But consider that as of Thursday, the 123 players on the IL was behind the record-setting total of 218 in 2018, 217 in 2017 and 209 in 2015, according to Stats, Inc.

The 123 players include 55 players who were placed on the Injured List before the season began on June 30.

And it includes Trey Mancini of the Orioles, who is recovering from colon cancer surgery, and Tyler Naquin of Cleveland, who suffered a fractured right big toe, along with nine players who were placed on the injury list as far back as February, at the start of the regular spring training.

All things considered, it is hard to make the shortened training camp the fall guy for the aches and pains of the game.


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