Is it just me or did anyone else notice that David Ortiz suddenly got a hit once his jersey was extricated from the bowels of the new Yankee Stadium? I have been keeping a close eye on him, not only because I have him on two of my fantasy teams, but also because some have been wondering whether his offseason knee surgery is to blame for his slow start. All along, I have maintained that based on Ortiz's comments and his performance in the spring, his knee is not to blame. Now that Ortiz has a hit, just hours after his buried jersey was removed, and one day after he sat out the final game of the series between the Yankees and the Red Sox, it appears that Ortiz has taken steps to right his ship. Coincidence? Hmmm. I'm not so sure.
On that note, we move on to the actual injuries of the week.
Shane Victorino, CF, Philadelphia Phillies: Victorino was removed from Saturday's game with a strained right calf muscle, injured during the fifth inning when he ran home from third to score on a wild pitch. Victorino was immediately placed on the disabled list, raising the level of concern over his injury. The Phillies did not waste any time because Victorino actually missed about one month after the All-Star break with a similar strain last year. The team reported Monday, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, that an MRI revealed the strain to be in a different area of Victorino's calf than last year, giving them some hope that he could make an earlier return. Despite the fact that the injury is in a different location, it is troublesome that he has had another strain in the same muscle, especially so early in the season. The calf muscle is necessary for explosive push-off, especially during acceleration, something an outfielder has to do constantly to get a jump on a fly ball. It is also necessary for baserunning, particularly in steal (sprint) situations, as evidenced by the way Victorino most recently injured his calf. On the positive side, addressing this latest setback seriously by resting Victorino may be just the thing that keeps it from being a lingering problem this season. Look for him to return to action as soon as the disabled list stint is up, but keep in mind that this could crop up again in the future.
Tom Glavine, SP, Atlanta Braves: At 42 years young, with no prior experience on the disabled list, Glavine is a marvel. On Sunday, however, Glavine had the shortest outing of his 22-year career when he felt his hamstring on his landing leg "grab," according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Glavine later said that he knew right away it didn't feel right. All pitchers rely on the hamstring in their landing leg to help stabilize their trunk during deceleration and follow-through, so Glavine will need to be pain-free before he returns to the mound. For his part, Glavine expects to play catch today and maybe throw a bullpen session Wednesday. If all goes well, he may make his next start (scheduled Friday), or delay it by only a day. Glavine made it clear to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution however that he will not push to start simply to maintain his streak of avoiding the disabled list. He may be stubborn, but you don't succeed in this league as long as he has without being smart. He will do what is best for the long-term interest of both him and the team. Of note, the Braves' Mike Hampton, currently on the disabled list with a pectoral strain that kept him from making his first major start since 2005, may throw a bullpen session this week. The Braves would love to get him back into the rotation soon.
Erik Bedard, SP, Seattle Mariners: Bedard continues to be bothered by what the Mariners are calling "inflammation" in his left hip, according to the Seattle Times. Bedard was scratched from a scheduled start two Sundays ago, then managed to pitch two days later, but had a somewhat shaky outing and threw 107 pitches. Bedard was again scratched this past Sunday as a result of his hip acting up. As a left-handed pitcher, not only must Bedard put full weight through his left hip during the windup, he must also rotate his body on his hip as he moves through his delivery. Any soreness or irritation in the joint will prevent him from throwing with his normal mechanics and would likely render him far less effective. The concern here has to be defining what the source of this hip inflammation truly is. There have been conflicting reports out of Seattle. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the team says that Bedard initially aggravated the hip during some pregame workouts, but according to the Seattle Mariners' official Web site, Bedard said that he woke up with pain in his hip Saturday. Clearly it stuck around until Sunday, preventing his start. Additionally, Bedard reported having some similar pain in 2001, but indicated that the pain then was far worse than it is this time around.
Bedard is not scheduled to head to the disabled list, at least not yet, but he did not play catch Monday as originally planned. There is a chance that he will do so Tuesday, but any return to light throwing will determine the subsequent timetable. We will keep an eye on this situation.
Jose Reyes, SS, New York Mets: Reyes sat out several games at the end of the week with a strained left hamstring. These hamstring strains seem to be making their way around the league, but they are of particular concern when they affect the players who make their living based on speed. Reyes has said he expects to play Tuesday so this does not appear to be a serious strain. Let's hope there are no setbacks.
Dontrelle Willis, SP, Detroit Tigers: Willis hyperextended his right (landing) knee Friday when he slipped on a wet mound. Frankly, he was lucky to walk off the mound. The way Willis' weight came down hard over a hyperextended knee could have resulted in a major ligament injury, but luckily, that was not the case. Hyperextension stresses the posterior structures of the knee in that it places an unnatural stretch on them and there can be some pain and inflammation as a result, even in the absence of major structural damage. Willis was placed on the 15-day disabled list to allow the knee some rest, but the rest may be beneficial for Willis in more ways than one. Clearly he has been struggling with his delivery, as he was Friday night before the injury, and the downtime may help him to reset and come back stronger.
Jorge Posada, C, New York Yankees: Posada is still recovering from a strained shoulder, something Posada referred to himself as "dead arm," and although he has been available as a designated hitter, he is still not able to make the throws necessary to resume his position. If you watched the game Sunday night, Posada had to move behind the plate when backup catcher Jose Molina strained his hamstring. He was instructed not to try to throw out runners for fear of aggravating his recovering arm, and the Red Sox caught on. There is still no official date for his return so plan on another week of him in the DH role.
Adrian Beltre, 3B; Mike Morse, RF; J.J. Putz, RP, Seattle Mariners: Beltre developed a sore hamstring after baserunning Saturday. He was able to return Monday, indicating that this is not a serious injury, but nonetheless, it is worth being aware of as this is the type of thing that can easily recur. Morse injured his left shoulder while diving for a ball in the outfield (actually, when landing from the dive) and is now on the disabled list. It is being called a shoulder dislocation but Morse's quote in the Tacoma News-Tribune ("It popped out and popped back in.") makes it sound more like a subluxation, where the shoulder slips slightly out of joint, but does not remain out. The important distinction is that a subluxation episode often results in less trauma to the soft tissues around the joint, making a return after a 15-day disabled list stint more reasonable. Putz is still on the disabled list with costochondritis, but he did throw for six minutes before Sunday's game. It looks as if he is on track to return in late April.
Matt Garza, SP, Tampa Bay Rays: Garza, currently out with radial nerve inflammation which affects the muscles in his forearm and in turn affects his grip, has been able to play catch for a couple of days now. The next step could be a side session, followed by a rehab start. The St. Petersburg Times reports that the Rays are now optimistic that Garza could return on the early end of his projected timetable, meaning in approximately two weeks. With ace Scott Kazmir looking at a late-April or early-May return from elbow inflammation that cropped up during spring training, the Rays have to be feeling sunny about the outlook for their starting rotation.
Placido Polanco, 2B; Carlos Guillen, 1B, Detroit Tigers: Polanco sat out Sunday's game because of back stiffness. This was the second time this season that he has missed a game because of his back. It sounds as if it is a minor issue -- minor that is, unless he misses much more time. Polanco owners should keep an eye on this. Guillen strained his right hamstring in the ninth inning of Friday's game and did not play Saturday as a result, saying that the hamstring felt "tight and sore." Guillen was able to return Monday night, however, and drove in some runs. So far this looks to be a minor incident, but keep doing your stretching, Carlos.
Nomar Garciaparra and Andy LaRoche, 3B, Los Angeles Dodgers: Garciaparra, who was hit by a pitch during spring training that resulted in a small fracture, has been out of commission since mid-March as a result. Garciaparra has been playing some Triple-A ball, and according to manager Joe Torre on the Dodgers' official Web site, he could return as early as the end of this week. The most important thing for the Dodgers is that he return healthy since they do not exactly have backups in place if he reinjures himself. LaRoche, injured in the same game as Garciaparra with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb, underwent surgery and has been gradually rehabbing the hand ever since. LaRoche actually made some throws across the infield this week and the Dodgers' official Web site reports that LaRoche felt "better than expected." It is normal for him to still be experiencing some soreness in the thumb, but LaRoche is hopeful that he will be able to begin some minor league play this weekend. His original timetable had him missing approximately eight weeks, which would mean a return date near the end of the first week in May. So far, his progress is consistent with that timeline, assuming he does not have any setbacks as he increases the use of his thumb.
That's it for today's update. There are plenty of players we're keeping our eye on for a targeted return in the not too distant future. For more on those players, and of course, for any new developments, check back throughout the week as we will update them right here. And be sure to stop by my chat on Friday mornings at 11 a.m. ET as we talk about all things injury. Never a shortage of topics there! Good luck with your fantasy week, and may all your players stay healthy.