Fantasy league injuries w/Stephania Bell
Send your questions now and join Bell in The Show on Friday at 11 a.m. ET!
stephania bell (11:03 AM)
Good morning and Happy pre-All Star Friday!! Seems like the injuries have been rolling in faster than ever - I'm hoping that a few days break coming up will slow it down...but that may be optimistic. Already a long list of questions so here we go!
Hi Stephania, how soon to Marcum comes back, and should he be able to continue his awesome season???
stephania bell (11:05 AM)
Hi Michael: Marcum, out with the elbow/forearm strain, was going to be monitored and brought along in a "cautious" manner all along, to try to ensure that this did not turn into something worse. The plan now is for him to pitch in a minor league game on July 16th, which should make him availbel somewhere after 7/21. If indeed he continues well with no setbacks, I see him finishing out well - primarily b/c he hasn't been out that long.
Billy Bob (DC)
Good Morning Stephania. It seems the news on Todd Helton gets less and less encouraging each day. Do you think he can mkae a recovery and salvage this year? Or is this an injury that will always linger? Thanks!
stephania bell (11:08 AM)
Hi Billy Bob: You're right. This is not encouraging news. Helton has had back problems in the past. This episode is accompanied by pain radiating into his leg. always a sign that the condition is more serious. He had an epidural (an injection into the spine specifically to address inflammation, with the goal of decreasing leg pain in particular), and apparently got some relief, but not overwhelming relief. He is slated to get a second epidural today. Typically they will do no more than 3 at a time per episode, so the hope is that these will help get the inflammation down, and then he can gradually increase his activity. But it will be a touch and go situation the remainder of the season no matter how he feels. This is one of those where you hope he can effectively manage it, but you don't expect complete resolution.
Any reason to expect lingering health issues with Soriano once he's back? Too optimistic to think that all this time spent on the DL due to his hand injury will actuall allow his calf to strengthen and thus can we expect to see Sori run a bit more once back?
stephania bell (11:11 AM)
Hi Duke: I like your question b/c clearly you are thinking the way we would think from a rehab perspective. Take advantage of the down time required for the hand and continue to work the legs for conditioning and to build confidence, something Soriano really hasn't had much of with all the lower extremity muscle strains he has had. I think it is a good potential by-product that he comes out of this with the legs stronger. Now we just have to hope that his hand heals 100%, but I think the team will help him hold back and not hit too soon.
LL (New York)
What's your feeling on David Ortiz? Will he be a fantasy asset before the end of July?
stephania bell (11:13 AM)
Hi LL: Everyone is asking this. I like your question - will he be a fantasy asset? I think he will fully recover from this. I think non-surgery is the way to go. I spoke with several top hand surgeons - and they all agree that this is a problem that is ideally treated non-surgically b/c the tissue can heal well and it minimizes the secondary effect of scar tissue that you get with surgery. But getting that feel back to hit the way he does is another matter. I think his time frame is a bit slow, but I also think that is good in the long run b/c if he's overaggressive, it will set him back. I hope to catch up with him at the All-Star game and find out for myself exactly how the wrist is feeling. Then maybe I can give you a better projection. At this point I would say not to expect the real Big Papi until August.
Mr. Cunningham, Happy Days
I picked up Rafael Furcal hoping to pick up some quality numbers late in the year. Karabell says that Furcal is not going to play again this year. Based on what you know about his injury, am I wasting my time? Any chance he plays again this season?
stephania bell (11:15 AM)
Not so happy days for your Mr. Cunningham: I really think that his chance of playing this year is SLIM at best. It makes no sense to rush him back. The earliest would be September and then that's iffy. Don't waste any more time.
Hi Starphania. Do you think Aaron Harang's injury could present long-term problems even though his MRI came back normal? I have heard forearm troubles could possibly lead to Tommy John surgery.
stephania bell (11:19 AM)
Hi Tyler - and all the other folks asking about Harang: Great question. Many people are fooled by the "MRI is normal" result. Yes, we rely on MRIs to give us more detailed viewing of the inner workings of the body, but they are by no means perfect. What it tells us is that therer are no MAJOR structural defects that are visible or marked inflammation. But it can't detect microtrauma, trauma that is too small to visualize but can result in pain and inflammatory processes nonetheless, and which can lead to bigger problems down the line. That's why medical professionals rely heavily on their clinical exams and past experience to help inform the situation. This is why they are going to put him on the DL anyway and have said not to pick up a ball for at least a week. Yes, problems around the elbow can be a sign of bigger things to come - but they can also signify an overload injury that with rest, can quiet down and go away (look at Kazmir who started on the DL and has been outstanding ever since). So it's never clear cut - and the team has to respect the fact that the episode occurred (and don't forget, he had been struggling before, perhaps a sign that this has been bothering him for a while).
Will Bedard return to form in the 2nd half? He's had the oblique, the back, and now the shoulder this year. I need him to be the pitcher I drafted him to be.
stephania bell (11:22 AM)
Hi Mike: I am really in a quandary about Bedard. I was reviewing his history over the season last night as well as last year and I don't like some of the trends that I see. Repeated muscle injuries, a hip/back problem that never seems to hvae been really specifically diagnosed nor completely resolved and now a shoulder "stiffness" - just another vague musculoskeletal complaint, and an inability to go deep in ball games. I have had him on my own fantasy team and am about ready to give up. I was listening to the BBTN guys last night and I think they make an interesting point - that he may not be "the guy" to be one of the aces, and may thrive better in a different role in a different rotation. I am not confident that he can consistently perform the remainder of this year.
Hi Stephania, half my team is on the DL. Any news on Magglio Ordonez and King Felix?
stephania bell (11:24 AM)
Hi Dennis: King Felix is expected to start today. Ordonez is doing better and is expected to be activated next week. yes - there is occasionally good news here.
Happy Friday Stephania. What is the official injury prognosis (the team's AND yours) on Dustin McGowan's rotator cuff? What kind of recovery timetable would you expect? Is he worth holding onto in leagues with shallow benches, or would you advise managers to drop him and start digging through their league's FA pitchers? Thanks for all of your help and insight.
stephania bell (11:29 AM)
Hi Daniel - and all the other McGowan question-askers: Here's the scoop. McGowan had an MRI that showed a small rotator cuff tear. He had an MRI alst year and the same tear was present. According to the Blue Jays, there is no difference between the MRIs. It is not uncommon for pitchers to have small tears in their cuff, it is a natural byproduct of what they do. But when they have pain, it usually means there is inflammation, and then continuing to pitch in that circumstance could worsen the injury, not to mention they become ineffective. So the team plans to rehab him, give him some rest, and it is non-surgical at this point although they will send him for a second opinion. the fact that he has been able to pitch another year with the tear, without it getting worse, factors into the decision. Cuff surgery is always the last choice. So I expect rehab for at least a month, but it may extend, as it often does. I would start looking for replacements.
Hi Stephania, do you believe Ryan Church's season is over?
stephania bell (11:31 AM)
Hi John: It's a fair question. I think it is very worrisome that he is continuing to experience symptoms - although I will say that most recently he reported having a migraine - and apparently he suffered from migraines before the concussions - so was it related? Impossible to say with any certainty - but they have to err on the side of caution. There are a series of progressive activity stress tests that he will have to go through again - I think the team expects him back, but the brain is an organ that we don't fully understand and the timetable is very unique for each injury. I would not rule him out but I would certainly not count on him.
Hey Steph! It looks like we covered every elite pitcher in peril except for Wainright. The Cards report that everything is "going as expected." Of course, they were pretty vague about his injury status for the past few weeks. Now that they have "come clean" do you think he will be back at the end of July? Do you expect future issues with control and pitch selection due to the location of the injury? I would think that pitches like curves/sliders would place alot of strain on the pulley. What do you think about his return date and status? As always, thanks.
stephania bell (11:35 AM)
Hi Dave: I'm not sure that he makes the end of July -I'm thinking more likely August. You are absolutely right that breaking pitches will place more strain on the pulley, which is why those will come last. So far, he has only been cleared to play catch - basically light toss, no spinning the ball. The idea is to gradually increase the stress on the healing tissue (which does help it to heal) without overloading it. Gradually he will be allowed to throw further and harder, with any breaking pitch being absolutely last. The time it will take to progress through such a program leads me to believe we're looking at August.
Hey Stephania, do you think Mark Mulder has thrown his last pitch or do you think he'll try to recover yet again from a left shoulder problem. He was a great pitcher in his prime but these constant injuries have to be a sign that his career is almost over
stephania bell (11:37 AM)
Jeff: I was truly sad to see his latest setback b/c when someone works so hard to try to overcome something, you really have to root for him. But yes, it is looking more and more like his body will not cooperate. In the end, he will have to decide whether he wants to continue, but the Cardinals may decide to aprt ways.
Pete (Boulder Co)
Do you think Troy Tulowitski needs therapy? Not physical therapy, but the kind Tony Sorprano gets.
stephania bell (11:39 AM)
Pete: you're funny. But I think you're seeing the immaturity of a young player with a lot of pressure on him - of course, i'm referring to the bat slamming that caused the then shattered bat to slice his hand open, then stitches and another DL stint. I think it is out of frustration but he needs to channel it a little differently. Clearly this does nothing to help him or his team. I think he learned his lesson in a very public way though and maybe now he can get it together and get back to offensive power.
Justin ( Boston )
Steph, is it true you are the sole reason there are so many players on the DL?
stephania bell (11:39 AM)
Justin: Gosh I hope not - but I have been accused of that by my Fantasy Focus colleagues...
Mike ( NY,NY)
I just wanted to read your update and thoughts on Tulowitzk and Vernon Wells this morning, Please.
stephania bell (11:41 AM)
Hi Mike: Well, just gave Tulo. Wells has a Grade II injury of his distal hamstring (meaning near the tendon attachment at the knee). Don't like the location or the seriousness of the injury. They're saying 4-6 weeks. I expect closer to 6, maybe a week or two longer.
What are your thoughts on Pierre? How serious is his knee injury? When can we expect him back? Do you think he will resume his "stealing" ways? Thanks!! Love the chats!!
stephania bell (11:44 AM)
Hi Joe: Thanks for coming!! Pierre has an MCL sprain. The MCL reinforces the inner aspect of the knee and gives stability particularly with alteral directional movements, especially when cutting towards the inside of that leg. It's his left knee, so when he has to make a jump to get back on base if leading off, it will be stressed the most. In the past, guys with ligament injuries at the knees or ankles who are big base stealers, tend to take a little longer to get back and really appear confident with those maneuvers. In other words, they can hit, run, etc but they are hesitant with the jumps, making their overall stealing less effective. It is natural b/c the body has to re-learn the feel and confidence in the leg, which takes a little extra time. I think he'll get there eventually, but it may be less than his pre-injury form for the remainder of this season.
Any guys that still havn't played in 08 coming off injuries that may make in impact in the 2nd half that we should be watching?
stephania bell (11:46 AM)
Birdman: The biggest one that ocmes to mind is Chris Carpenter, coming back from TJ surgery. He is throwing well, his intensity is going up, Cardinals are very happy, but he still needs to increase his pitch count, go through rehab assignment, etc. And yes, TJ recoveries typically take 2 years until they are their old selves, but I think he can be effective and provide them another solid starter come August.
Jay ( NY)
Hi Stephania, what have you heard about the progress of Hideki Matsui? Will he be the player he was in the first half? Enjoy the All Star Weekend!
stephania bell (11:48 AM)
Hi Jay: Well, he's hitting off a tee and feeling good - but i still say that's quite a ways from getting back to a game. I am not confident that he makes it back, or if he does, they will have to really manage his play to avoid a repeat of the inflammation that resulted in 2 knee drainings. I don't think he's your first half guy - and I fully expect he gets a scope as soon as the season closes, if not before.
Good morning Stephania... What's new with Victor Martinez? Does the Sabathia trade have any affect on his timetable since they're basically giving up on this season?
stephania bell (11:50 AM)
Hi Alex: There's really not much new that has been released. He's on track and doing well, but he was pressing to come back early and the team indicated that he would not beat the orginal 4-6 week timetable. I can't say about the trade - i think he still gets managed essentially the same way regardless.
Jim Hendry (Chicago)
Not really a DL question, but it has to do with 2 injury prone players. Who would you rather have at 100% healthy. Rich Harden or Mark Prior?
stephania bell (11:51 AM)
Jim: harden - all the way - and for the record, I don't think he's "100%" - but I do think he's holding his own and is a reward greater than risk guy right now.
Does Wang pitch again this season?
stephania bell (11:52 AM)
Mario: Don't count on it. That injury was way too serious.
Jamaal (Mount Laurel, NJ)
Hello Stephania,...what is Johnny Damon's status? Will the DL time for the shoulder help heal his foot problem? Thanks very much!
stephania bell (11:55 AM)
Hi Jamaal: Good question. The rest certainly can't hurt his foot, but apparently he has been bothered by the arch problems off and on for quite some time, so I doubt it really goes away completely, but it may help temper it for the rest of the season. As far as his shoulder goes, he wants to hit off a tee next week, but it really depends on the swelling and the soreness. I think that would be quite soon - but it's somewhat individualized. I do think he'll be able to hit before he's able to play the field, but I think it will extend beyond the 15-day DL, perhaps by another week or two.
Any word on Capps? Is there a possibility he gets shut down for the season?
stephania bell (11:57 AM)
Hi RS: Nothing extraordinarily new. Still doing rehab. Still expected back first week of September. There's always a chance these guys get shut down for the rest of the year, but in his particular case, I do not think it is automatic. I still say there's a chance he returns, but it may depend where the Pirates are in September, relative to how he's feeling.
Jason (Scarsdale NY)
late to the party, sorry. When do you expect to see Chris Young on the mound again?
stephania bell (11:58 AM)
Hi Jason: Better late than never I always say. young is supposed to throw a simulated game today. If it goes well, perhaps a minor league relief appearance next week. Meaning if all goes well, another 10 days to 2 weeks before coming back is my guess.
Steve (Blacksburg, VA)
Stephania: Please tell me Hank Blalock will be back when play resumes after the ASB!!
stephania bell (12:01 PM)
Steve: I would love to tell you that but history tells me to be cautious here. I am mostly bothered by the fact that he has had a second "nerve" related problem in the same side (carpal tunnel surgery now, thoracic outlet surgery last year) and that he continues to experience swelling issues, etc disproportionate to what one would expect. I think the move to first helps him, and the team says they expect him back after the ASB, but I'll believe it when I see it.
What about Zimmerman?
stephania bell (12:02 PM)
Hey - it's early - there's not much to tell you! He's taking BP, but only feels average. Not sure he can hit for power - says if he can't, he won't come back. Team plan is late July, early August - but it's too much of an unknown right now whether he will indeed be able to hit like his old self without the surgery.
any thoughts on josh johnson?
stephania bell (12:04 PM)
Well, he's back -- outing was fairly solid. No reason to think it doesn't continue to get better from here...
stephania bell (12:05 PM)
OK everyone - my time is up. Thank you for coming to the injury chat. I appreciate all the outstanding questions!! We'll do it again next week. Enjoy the All-Star game. And may all your fantasy players return healthy afterward.