While 2020 will always be remembered as the year of the coronavirus pandemic, this 60-game sprint of an MLB season might also rightly be recalled in the future as the Year of the Injury. In just seven weeks, there have been 357 stints on the injured list (not including players missing time due to COVID-19) compared to 585 stints in 2018 and 574 in 2019, both seasons of normal length. While the exact cause of this jump can be debated, the result of it cannot.
As the season approaches its denouement, having players return from injury is the last big boost a team can get in the push toward the postseason. With 25 of baseball's 30 teams within five games of a playoff spot entering play Thursday, every win, every run, can make a difference. So let's sort out the injury returns, from the big to the little to the inconsequential.