5 Injured MLB Stars Who Shouldn't Be Counted out for 2nd Half
Injuries are something every MLB franchise has to battle through, attempting to keep its head above water, until its key pieces return to contribute.
It's always difficult to predict when a player will return from the disabled list—especially with the possibility of a setback—but the players on this list are all slated to be healthy right around the All-Star break.
Here are five players who shouldn't be counted out for the second half of the 2013 MLB season.
Jake Peavy, SP, Chicago White Sox
Chicago White Sox starter Jake Peavy’s first half of the 2013 season came to a disappointing halt when MRIs revealed a non-displaced rib fracture on the left side of his chest, which will have him out at least four to six weeks, according to USA Today.
Surely we’re not going to count Peavy out for the second half of the season, right?
He’s a four-time All-Star and former Cy Young Award winner, and re-emerged as one of the best strikeout pitchers in baseball last season when he struck out 194 hitters in 219 innings last season.
Peavy began the 2013 campaign hot—winning five of his first five outings—and although he’s struggled of late, he’s still one of the better pitchers MLB has to offer at the age of 32.
Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado Rockies
Coming back from a broken rib isn’t easy, but that’s exactly what I expect Troy Tulowitzki to do in the second half of the season.
According to The Associated Press (via ESPN.com), Tulowitzki will miss four to six weeks with a right rib fracture that he suffered while diving for a ball at shortstop in a 5-4 loss to the Washington Nationals.
Tulo was having one of the best seasons of anyone in baseball, hitting .347 with 16 homers and 51 RBI—an average that led the Colorado Rockies. The two-time Gold Glover is fresh off a season in which he only played into the month of June due to season-ending groin surgery.
Judging by Tulowitzki’s injury history and how he’s bounced back in the past, there’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll come back stronger than ever to the Rockies lineup once fully healed. It’s just a matter of if Colorado can keep pace without its superstar.
Michael Pineda, SP, New York Yankees
The Jesus Montero-for-Michael Pineda deal could finally come to fruition for the New York Yankees during the second half of the 2013 MLB season.
Of course, New York gave up Hector Noesi and acquired Jose Campos in the deal, but the Yankees were excited at the prospect of Pineda, who led all American League rookies in strikeouts during his rookie campaign in 2011.
Pineda is making progress in returning from an anterior labral tear in his pitching shoulder that kept him out of the entire 2012 season, as he's begun his rehab assignment and could even be back prior to the All-Star break, according to Peter Kerasotis of The New York Times.
Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York writes that Brian Cashman and the rest of the Yankees brass will soon decide if Pineda will be brought into the Yankees rotation or stay in the minors. But as long as Pineda shows velocity on his fastball during his rehab, I think he makes the rotation.
If he does, Pineda could be a key contributor to a New York starting rotation that currently ranks 12th in baseball in ERA (3.85).
Ryan Vogelsong, SP, San Francisco Giants
Ryan Vogelsong's injury was extremely unfortunate for the San Francisco Giants for a couple of reasons.
For one, it happened at the plate rather than on the mound. And two, although it was early, he was having one of his best outings of the season.
Vogelsong broke two bones in his right pinkie and dislocated a knuckle on his right hand while swinging, and was forced to undergo surgery the day after the injury, according to the AP (via ESPN.com).
The AP is also reporting that Vogelsong is still six to eight weeks away from pitching, which certainly puts his return after the All-Star break.
Despite the injury, I wouldn't count the 35-year-old out for the second half of the season.
Vogelsong won three games during the Giants' World Series run last fall and still has plenty to contribute to San Francisco despite the ugly numbers (2-4, 7.19 ERA) this season.
Derek Jeter, SS, New York Yankees
The New York Yankees have fared well so far in the 2013 season—especially given all of the injuries the club has suffered—but getting their captain back will make a difference for the Bronx Bombers in the second half of the season.
Derek Jeter is still rehabbing from a broken ankle suffered in the 2012 ALDS versus the Detroit Tigers, but the 38-year-old shortstop received excellent news this week when he was cleared to return to full baseball activities, according to Matt Snyder of CBS Sports.
The 13-time All-Star was one of New York’s most productive hitters last season, hitting .316/.362/.429 with 15 home runs, 32 doubles, 99 runs and an MLB-high 216 hits.
Getting Jeter back won’t only bolster the Yankees offense; it’ll add the veteran leadership and fire necessary to make a postseason run.
The timetable for Jeter’s return is mid-July, or right around the All-Star break, per Snyder.
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