Every baseball season, there are injuries around the league. Some are so bad that a few can never rebound and make the same impact as they did before—i.e. Carlos Beltran of the New York Mets, who has now been forced to change positions due to injury.
Depending on the situation, whether it's Tommy John surgery, a shoulder operation, elbow tendinitis or a broken foot, baseball is a very tough sport to recover in. This can be due to the fact that "Americas pastime," puts a high demand on muscles that aren't used in everyday life.
Not to mention that those muscles and ligaments are used in an unusual fashion.
The throwing motion, for one, is a prime example of overuse of certain shoulder and arm muscles.
With constant force on the knee joints, whether it be getting in a fielding position or moving side to side, the ligaments eventually began to fall apart like tread on a tire.
Baseball players bodies' are like tires. They can ride great when they're fresh and new, however, once they start to wear down from the overuse, bad things can happen.
Now that the steroid era has come and gone—at least it looks that way—more superstars are coming up with injuries. Why? Because of the constant grind on their rubber-like bodies.
A few players may never be the same again this season.
So who are they?
Carlos Beltran had microfracture knee surgery in January, 2010. Initially, he was supposed to miss up to three months, however, he ended up missing the majority of the 2010 season and did not see the field until July 15.
We are talking about a guy who only three seasons ago was regarded as one of the best five-tool players in the game. He was known as one of the elite base runners, with a high conversion rate of stolen bases.
Now, the Mets are talking about Beltran possibly starting the season on the disabled list again. This has to be seen as bad news for Mets fans—as he had a solid ending to last season finishing the last 40 games with healthy looking numbers of .295/.369/.504.
He has officially been moved to right field and it's clear that his speed is gone and it likely will never be the same.
The Washington Nationals manger, Jim Riggleman, stated last week there is, "no way," that Chien-Ming Wang will be ready by opening day.
Wang was once considered an "ace," as well as a Cy Young candidate for the New York Yankees from 2006 to 2007. Since then, he has constantly battled injuries, whether it be a foot, hamstring, hip or shoulder injury, you name it and he has had it.
Wang was expected to return to the majors in July, 2010. However, his shoulder injury was a constant nag on his body and he never saw the diamond in 2010.
Following the 2010 season, the Nationals resigned Wang to a one-year deal, with the hope of a return on their investment.
All signs point to Wang never becoming the same again.
Dustin McGowan was once regarded as one of the Toronto Blue Jays top prospects, according to Baseball America.
In July of 2008, he was put on the 15-day disabled list. With in a matter of 16 days, he was put on the injured reserve and required season-ending surgery on his shoulder.
As usual in baseball, shoulder surgery is one of the toughest injuries to battle back from. Some would even say it's the hardest.
That very well could be the reason he's still having problems with his shoulder and has since needed surgery on his rotator cuff.
These injuries have been a constant set back for McGowan, who has yet to hit the rubber since 2008.
Grady Sizemore has dealt with a couple of injuries the past two seasons. At the end of the 2009 season, he had surgery on his left elbow and this past season, after only 33 games, he required microfracture surgery on his left knee.
A two-time Gold Glove winner and a Silver Slugger winner, Sizemore has waited quite some time to return to the diamond.
With two crucial surgeries, it has yet to be seen if he can rebound into the three-time All-Star selection he once was.
A three-time All-Star selection who is a great clubhouse presence, Carlos Guillen has battled through a couple injuries as well.
During his breakout season in 2004, the middle-infielder needed ACL surgery after legging out a triple.
He was able to rehab and recover, however, the following season, his hamstring constantly was an issue.
Entering the 2009, season he was forced to sit out multiple weeks due to a nagging shoulder injury.
This season Guillen will start on the 15-day disabled list, along with his once-surgically repaired knee.
At 35 years old and going on 36, it's possible the thirteen-year veteran will have to hang the spikes up sooner rather than later.
Rich Harden was once thought as to be the center piece of the Oakland Athletics pitching rotation.
However, three years after his major league debut he encountered the disabled list for his first time.
In 2006 he was placed on the DL two times for the majority of the season.
The following season, Harden found himself back on the DL not even a month in.
Again, in 2008 he had a brief stint on the DL. Not exactly what you would like to see from your "Ace."
Well, once again, Harden is having back issues, causing him to have a very slow spring training.
It isn't quite clear how severe his injury is, but history has a tendency to repeat itself with Harden.
The two time All-Star and once steroid user has constantly battled injury since 2005.
In his breakout season in 2005, Roberts dislocated his elbow and was forced to sit out the last few weeks of the season.
Entering the 2010 season, he missed the majority of spring training due to a herniated disc in his lower back. He was able to suit up on Opening Day, but eventually suffered an abdominal strain.
Originally placed on the 15-day disabled list, Roberts wasn't back with the Orioles until July 23.
Many would say his injuries are apparent because of his alleged steroid use when "everyone was doing it." This is because steroid users are commonly known to face injuries once they stop use the performing enhancer.
Now, with a few years off the juice, he will hopefully be able to stay on the field like it's 2005.
Chase Utley is a proven player, with five All-Star selections and four Silver Slugger awards.
In 2010, he missed 42 games due to a torn ligament in his thumb and he was able to bounce back and finish strong for the Phillies.
However, during spring training of this year, the 32-year-old began to experience knee pain.
Since receiving a cortisone shot in his knee Utley has seen a minor improvement.
His injury has some leading to believe that surgery could be on the horizon if the issue doesn't go away.
If he is forced to have surgery on his knee, he most likely will be out for the 2011 season and at his age, that isn't a good thing.
The 2010 NL Cy Young Award runner-up received bad news in February that he will need Tommy John Surgery on his right elbow.
The surgery that all ballplayers dread to speak of will hold Wainwright out in 2011 and potentially a portion of 2012.
Chris Carpenter is one of Wainwright's fellow teammates who received the same surgery in 2007.
Since his return, Carpenter has been in the discussion for the Cy Young and posted a record of 33-13.
All signs should point to a successful recovery for Wainwright, however, everyone's body is different, so we won't know until at least next season.
A once-in-a-generation type player, Stephen Strasburg took the major league by storm before he even stepped on a big league field.
Known for his mass arsenal of pitches, including a 100-mph fastball, a wicked curve and a change up that will leave you swinging out of your shoes, injury derailed this sensation's first season.
His major league debut on June 8, 2010 is what I would call a once in a lifetime experience—as I was lucky enough to attend the game. Strasburg walked on water, striking out 14 Pittsburgh Pirates (a Washington Nationals record).
With a brief stint on the disabled list in July due to right shoulder inflammation, his season was cut short on August 21.
The Nationals announced Strasburg had a torn ulnar collateral ligament and would require Tommy John surgery.
It will be a long and dreadful process not only for him, but his fans as well.