Massage Table Mentionables: Fantasy Baseball Injury Outlook

Bret HoffmanCorrespondent IApril 23, 2009

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 13: Infielder Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees hugs Jorge Posada at batting practice before a game against the Tampa Bay Rays April 13, 2009 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

"MTM" is our Thursday topic at the during the MLB season. In these articles we attempt to update you on the latest injuries, and also inform you how some previously injured players are progressing, or not.

These are the ones that are worth keeping an eye on to me at this point.

1) Xavier Nady, Alex Rodriguez and Chien-Ming Wang - Yankees

It looked bad early on for Nady, as it appeared he would need Tommy John surgery to repair his injured elbow, which would have ended his season. That doesn't appear to be the case now, as he will simply rehab the elbow and give it a go at some point down the road.

You can stash Nady on your DL if you want, and I think he's a good enough player to support that decision, but I wouldn't expect much from him in 2009. Just limit your expectations, as Nady is probably just delaying the inevitable, and will eventually need the surgery.

A-Rod is expected to rejoin the Yankees around May 15th. His rehab is going well, and he has increased his drills. You don't need any advice on him, just hope he doesn't choke when it's crunch time.

The Yankees are contemplating whether or not to place Wang on the DL. As long as they don't place him on the mound, starting for them, I don't think they can mess up too badly.

2) John Lackey, Ervin Santana and Kelvim Escobar - Angels

The Angels are without two their best two pitchers, and Escobar isn't horrible by any means, and could be part of the reason for their early season struggles.

Lackey, who is out with a forearm strain/tightness, has been throwing bullpen sessions with no reported problems. The team expects him back sometime in early May.

Santana, who began the season on the DL with elbow problems, has been throwing bullpen sessions as well, and the team expects an early May return for him too.

Escobar, on the DL with shoulder problems, suffered a set back in his rehab stint. They now expect him to be back sometime in June.

So, be patient Angel fans, the cavalry is coming soon.

3) Chad Cordero - Mariners

The one time All-star closer for the Nationals, began the season of the Mariners DL with shoulder problems. He has been throwing simulated games, and could possibly return in early May.

He would be someone to keep and eye on if you need some saves, but that's if his arm holds up. Just be aware that he is coming back, and could possibly return to form.

4) Melvin Mora - Orioles

Currently on the DL for the Orioles with a hamstring injury, Mora is also expected to make an early May return. He's guy who can provide your fantasy squad with some cheap power, if he's available in your league.

5) Josh Hamilton - Rangers

Is DTD with bruised ribs, but expects to be back in the lineup today. Nothing too serious as of now, but just keep an eye on it, as these type of injuries can be nagging.

Hamilton has already struggled to start 2009, and a rib injury doesn't actually help your swing any. Ryan Braun had the same sort of injury in the World Baseball classic, and he's just now looking fully recovered.

Josh is tough, and I'm sure he will play through it, but it may be awhile before he's 100 percent.

6) Jason Isringhausen - Devil Rays

The one time great Cardinal closer is a now a member of the Devil Rays. He had elbow surgery in the off-season and they are expecting him back in late April.

This is another guy, much like Cordero, who could find himself in a closing role before season's end. Again, that's if his arm will hold up. But, Troy Percival is pretty old, and no specimen of health himself, so Jason could see some save opportunities down the line for the Rays.

7) Kris Benson and Eric Hurley - Rangers

Two of the Rangers pitchers , which they don't have a lot of to begin with, are currently on the DL. Hurley's season is over after tearing his rotator cuff, and Benson has landed on the 15 day DL with elbow issues.

Texas has some good pitching prospects in the minors, so keep an eye on the situation and see how their young guns handle the call-up.

Derek Holland is the one to watch at this point. You always want to land the next big pitching prospect, and Holland is highly praised.

8) Dice-K, John Smoltz, Jed Lowrie and Julio Lugo - Red Sox

Dice-K, and his strained shoulder, are expected back in mid May. No need to rush him at this point, because the Sox are on a tear, winning seven straight.

John Smoltz is expected back around June 1, and should give the Sox the push they need to make the playoffs. Smoltz is a veteran who can get the job done, and would be a great addition to any real life, and fantasy, staff if he is indeed healthy.

Jed Lowrie had wrist surgery on April 21, and a mid season comeback is possible. Lowrie tried to play through the pain, but was only one for 18 to start the season.

Julio Lugo is expected back sometime in late April, not that I think he will be a viable fantasy option, but some might want to deploy him. He should be the every day starter at SS, at least until Lowrie is healthy again.

Playing time won't be an issue, and Lugo will have plenty of opportunities to produce, so he might be worth a look, especially in deeper leagues.

9) Alex Gordon - Royals

Had a hip injury similar to A-rod's, he underwent surgery on April 17th, and is expected to be back sometime in late June. Gordon is a good young player on a much improved Royals team. Don't count him out late in the year.

10) Jeremy Bonderman and Dontrelle Willis - Tigers

Bonderman is hitting 90 mph in his bullpen session, and is expected to return to the Tigers sometime in late April/early May. He can be a usable fantasy pitcher, as he should get plenty of run support from the potent Tiger offense as they hit their stride.

Willis made his first rehab start on April 21. He is expected to be back with the Tigers by early May. Willis was once a dominant pitcher, so he is at least worthy of keeping track of.

11) Joe Mauer - Twins

The great Twins backstop is currently in a rehab stint in the minors, and barring any setbacks, is expected to return around May 1. The Twins, and his fantasy owners, desperately need him to return.

12) Jose Valverde - Astros

The Astros' save machine from just a year ago is DTD with a pulled calf muscle in his right leg. Valverde has struggled so far in 2009 with injuries.

Nothing severe to this point, but you kind of expect him to land on the DL at some point in the season with the way it is going. Just keep an eye on him.

13) Trevor Hoffman - Brewers

One of the greatest closers of all time, Hoffman is expected to be back with the Brewers on April 26. He is a risky play, but could provide you with some saves down the road.

Picking him up and watching how he does, before actually deploying him, might now be a bad idea. If you wait, and he does well, you will probably be too late.

14) Chris Carpenter and Troy Glaus - Cardinals

Carpenter, and the rib cage injury he sustained while batting, is expected to make a late May return. He is to be re-evaluated in late April, so keep an eye on him for any changes.

Even if he comes back, the chances of him staying healthy look pretty slim at this point.

Troy Glaus could be back for the Cardinals by mid June. Glaus is a guy who could add some pop to your fantasy club late in the year. Don't forget about him.

15) Brandon Webb - Diamondbacks

Webb is expected to return to the D-backs in late April/early May.

Haren has been great in his absence, but the thing that's scary about owning an Arizona pitcher is that they get very little, to no, run support. Of course you want Webb on your team, just don't be surprised is his offense costs him some wins, as it has already cost Haren three.

16) Jorge Cantu - Marlins

Is off to a good start for the Marlins, but has had some wrist issues lately. He is currently DTD, and will try to give it a go on Friday April 24.

Keep an eye on this one, as he might eventually land on the DL. You need your wrist to play baseball, just ask Jed Lowrie, or more notably Nomar Garciaparra, who has seen his career go downhill due to wrist issues.

17) Christian Guzman - Nationals

Was off to a great start for the Nationals before injuring his hamstring. He is expected to return in mid May, and is someone who can give your team a batting average lift.

18) Ryan Doumit - Pirates

This guy could be a solid fantasy producer at catcher, but he just can't seem to stay healthy. His latest injury is a fractured wrist, which he underwent surgery for on April 22, and he is expected to rejoin the Pirates in late June.