Week 1 of the baseball season has already seen a host of injuries that impact both major league teams and fantasy teams. As we close in on the weekend, let’s take a look at some of these injuries and their fantasy implications.
Evan Longoria. Longoria strained an oblique during the first weekend of the season and was placed on the disabled list on April 4, 2011. Since oblique strains can last anywhere from three to six weeks, I would not expect to see Longoria until at least April 25. Here is the trick – you cannot replace Evan Longoria; you can only hope to get some productive at-bats in the mean-time. The Rays called Felipe Lopez up to replace Longoria on the roster, and he has filled in from time to time over the past few days, though Sean Rodriguez has started there most games. Lopez is probably worth a shot in FAAB; I think we need to assume that Sean Rodriguez was purchased in all deep AL-only leagues.
Ubaldo Jimenez. Well, this will teach us all to take better care of our cuticles. To be honest, the cuticle does not bother me as much as the reduced velocity. It is early yet, so keep your finger off the panic button, but remember to check out the couple of starts after his return at the end of April. If you are in desperate need of starters in an NL-only league, Dustin Moesley might be someone to take a look at...beware, however, because he will be in Houston this coming week.
Matt Holliday. Appendectomy is the theme of the week I believe. The good news for Matt Holliday owners is that he plans on being back in the next several days. Frankly, unless you are concerned that he might be coming back too early, I would leave him active and avoid the sub-par replacements.
Adam Dunn. Appendectomy number two. Dunn claims he will be out five days, but with most FAAB selections on Saturday or Sunday, you may want to consider a one-week replacement. The question is: who? Depending on your positional flexibility, you may want to consider Sam Fuld if you need some speed while Dunn is out.
Tsuyoshi Nishioka. A number of things contributed to Nishioka’s broken leg today. First, coming from Japan, Nishioka is not used to the hard wipe-out slides. In fact, I heard today that the team worked with him quite a bit on this issue during spring training. Second, he is learning a new position, and the double play turn is considerably different from the second base side than from the shortstop side. Regardless, he is gone for at least a month, and I would not be surprised if it is closer to two to three months. The beneficiaries are Matt Tolbert for sure, and perhaps we will see the return of Kim Plouffe.
Just before press time, it now sounds like the Twins may call up Luke Hughes. He has a little bit of pop, and could earn a couple of bucks with enough at-bats. Since we know Gardenhire is in love with Tolbert, however, I would not count on it. On the waiver wire in deep AL leagues, there are likely a couple of options available, such as Brent Lillibridge, Ramon Santiago, Luis Rodriguez, Andres Blanco and John McDonald.
Andrew Cashner/Randy Wells. This is a bad break for the Cubs. Cashner only threw 72 pitches in his first start, but was forced to come out with the stiff shoulder. It sounds like he will only be out the minimal amount of time, but it does raise questions as to his potential durability as a starting pitcher. If you have some good rate stats relievers or even want to take a shot on Dustin Moesley, this might be a good time to do it. Wells is a different issue. He will not throw a baseball for about two weeks, which means he will be out for at least a month. I also cringe when I hear forearm strain, as that strain is many times a pre-cursor to bigger elbow injuries. Nonetheless, you are going to need a replacement here for innings, so scan your waiver wire closely. Casey Coleman is not an ideal replacement due to the lack of strikeouts, but if he can continue his ground-ball work, he could be okay in the short-term.
Ryan Perry. I mention Perry solely because his injury is an odd one – an eye infection. Of course, when you wear contacts, the eye infection becomes a bit more of a problem. At this point, he is a fungible reliever, and can be replaced without too much consternation.
Adam Moore. Moore tore his medial meniscus chasing down a foul ball. Josh Bard will be called up to act as Miguel Olivo's back-up.
Manny Ramirez. With Manny's "retirement," the Rays now have an open roster spot. There is a good chance that Desmond Jennings will get the call to fill the roster spot, though I certainly expect Matt Joyce to get the bulk of the playing time. If Jennings is available, however, this is the time to get him. It is also possible that the Rays will call up Casey Kotchman. We'll have to see how this plays out.