Fantasy baseball Injury Report: Updates on Reyes, Cueto and more
It's only the third week of the baseball season, but several star fantasy players have already been struck by injuries, forcing owners to improvise and alter lineups. Here's the latest news to help with your lineups and waiver moves this week.
• SS Jose Reyes, Toronto Blue Jays: Just as the Blue Jays' offense was finally gelling, an awkward slide into second base landed Jose Reyes on the DL, likely until the All-Star break. Reyes did not suffer a fracture or a tear, but keep in mind that the healing time for a sprain is often less certain than for a fracture, which could delay his return. In Reyes' absence, the Blue Jays will play Maicer Izturis at short and will consider using Brett Lawrie at second base (he's getting time there in the minors while working his way back from a rib cage injury) and Jose Bautista at third. Reyes' owners drafted him with an early pick and won't be able to find comparable value on the wire, but if you're looking for a stopgap, see if Jhonny Peralta, Andrelton Simmons or Zack Cozart is available in your league.
• SP Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds: Cueto landed on the 15-day DL with a strained lat muscle on his pitching side following just his second start of the season. Cueto has a history injuries, including an oblique strain during last year's postseason and a biceps injury in 2011, so the Reds are smart to play it safe with their ace. It's unclear how long he'll be out, but it is clear that the Reds will call up pitching prospect Tony Cingrani from the minors. The word is that Cingrani may get the Thursday start after pitching just two innings (both scoreless) Sunday against Toledo before being pulled. If he's still available in your league, grab him ASAP as Cueto's replacement.
• OF Yoenis Cespedes, Oakland Athletics: The Angels are being cautious with Cespedes, who jammed up his hand while sliding on April 12. Since it's his bottom hand, they don't want him to play through pain and compensate elsewhere, possibly damaging his swing. Cespedes said the pain remains on the palm side of the hand, not the outside, and an MRI revealed no structural damage to the tendons, which is promising. In the meantime, center fielder Chris Young will see increased playing time in the outfield while Cespedes is out, and Michael Taylor will come up from the minors to fill Cespedes' roster spot.
• RP Kyuji Fujikawa, Chicago Cubs: Many owners likely jumped on Fujikawa when he won the Cubs' closing job from Carlos Marmol last week, but they were rewarded with a strained right forearm, forcing a trip to the 15-day DL. However, Fujikawa said this injury (yes, it's a recurring thing) has kept him on the DL for about 10 days in the past, so hang onto him for now if you can spare the roster spot.
• SS Erick Aybar, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Another shortstop landed onto the DL when the Angels' medical staff determined that Aybar wasn't making enough progress after sustaining a bruised left heel on April 9. Owners, be wary. "Not making enough progress" isn't a phrase you want to hear about your shortstop's injury, especially one to his foot. See him through this, but don't be surprised if it plagues him later in the season. Again, if you need a fill in, check for the shortstops mentioned above.
• RP Jason Motte, St. Louis Cardinals: St. Louis' bullpen has been a mess, and Motte's strained right elbow is the biggest reason why. There's a reasonable chance that Motte won't pitch this season, as he'll have to seriously consider surgery if he isn't able to throw by May. Manager Mike Matheny will likely keep using the struggling Mitchell Boggs as the closer, but Matheny may give rookie Trevor Rosenthal a chance to fight for the gig if the Cardinals' relief woes continue. Keep Motte on your DL, because he could return and be a stud, but be prepared with a backup plan if he does opt for surgery.
• SP Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers: Since his near-perfect game, Darvish has struggled with a blister on his finger, which caused him to leave his second start of the season in the fifth inning. Unfortunately, when you're a pitcher in the major leagues, you can't just slap some Neosporin and a bandage on something like that and let it heal. The Rangers are giving Darvish an extra two days off this week, avoiding a start in the projected chilly weather in Chicago. Fantasy owners aren't going to bench Darvish, who's been a strikeout machine, but they need to adjust for only having Darvish pitch once this week and must watch him closely to determine if the blister will be a lingering problem this year.
• 1B Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees: It looks like Mark Teixeira will be hanging out on the DL for longer than expected. Hopes were high that he would be cleared to swing at an April 12 check up, but doctors recommended that he build up more strength. The Yankees are being cautious with Teixeira in order to avoid surgery, and he may start to swing again as early as Friday. If you drafted Big Tex, you're not going to drop him now, but the encouraging progress reports that followed his initially grim prognosis no longer hold.