It is about that time of year. This is the type of stuff that writers hate to report on, but it clearly places bearings on the parameters of MLB competition. Baseball is starting to see some major injuries. Whether it be players who are chronically hurt, or those fresh on the DL, baseball is experiencing a wave of pain. Here are some anecdotes on the most important of them all and how they will effect the landscape of baseball from the next few hours through 2013.
The Oakland Athletics have some short term damage to their outfield, with both OF’s Coco Crisp and Cuban rookie Yoenis Cespedes out for a short table of time. They will likely return to the fold in late May. The Milwaukee Brewers are having an ugly year so far following the crisis of LF Ryan Braun’s steroid scandal. 1B Mat Gamel and SS Alex Gonzalez both have torn ACL’s, putting them down for the year. If the infield injuries weren’t enough, CF Carlos Gomez is on the 15 day DL. Back end stalwart P Chris Narveson is out for the season as well. The Arizona Diamondbacks are ripe with hurt players such as SS Stephen Drew, P Daniel Hudson, and set-up man Takashi Saito. Losing Hudson until June will cause some rotational concerns, but P’s Trevor Bauer and Tyler Skaggs look to excel once given their chance.
Possibly the most frightening injury is Los Angeles Dodgers CF Matt Kemp. He is on the 15 day DL, and will look to return with no residual damage. Finding pop in the middle of the lineup will now be a challenge. Look for the Dodgers to lose some games, since the incredible production of Kemp is gone for some time.
The Cleveland Indians have more of the same to report. CF Grady Sizemore continues to get paid to sit and rehab. It must be nice to get that check just to watch baseball.
The Washington Nationals are missing both closing options in Drew Storen and Brad Lidge. They also have lost RF Jayson Werth to a broken wrist. However, there are still components (and young ones) in place for the Nats that will keep them in the winners circle. The San Diego Padres are missing some pitching options and still are without OF Carlos Quentin. This will not have a major influence, as the Friars are no good with or without their pitching.
The Philadelphia Phillies continue to struggle at the plate. Now P Vance Worley will miss a few starts, likely adding even more pressure to an already taxed pitching staff. The Tampa Bay Rays are going to be without young LF Sam Fuld and 3B Evan Longoria. They also have lost P Jeff Niemann for the month. The Baltimore Orioles will not likely sustain this pattern of winning, but the Rays will need all hands on deck to compete with the New York Yankees. The rival Boston Red Sox are possibly the most tattered team right now. They have lost OF’s Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Darnell McDonald. P’s John Lackey, Bobby Jenks, and Aaron Cook are gone for a time, Lackey for the season. To add to the insult, 3B Kevin Youkilis is now down for a stint after not doing much while healthy. Continuing the theme of beaten AL East rivals, the New York Yankees can add replacement closer David Robertson to the DL with CP Mariano Rivera. They are also missing portions of their rotation and outfield.
This is the stuff that nobody enjoys to write about, but it effects the league indefinitely, whether fantasy or reality.