Jason Kipnis of the Cleveland Indians “will miss the next few weeks” due to a shoulder injury, Manager Terry Francona said Sunday morning. It is the same shoulder and injury that caused him to miss several weeks last season.
According to the Fantasy Doctor’s Dr. Selene Parekh, the injury typically has players out two to four weeks. Anti-inflammatories, rehabilitation and rest are helpful.
Francona has already confirmed that his two-time All Star will not be ready for Opening Day. The Indians are eyeing a return to the World Series this season, which likely means they will allow Kipnis to truly heal from the injury. That makes him a serious candidate to begin the season on the disabled list. With that said, Kipnis should drop significantly in fantasy drafts. But owners should still be healthy for five of the six months of the regular season, so if he drops in drafts, consider taking the blow in April in order to reap in his production later in 2017.
In the meantime, Jose Ramirez will likely slide over to second base. Ramirez had a terrific 2016 season, batting .312 with 176 hits in his breakout season. He was slated to be the starting third baseman in 2017 but Kipnis’ early season injury will likely force him to play second base.
Kipnis typically bats second for Cleveland and it is uncertain how his absence will affect the lineup. But Ramirez is at least a candidate to move up to the second spot in the batting order. He should already be targeted by owners in 10 and 12 team leagues. However, if he can temporarily bat second, he will be in position to start the season off hot.
25-year-old Giovanny Urshela will likely see the biggest increase in playing time in light of his teammates injury. With Ramirez likely on his way to play second base to start the season, Urshela stands as the most experience third baseman on the 25-man roster. He spent 2016 with the Columbus Clippers, the team’s AAA-affiliate, where he batted .274 with eight home runs in more than 450 at-bats. Despite a likely increase in playing time, he still has much to prove before being picked up in standard leagues.