While we may have limped our way there, we’re certainly almost to the MLB playoffs! Many fantasy leagues have started their playoffs already, while others only have a week or two left of regular season play. Even “real baseball” teams only have about two dozen games left. Some teams are already planning for October baseball and others are planning October vacations, but there are quite a few teams hoping for a coveted playoff spot and carefully scoreboard watching throughout the month. Any missed time by players can be critical at this point, even with the expanded rosters. Here’s a look at this week’s bumps and bruises (along with the more serious ones, too.)
Aaron Blair, Atlanta Braves
Braves rookie pitcher Aaron Blair has had a very rough debut season, pitching to a 8.23 ERA in 12 starts without a win. He’s also struck out only three more hitters than he’s walked. He was placed on the disabled list with a strained knee, so he’s worthy of inclusion on Infirmary Report, but it may very well be a made up injury just to keep Blair out of the rotation for a few turns.
Arodys Vizcaino, Atlanta Braves
Braves reliever Arodys Vizcaino has worked as the team’s closer at times this season, but has dealt with a few injuries lately that have derailed his 2016 season. Most recently, he was placed on the disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder. He came back from an oblique injury, but struggled since then, so the assumption can be made that he was overcompensating with his shoulder. It’s unclear how long he will be on the shelf, but it is quite possible that he has already thrown his last pitch of the season.
Steven Wright, Boston Red Sox
Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright has been battling a shoulder injury for a while now and is unsure if he will pitch again in 2016. He recently reported that his shoulder feels “about 50 percent” right now, and could not commit when asked if he would take the mound again this season. It’s a huge blow for the Red Sox and for fantasy teams alike, as Wright was having an excellent season.
Billy Hamilton, Cincinnati Reds
Reds speedster Billy Hamilton hurt himself on a check swing, injuring his oblique. He will certainly be out of the lineup for at least a week, and it could be more. Reds manager Bryan Price said the injury, “may not be a season ender” but of course left open the possibility that it would be. With September rosters at 40, the Reds won’t need to place Hamilton on the DL regardless of how much time they expect him to miss.
James Shields, Chicago White Sox
White Sox starter James Shields injured his back in his most recent start, giving up five runs while only getting seven outs. Due partly to his injury and certainly partly to his 6.07 ERA, the White Sox are considering shutting him down for the season. It should be a positive move for the team ERA.
Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros
Astros ace Dallas Keuchel has had a start pushed back then was scratched from the pushed-back start this week. He is suffering from what was originally called shoulder fatigue but was later clarified as inflammation. He has been completely shut down from throwing, and given the amount of starts he would have left in the season, he may have already thrown his final regular season pitch of 2016.
Matt Shoemaker, Los Angeles Angels
Angels starter Matt Shoemaker was the victim of one of the scariest moments of the 2016 season when he was struck in the head by a 105 mph line drive. He was able to walk off the field on his own, but needed emergency surgery to stop the bleeding and to repair a skull fracture. He is almost certainly done for the season and will instead look forward to a fresh start in 2017.
Yunel Escobar, Los Angeles Angels
Angels infielder Yunel Escobar was forced to leave a game after being hit by a pitch on his wrist. He has yet to play since getting hit, but the diagnosis is only a bruised hand. He should be back within a few days and is lucky to not have had any more serious damage.
Marcell Ozuna, Miami Marlins
Marlins center fielder Marcell Ozuna suffered a left wrist injury while making a diving catch in the outfield. He has had to sit out a few games and will likely sit out a few more. Ozuna expects to be back in the lineup for Friday’s game.
David Phelps, Miami Marlins
Miami Marlins pitcher David Phelps is having the best year of his career. He began as a setup man and turned into an elite one, then he moved into the rotation and gave his team several great starts before one bad one and an oblique injury. He was placed on the disabled list and while he has started to play catch recently, oblique injuries generally take some time to come back from, so Phelps may indeed be done for the year.
Neil Walker, New York Mets
Mets second baseman Neil Walker was placed on the 60-day disabled list and will undergo back surgery, ending his 2016 season. He has a herniated disc in his back, and while he considered rehab without surgery, he and the team doctors determined that surgery was in fact his best option, despite the fact that he would be forced to miss the remainder of the season.
Christian Bethancourt, San Diego Padres
Padres catcher (and occasionally relief pitcher) Christian Bethancourt was placed on the disabled list this week due to left intercostal strain. He suffered the injury in a game against his former team, the Braves, and is likely done for the season.