The latest injury updates and analysis from insideinjuries.com
Garrett Richards SP, Angels: right forearm injury
An MRI on Richards’ right arm showed damage to the UCL, which could mean Tommy John surgery. He will evaluate all options and could choose to try the rest and rehab route if the tear is minor enough. Most of the time, though, surgery makes the most sense. If he does go under the knife, he would likely miss all of the 2019 season as the recovery time is 14-18 months with no setbacks.
Richards has a concerning injury history (Inside Injuries had him at an Elevated Injury Risk before his latest arm problem) that includes a 2017 biceps strain that landed him on the 60-day DL and 2016 elbow problems. He decided to forgo Tommy John surgery last time and received a stem-cell injection for a partial UCL tear. A follow-up exam showed that the ligament was healing, but further damage down the road is always a likely possibility. Shohei Ohtani previously had a mild UCL sprain and is no longer pitching due to a grade 2 UCL sprain (which indicates a partial tear).
Ronald Acuna OF, Braves: mild groin strain
Acuna suffered a mild groin strain just one week after returning from the DL following a scary ACL sprain. Related injuries like this often happen as a player returns, sometimes due to overcompensation and sometimes because they are still working on their conditioning. He was back in the lineup just a few days later, although his Injury Risk remains Elevated. He needs to be careful throughout the next few weeks if he feels any sort of soreness or tightness in his lower body. It can quickly turn into something more serious, and it isn’t worth the risk at this point in the season.
Yadier Molina C, Cardinals: sore right shoulder
Molina was forced to miss a few games earlier in the week due to discomfort in his right shoulder. While it isn’t anything overly serious, our algorithm is showing that it’s best for him to sit for a week (or at least only be used as a pinch-hitter). With the All Star break approaching, the right move is to sit him now so he can get some extra rest. Molina has been pretty beat up recently, and the rest would be incredibly beneficial for the second half of the year.
Asdrubal Cabrera 2B, Mets: hyperextended left elbow
Cabrera has been playing through a left elbow injury for a few weeks and re-aggravated it on Tuesday. It is being called a “hyperextension,” which can cause a few different problems, but more than likely it is a slight sprain to the joint. The Optimal Recovery Time is around two weeks, but playing through it is only going to make it worse and lengthen the recovery time. The injury bothers him more when he faces lefties, so he may choose to just hit from the left side no matter who he is facing. Cabrera currently has a Poor HPF (Health Performance Factor), an indication that he isn’t going to play well while trying to fight through this injury. Also, his High Injury Risk proves that he is at a concerning risk of suffering a worse injury.
Sean Doolittle RP, Nats: toe nerve irritation
The Nationals hoped that their closer could play through a toe injury, but when an MRI showed a strain/nerve irritation, they decided to place him on the DL. We said all along that this was the right move, as any minor injury can cause a slight tweak in mechanics, leading to poor pitching and possibly a more severe injury. With the All-Star break approaching he will have a nice break to get healthy for the second half of the season. If he shuts things down for two weeks that should be plenty of time for him to return fully healthy later this month. July 22 should be his target date according to our analytics.
Felix Hernandez SP, Mariners: back stiffness
Hernandez will be sidelined through the All-Star break after landing on the DL with stiffness in his back. His Injury Risk jumped to High as back problems can be very tricky. If the injury is mild, as we suspect, a return in late July is realistic. Hernandez isn’t having an impressive season. Once an ace of this Mariners staff, he has now posted an 8-7 record with a 5.13 ERA. The time off could be good for him not just so his back can heal, but also so he can refocus and work on any slight mechanical adjustments that could improve his numbers down the stretch.
Yasiel Puig OF, Dodgers: oblique strain
Puig is no stranger to injuries, but this is his first core muscle injury. Puig was in obvious pain following a swing, and an MRI confirmed the oblique strain. This is a notoriously slow injury to heal and always takes longer than expected to improve. Puig’s Optimal Recovery Time is currently 3 weeks, so he needs to be very careful if he tries to take any swings before the end of the month. Oblique strains are easily re-aggravated and made worse, which could lead to an absence lasting well over a month.
Avisail Garcia OF, White Sox: hamstring strain
A hamstring strain already sidelined Garcia for nearly two months earlier this season, and now he is back on the DL with the same injury. Re-aggravations like this are extremely concerning, and he could be looking at another lengthy absence. That’s why he was a High Injury Risk ever since he first got hurt in April- he never improved to Elevated or Low. Now his Injury Risk has jumped from 27% to 40% with the latest setback, which is very high. It’s a tough loss for the White Sox, as he was crushing the ball before his injury. Garcia was hitting .333 with 13 RBI and 8 homers in the 17 games since his return from the first DL stint.
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