My projected return dates are based on medical protocols, established rehabilitation guidelines, and evidence-based data. Most of the time I will not agree with the timelines given by teams, beat-writers, or others on social media.
A quiet spring training didn’t alert many of us to the fact that Donaldson was dealing with a shoulder ailment since early March. His throw to first after a nice defensive stab, however, caused quite a stir (pictured below).
The club said he is dealing with “dead arm” and not a medical problem. Dead arm has two common causes, a SLAP lesion to the labrum or nerve irritation. A SLAP lesion can be akin to a death sentence in a third baseman, so the club telling the media that it’s not a medical problem equates to a clean MRI. So, what of the nerve irritation? Athletes describe dead arm as the arm losing all power when they bring the arm back in preparation to throw. It typically doesn’t affect their hitting much because the shoulder position doesn’t place tension on the nerves.
Dead arm spontaneously recovers over time and with some rest. Expect Donaldson to continue to DH a little more than Kendrys Morales owners would appreciate, but he should be fine long term. A DL stint isn’t out of the question if his velocity doesn’t return quickly, the nerve irritation responds well to rest.
Estimated Return: Currently playing, but monitor closely
Yelich attempted an off-balance, late swing at the third pitch from Carlos Martinez in the 6th inning. Immediately after the swing, he stepped away from the box, looked a bit uncomfortable, stretched his torso, and then gives a pathetic ¼ speed swing at the next pitch, striking out. It was later reported that he was removed due to a tight right oblique.
A mild (grade 1) sprain can be a 2 to 3-week injury, while a moderate (grade 2) sprain can require up to 6-8 weeks to return. As more information is available, we’ll update the anticipated return date, but expect a trip to the disabled list unless this was a very precautionary removal.
Estimated Return: TBD, likely early May
Surgery to repair a fracture hamate bone in his hand took place on April 2. Media reports are reporting 4 to 6 weeks, but a return to the lineup is more likely to be 7-8 weeks away. Surgery removes any bone fragments and immobilization lasts 4-6 weeks. Another few weeks may be necessary to regain strength, a feel for hitting, and a few minor league assignments.
Estimated Return: Mid to Late May