MLB IL Report: When It Rains, It Pours
Nic Civale is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and former NCAA Division I Baseball player. He combines his knowledge of anatomy and physiology with that of baseball mechanics to provide expectations for players who will be rehabbing this offseason. Utilize His MLB IL Report to minimize the impact of injuries on your fantasy teams.
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MLB IL Report: When It Rains, It Pours
Juan’s Gon’ Be Okay
Juan Soto may be one of the best pure hitters of this generation. No one would call you crazy if you said he could be the best player of this generation. In late April, 2021, he has already shown his immense talents, plate discipline, and importance in the short season. But now he deals with a left triceps injury that has landed him on the MLB IL.
Triceps muscles are meant to extend, or straighten, the elbow. They are particularly active in any motion in which the athlete releases a baseball. Although this sounds like a terrible muscle to injury as an outfielder, there’s no need to panic.
The Triceps’ Role
The triceps muscle is quite active in the throwing motion, however the firing and relaxing of the muscle is relatively gradual. This is especially true for an outfielder where their wind up and throw is accompanied by a crow hop and a long arm circle. Scapular and rotator cuff muscles are also at play, stabilizing and propelling the throwing arm. In this situation, the triceps are really more of a guide than a propeller. I am therefore not significantly concerned with Soto as a defender, but let’s talk about what is relevant to fantasy baseball; Soto the hitter.
With mild left-sided triceps irritation, Soto likely feels related pain in two positions in particular. As he drives the bat forward and makes contact with the ball (which he does 83.3% of the time in the zone) the triceps must fire to help stabilize the impacted bat. The triceps also works in congruence with rotator cuff and scapular musculature to maintain a stable base for the elbow and wrist to move. The next most important for the triceps is the swing finish. As Soto finishes his Hall of Fame swing, his left arm holds on to the bat and is stretched across his body, helping to slow down the bat.
It is impossible to know exactly when Soto feels the most discomfort without asking him. But we can be confident this injury is one that will not likely linger. The triceps muscle is more important to other positions in sports, such as a pitcher, a football lineman or a boxer. The motions required for a lefty swinging a bat require left triceps activation, but more as a stabilizer and less as a generator of power.
Expect Soto back at, or near the 10-game mark and get excited because we should likely see him back before the month is over.
The Rest of The League
Acuna, dealing with a strained abdominal muscle, could return to the lineup for Friday’s game against the Diamondbacks. This injury is not likely to be anything significant. We can expect him to be a bit conservative with head-first slides or diving plays over the next week or so. But he’s a hyper-athletic young man who probably heals faster than you or me.
Anthony Rendon is “getting really really close,” per Joe Maddox. His groin strain is getting closer to being resolved and he should be back on the field sometime next week or even this weekend.
Soroka, like Springer, developed a second injury while serving time on the IL. His shoulder irritation has prevented him from resuming throwing at this time. He won’t likely return until May or June, which may ultimately be better for his Achilles.
Sale, recovering from a 2020 Tommy John surgery threw in the outfield at Fenway Park on Tuesday. He will head to Florida to continue his rehab Sunday,
Severino has been progressing as expected after Tommy John. The median target date for his return should be right around the All-Star break if nothing changes. Brian Cashman gave the broad range of June-August, but a post-All-Star break return would make sense.
Lynn will spend the minimum time on the IL with his trapezius strain, per Tony La Russa. He will miss only the one start.
Bellinger has been taking swings and jogging throughout the week following his hairline fibula fracture. This is a pretty positive sign that all timetables for his return are right on schedule. The main concern here is that they need to let his fibula heal completely before risking another impact and a more severe fracture.
Bellinger (leg) participated in light jogging and took swings Monday, Matthew Moreno of Dodger Blue reports. Plan to be without Belli for at least 3-4 weeks, more likely 5-6.
Sixto Sanchez and Elieser Hernandez
Sixto is, “still a ways out,” per GM Kim Ng, dealing with right shoulder inflammation. Elieser will be throwing a bullpen session next week, as he gets closer to returning to a starting role with the Marlins. It is difficult to speculate on his return timetable before he throws a few more ‘pens. Elieser has been dealing with biceps inflammation, but it appears he is feeling better. Last year Hernandez dealt with a lat strain, and he hasn’t been particularly healthy throughout his young major league career. Hopefully, he will change that narrative when he returns.
Marte & Marte
Ketel took live BP on Wednesday and is nearing a return to play, but the Diamondbacks are not expecting him back at the soonest possible date of this Sunday. He is returning from a hamstring strain.
Starling will be expecting a weekly (or maybe more frequent) X-ray to determine how quickly his rib fracture will heal. This injury has a very wide range of outcomes, ranging from a minimum IL stay to over a month. This will largely depend on how he subjectively feels with baseball activity. More updates via imaging are expected soon- look out for them this weekend or early next week.
The much-awaited 2021 debut of Hayes will be delayed further. He has aggravated the left wrist that he injured back in Spring Training, and the expected April return is now in Jeopardy. He will return to Pittsburgh to be re-examined. We could be waiting a while longer for his return.
Dinelson Lamet was removed from his start this past week with right forearm tightness. Yikes! He will head to the IL. Initially, the Padres said he would get an MRI for further examination, and now they’re saying he won’t and that he feels better. This is basically what you signed up for if you drafted Lamet. I will be keeping my eye on the Padres’ interesting handling of injuries. Their hasty reinstatement of Tatis and their indecision with Lamet seems a bit strange from an onlooker’s point of view.
Avon Old Farms alum, and a former high school rival of mine George Springer, is getting closer. He is participating in baseball activities on the field while recovering from oblique and now quad strains. “Not quite at 100 percent with all of it, but getting live [batting practice] reps here in the coming hours and days,” Ross Atkins, Toronto GM, said. George was rehabbing a strained oblique but has his start to the season delayed by a strained quad. He is, however, playing in an inter-squad game this Friday, and may be in the lineup sometime next week.
Jordan Romano may return from ulnar neuritis (ulnar nerve inflammation) later this week. It appears the irritation was minimal and he is already nearly back to form. Expect Romano back in the next few days, likely as the closer of the Blue Jays.
Pitching Coach, Pete Walker says Pearson is slated to throw a live game on Tuesday. Pearson will likely be progressed conservatively with his groin strain, maybe returning in May or June.
Merryweather’s oblique strain appears to be fairly significant and the Blue Jays have decided to shut him down a few weeks. With injuries piling up, he’s a difficult stash unless you have room for him. Jordan Romano is returning soon and may take the closer role in Toronto (Dunedin).
The pride of Hilo, Hawaii is expected back this weekend from his oblique strain and should be a staple atop the Brewers lineup from here on out.
Adalberto has yet to swing and has no timetable for return after his oblique strain from spring training.
There is a good chance Strasburg’s shoulder inflammation has stemmed from compensations following his return from Carpal Tunnel surgery. When there is such a surgery, the patient is casted, and not allowed to actively contract forearm muscles for at least 4 weeks. After this, Strasburg would have partaken in physical therapy immediately. However, it is difficult for a pitcher to regain similar forearm strength after 4+ weeks of inactivity in such a short time. I am not confident this will be Strasburg’s final IL visit this year, due to his long history of injury and his more recent surgical history. He’s currently throwing flat ground and will progress to mound work soon.
For more help in getting ready for the coming week, check out Eric Cross’s latest Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire column.
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