Each week Baseball Press will be providing injury news and analysis as it relates to some of the top players in the game. I'll be taking a look at the injury and the effects it will have on the player, team and more importantly, your fantasy team.
Jimmy Rollins, Brian Fuentes and Mike Gonzalez are the latest casualties of the disabled list. Because the interwebs is full of information related to baseball injuries, this week I'll be taking a look at some guys who are making their way back from injuries and could find a starting job on your fantasy team in the near future.
Brandon Webb - SP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Chief Complaint: Right shoulder
As you know, Webb missed most of last season with a right shoulder injury that required surgery in August of 2009. Webb was transferred to the 60-day disabled list this weekend, as the team needed to make room for a 5th starter (Kris Benson). The earliest Webb could be activated from the DL is May 25th. The may date seems very optimistic, as Webb has yet to throw off a mound this year. He is currently throwing on flat ground, so there is still a lot of work to be done. The first step is to get Webb pitching off a mound followed by an extended bullpen session. After those steps are completed, Webb will need to face some live batters during a few rehab appearances. Hoping for a return in early June seems unlikely, but if you can afford to keep him stashed on your team in DL spot - do so.
Daisuke Matsuzaka - SP, Boston Red Sox
Chief Complaint: Neck and back soreness
Baseball Press hit on Dice-K last week in Fast Tracked, explaining the details of his first rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket. Dice has made two quality starts, logging 11 innings, walking one, striking out 5 batters and is yet to allow a run. After his second start, Matsuzaka stated "I think I've thrown enough pitches at this point to be ready to pitch in the big leagues." He is scheduled to make another start on Tuesday of this week and could return to Boston by the end of April. He is a likely candidate for a two-start week.
Cliff Lee - SP, Seattle Mariners
Chief Complaint: Right abdominal strain
It's no surprise that Lee is owned in almost every league, as he's expected to be back by the beginning of May. Lee threw a simulated game (51 pitches) on Friday of last week and didn't experience any pain. The plan is for Lee to throw another simulated game this week, and then take a rehab assignment in the minors. If everything goes according to plan (when does it?), Lee could make his Seattle debut at home against the Texas Rangers.
Erik Bedard - SP, Seattle Mariners
Chief Complaint: Left shoulder
Another left-handed pitcher for the Mariners is also making strides to return to the rotation during the month of May. Previous stories had Bedard possibly returning around June or July, but given the recent progress, a late May return appears reasonable. Bedard threw a bullpen session earlier in the week and will now throw in a simulated game, followed by a rehab assignment. Bedard isn't on the same timetable as Lee because he's missed more time, but the Mariners are encouraged by the progress from the left-hander with the glass arm. Bedard is a scenario worth monitoring over the next few weeks. Although he is a huge injury risk, but can be lights-out when he's on his game.
Ted Lilly - SP, Chicago Cubs
Chief Complaint: Back and Shoulder
Lilly has had his rehab starts pushed back due to stiffness in his back, but was finally able to pitch for Triple-A Iowa. Lilly threw 50 pitches over 4 innings, striking out 4 and allowed one earned run on a homer. He will make one more rehab start this week with at the Single-A affiliate and, depending on the outcome, should join the Cubs next weekend against the Brewers. If Lilly is still out on your waiver wire, I strongly advise picking him up.
Lance Berkman - 1B, HOU has been out with an arthritic left knee and began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Round Rock this weekend. There is hope that the Astros can activate Berkman on Tuesday of this week when Houston opens a long homestand against the Florida Marlins. Berkman's presence would certainly provide a spark to a struggling Houston team.
Brad Lidge - RP, PHI has made four appearances with Single-A Clearwater as he works his way back from an elbow injury. The plan for Lidge is to pitch a few more games at AA and AAA and rejoin the Phillies in late April or early May.