Second Half Outlook for Injured Hitters

July 19, 2018 | insideinjuries | No Comments

Josh Donaldson 3B, TOR: calf strain

  • Injury Date: May 28 (setback on June 26)
  • Expected Return: early August
  • Current Injury Risk: High

Multiple calf strains forced Donaldson to miss nearly 50 games last season, and now he is been out almost two months with the same injury. He resumed baseball activities in late June but had to be shut down again due to a setback while fielding ground balls. Now three removed from his latest problem, Donaldson has again resumed fielding and taking some swings, but he remains at least a few weeks away from a return and will need to go on a rehab assignment before being activated from the DL.

The Optimal Recovery Time for a moderate calf strain is around 5 weeks, but because of Donaldson’s history of calf problems and his age, his recovery time should be even longer. It was no surprise that he suffered a setback because he had not hit that 5 week mark when he started to ramp up his activity level. It sounds like he is again making progress, but he still can’t be trusted. Donaldson’s Injury Risk remains incredibly High. We can’t expect much from him for the rest of the year.

Yoenis Cespedes OF, NYM: hip/quad strain

  • Injury Date: May 6 (setback in early June)
  • Expected Return: July 20
  • Current Injury Risk: High

Like Donaldson, Cespedes continues to suffer the same lower body injuries over and over again. Last season it was a series of hamstring strains, and in 2016 it was a quad strain. These are all related injuries. Cespedes initially landed on the DL with a quad strain in early May but suffered a setback, injuring his hip. Lower body muscular strains often become a recurring problem and can quickly lead to other associated injuries.

Cespedes was cleared last week to go on a rehab assignment and could be activated for the Mets’ first game following the All Star break. It will help that he can DH while playing at Yankee stadium, but his Injury Risk is still too High. He shouldn’t be playing yet. His HPF (Health Performance Factor- Inside Injuries’ predictor of performance) is also Below Average, an indication that he won’t play well at least for the next few weeks due to his injuries.

Gary Sanchez C, NYY: groin strain

  • Injury Date: June 25
  • Expected Return: July 20
  • Current Injury Risk: High

Sanchez landed on the DL in late June after an MRI showed a groin strain. Inside Injuries gave him a four week Optimal Recovery Time as this can be a tough injury for a catcher. Sanchez also has a concerning injury history that includes previous problems with his groin. He has already started a rehab assignment and could be just a few days away from returning to the Yankees lineup. His HPF will remain “Poor” for at least the next week. If he is used as the DH he should be ok at the plate, but catching puts a lot of stress on the groin. It’s best to just have him hit over the next few weeks and then slowly have him start to see more work behind the plate.

Carlos Correa SS, HOU: back injury

  • Injury Date: June 26
  • Expected Return: early August?
  • Current Injury Risk: High

Correa has been sidelined since late June with “lower back soreness,” but there’s clearly something more going on here like a mild strain. Correa hoped to go on a rehab assignment over the All Star break but isn’t doing “anything aggressively on the field that would warrant a plan in place” to have him play in any games. His Injury Risk remains High. Even when he is cleared to go on a rehab assignment we will need to keep a close eye on him in the coming weeks. Back injuries are highly recurrent, whether it be in a few weeks or the following season.

Gleyber Torres 2B, NYY: right hip strain

  • Injury Date: July 4
  • Expected Return: July 23
  • Current Injury Risk: Elevated

The Yankees are looking forward to having two of their young stars back in the lineup. Sanchez has been out with his groin strain, and Torres landed on the DL earlier this month with a right hip strain. Our algorithm is showing that things are looking much better for Torres than for Sanchez. Torres has already improved his Injury Risk from High to Elevated, and his HPF is Peak after hitting his July 17 Healthy to Return Date. He felt good while running the bases on Monday and will go on a short rehab assignment before being activated, hopefully early next week.

Yasiel Puig OF, LAD: right oblique strain

  • Injury Date: July 8
  • Expected Return: unknown
  • Current Injury Risk: High

Puig is one of those players who always seems to pop up the injury report with something. This time it’s a right oblique strain, an injury he hasn’t ever faced before. He is about to hit his July 22 Healthy to Return Date but for now remains a High Injury Risk. Oblique strains are easily aggravated, so he needs to take things slow as he rehabs from the injury. Puig was initially expected to miss “a few weeks,” and there hasn’t been any indication that he is close to a return. The Dodgers have plenty of depth, so they can afford to be very patient.

Ryan Braun OF, MIL: back strain

  • Injury Date: June 29
  • Expected Return: unknown
  • Current Injury Risk: High

Braun landed on the DL just before the All Star break for the second time this season due to a lower back strain. This is a recurring back injury that dates back to last year. Braun has already had issues with his right thumb- he missed a week in June after receiving cryotherapy, a procedure that he has undergone before for the ongoing problem. Braun also battled multiple calf strains last season, and he is a player we said not to draft before the season. He has far too many ongoing injury concerns, with his back being the biggest red flag. Back problems don’t just go away; they may temporary get better but they almost always resurface. There is currently no timeline for his return. Braun will remain a High Injury Risk even when he is cleared, and that likely won’t improve for the rest of the season.

What to Expect from Injured Aces in the Second Half