March is fantasy baseball draft month, and with only a week left, leagues are beginning to finalize and finish their drafts. The fantasy baseball season officially kicks off on Opening Day, which is a little over a week away. Over the past week or two, a number of high caliber players have gone down. Here is some injury news to be aware of as you head into the final week of drafting, as some of the injured players may start the season on the disabled list.
Ramirez needs surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb and will be out for eight weeks. He injured himself in the World Baseball Classic championship game against Puerto Rico. The eight week timetable puts him at a possible mid-to-late May return, but more likely early June.
The Padres’ third baseman is out with a small fracture on the tip of his left thumb. The estimated time for his return to action is 4-6 weeks, which could mean a possible, early May return.
Advice: Headley will likely slip in drafts, and if he is still sitting there in round five you may want to consider scooping him up. Headley finally hit on his potential in 2012; I would grab him and stash him on your DL until he is ready.
The first baseman has an to the tendon sheath in his right wrist, which is the same ailment Jose Bautista dealt with last year, which required surgery. GM Brian Cashman recently estimated that Teixeira has about a 70 percent chance of avoiding surgery. If he has an operation, it would end his season.
Advice: Teixeira will likely not return until June at the earliest. Keep in mind if you draft him, you are taking a chance, because if he ends up needing surgery, he will likely be done for the season. Kevin Youkilis has seen time at first base this spring, as well as Juan Rivera.
The righty threw 43 pitches over four scoreless innings in a minor league game Wednesday, and following the outing stated that his arm “felt really good… It felt strong.” With only two more exhibition outings scheduled, on March 25 and 30, he could potentially line up to make his Dodgers’ regular season debut on April 5.
Advice: I would draft Greinke as you had originally planned. He is on a powerhouse team, and appears to be healthy enough to start the season. Worst-case scenario is that the Dodgers take a cautious approach with their hefty investment, and he misses a couple starts to begin the season.
Prince Albert is recovering from offseason surgery on his right knee, as well as dealing with plantar fasciitis. He said he felt “great” during his first spring start at first base on Tuesday, and at this point it appears he should be firing on all cylinders come Opening Day.
Advice: The Angels would rest Pujols for the remainder of the spring, if it meant he would be ready to go on Opening Day. Right now, he is easing back into action, which is a good sign. As long as the knee is healthy, he will be good to go. He has dealt with the plantar fasciitis for the last 6-7 years.
The lefty slugger is still dealing with a heel issue and is slated to begin the season on the disabled list. Right now, there is no clear timetable on when he will be ready to go.
Advice: Big Papi cancelled a scheduled batting practice on Wednesday, and it appears that once he comes off the disabled list, he will need a rehab stint. Anticipate him coming off the DL by mid-April, at the earliest, followed by a week or two rehab, which puts Ortiz at a possible late April, or early May return.
The Yankees captain will not appear in another Grapefruit League game this spring due to his balky ankle. The Bronx Bombers want to have the ability to backdate a disabled list stint if he is not ready to go on Opening Day. In the meantime, Jeter is expected to play in games on the minor league side of camp at some point next week. Not playing in major league games gives the Yankees the ability to backdate his DL stint if need be.
Advice: Anticipate a 15-day DL stint to start the season. The Yankees will not rush their captain, and risk losing him for a longer period, especially with all the injuries they currently have to key players.
Dodgers GM Ned Colletti said earlier in the week that he believes Carl Crawford will be ready for Opening Day. The speedy outfielder has finally progressed to live game action, and picked up a pair of hits and an RBI in Monday’s tilt with the Diamondbacks.
Advice: At this point, he has yet to play in the field, which is a hurdle that will need to be climbed before he’s cleared for Opening Day. I’m not so sure I share the same optimism as Colletti. I believe this is a rushed attempt to return for Opening Day, and I expect some DL time for Crawford this season.
Post any questions you may have regarding injuries or possible replacement players, and I will respond throughout the day. Check back on Monday as I will be posting about possible sleepers, closer battles, and some prospects to keep an eye on.