During Spring Training, I will dive into injuries once a week. I will use my knowledge and what is being reported by the team to give an estimated return date and performance outlook for the rest of the season.
Luis Severino – Tommy John Surgery
Luis Severino underwent successful Tommy John surgery on Thursday. This surgery will end his 2020 season and put him back on a big-league mound in about 16 months. We should view 2021 as a “great right” year for Severino. Look for 2022 to be the season that we see Severino return to form.
Return date: June/July 2021
Giancarlo Stanton – Calf Strain
Giancarlo Stanton was diagnosed with a Grade 1 calf strain this past Wednesday. The Yankees are reporting that Stanton will most likely miss Opening Day. Given that a Grade 1 strain is the least severe type of calf strain, the Yankees seem to be taking this very conservatively. For Stanton’s season-long health, this is the best thing that the Yankees could do. I would expect that once Stanton returns, this will not impact his season-long performance. The key with any injury is that he takes the time to make sure he is 100% before returning to big league action—draft Stanton with confidence.
Return date: Early April
Chris Sale – Pneumonia
Chris Sale was battling pneumonia since the start of spring training. The delay to the spring will land him on the IL to open the season. The earliest he can return from the IL will be on April 7th. Sale will have to regain the weight that he lost while sick and work up to game strength, so the IL should give him the time to get ready for the 2020 season. Given the struggles that Sale had during the 2019 season, I would expect the Red Sox to take it slow. Sale should not have this impact on his performance going forward.
Return date: Mid-April
JD Davis – Shoulder Discomfort
JD Davis underwent an MRI earlier in the week for shoulder discomfort. The MRI did not reveal anything new or alarming for Davis. The Mets will probably take it slow-ish with Davis to make sure that the pain and inflammation calm down before putting him back on the field. I wouldn’t expect that this injury will impact his performance for the 2020 season—draft Davis with confidence.
Return date: Ready by Opening Day
Griffin Canning – UCL issues
Griffin Canning underwent an MRI earlier in the week. The results showed that Canning has chronic changes to his UCL and acute joint irritation. I have some good news and bad news for those wanting to target Canning in drafts. The good news is that this is very similar to what Andrew Heaney dealt with during 2019. The bad news is that this issue could easily go downhill for Canning. Keep in mind that Canning’s season ended last year because of elbow discomfort. If I’m drafting, I’m avoiding Canning unless he comes at a steep discount. Elbow injuries, especially one that has UCL involvement, are red flags for me.
The Angles have not given a timeline yet, but we can say that Canning will be out for a while. My gut is telling me that this could be an issue that he deals with all season. There is a chance that Canning can rehab and return without issue, but I’ll let someone else take that risk.
Return date: End of April (at the earliest)
Emmanuel Clase – Teres Major Strain
Emmanuel Clase had an MRI Thursday that diagnosed a moderate teres major strain. The Indians expect Clase to miss 8-12 weeks. Last year, Mike Clevinger sustained the same injury and was able to return on the shorter end of the timeline. Given the level of strain, I would expect Clase to return closer to the 12-week mark.
Return date: End of May/Early June
Brendan McKay – Shoulder Stiffness
Brendan McKay is dealing with some shoulder stiffness. The Rays expect McKay to be good to go shortly. His shoulder stiffness should not have any lasting impact on his performance for the 2020 season. If you are targeting McKay in your drafts, don’t let this scare you off.
Return date: Ready for Opening Day
Robinson Chirinos – Hamstring Strain
Robinson Chirinos has been slowed down by a hamstring strain. The Rangers are reporting that he could DH Monday and catch towards the end of next week. Chirinos should not have the hamstring strain impact his performance going forward, so draft him with confidence.
Return date: Day to day
Edwin Encarnacion – Back Stiffness
Edwin Encarnacion was scratched from the lineup on Thursday due to back stiffness. The White Sox camp is saying that this was precautionary and he should be good to go in a couple of days. Given his age and past injury issues, Encarnacion could be dealing with this on and off for the season. Something to keep in mind during drafts. But once this subsides, he should be able to perform. Just know that something like this could pop up fairly often during the season.
Return date: Day to day
Justin Verlander – Groin Tightness
Justin Verlander was scratched from his Grapefruit debut with groin tightness Thursday. The Astros are expecting Verlander to make his debut on his next scheduled start, early next week. I would not expect this to be a lingering issue, and Verlander should be good to go in a couple of days. Draft him with confidence that this will not impact his performance.
Return date: Day to day
Freddie Freeman – Elbow Inflammation
Freddie Freeman was scratched from the lineup on Tuesday due to elbow inflammation. On the surface, this looks a little worrisome. But if we take a closer look, it isn’t nearly as bad as it seems. Freeman had surgery during October to clean out his elbow. The inflammation and discomfort is just part of the healing process. The inflammation is something that the Braves seem like they were expecting, and I wouldn’t be worried about Freeman for the 2020 season. There may be times early in the season when the inflammation pops up, and he will need some maintenance days. But all in all, draft Freeman with confidence that he will be able to play without this impacting his performance.
Return date: End of next week, ready for Opening Day
If there is a player you would like information on, leave a comment, and I will reply as I’m able!
Graphic by Michael Haas (@digitalHaas on Twitter)