Fantasy baseball: The injury watch

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Is it me or has it been a crazy season for injuries?

Some of the biggest names in baseball like Albert Pujols, Carlos Zambrano, Alfonso Soriano, Paul Konerko, Felix Hernandez, etc...have spent some time on the disabled list and some are even still on it.

It's important to keep a close eye when dealing with injuries and that's what the Fantasy Factor is here to help you with. Here are some of the latest players to come down with some ailment that could potentially have an impact on your season from now until the very end.

Matt Capps, PIT P - The two words fantasy baseball players dread most of all have just been used to describe the ailment Pirates pitcher Matt Capps is facing: shoulder problems. Capps has bursitis in his right shoulder and is expected to miss at least the next eight weeks. Luckily enough, it appears Capps will be able to rehad the injury as opposed to having season ending surgery. However, shoulder issues rarely are resolved in one season and it looks like Capps may be out later into the season than the team is letting on.

Eric Byrnes, ARI OF - I was in shock to begin with when I heard that Byrnes was coming back so soon after hurting not one, but both of his hamstrings. Eight days after he came off of the DL, Byrnes is now heading straight back and this time it may be for the remainder of the season. After reinjuring his left hamstring, Byrnes is faced with the decision of either going through an extensive rehab program that would ideally have him back in four to six months, or season ending surgery.

My guess is that he'll choose the rehab program because that's just the kind of guy Byrnes is. A fierce competitor, he'll especially be motivated to get back quickly if the Diamondbacks are in the thick of the playoff hunt like most expect them to be. But hamstrings are a tricky situation and I can't imagine much good would come if you left him on your roster. Bye, bye Byrnesie.

Juan Pierre, LAD OF - The speedster for the Dodgers is going to miss the next four-to-six weeks with a sprained MCL in his left knee. This isn't good news for fantasy owners out there who count on Pierre to supply stolen bases and high run totals. For a guy that relies on his speed, a full recovery is crucial to allowing him to regain his ability to produce the totals we've expected from him over the years. You're going to have to be patient for Pierre to return as a sprained MCL is an injury you don't want to mess with by coming back to early.

Rafael Furcal, LAD SS - As if the Dodgers needed any more bad news, shortstop Rafael Furcal is in danger of missing the remainder of the season after undergoing back surgery Wednesday. He's been out since May 6 and despite several comeback attempts, Furcal is now out indefinitely. I get nervous whenever I hear that a player has issues with their back because of how debilitating such an injury can become not only this season, but for the remainder of their career. There are scenarios when players can come back from back issues, just like White Sox 3B Joe Crede has done this year. I wouldn't count on Furcal making a comeback this season and if you've left him on your DL it's time to take him off.

Joe Francis, COL P - Francis has been a major disappointment this season and it looks like shoulder problems - those two dreaded words again - are partly to blame. Luckily an MRI only showed inflammation of the shoulder and not a tear so Francis will most certainly be back eventually.

Eric Chavez, OAK 3B - I hate to say it, but are you really surprised by this? Chavez, despite being one of the best glovemen in baseball, always seems to land on the DL at some point in the season and this year is no different. Now it's shoulder pain that's bothering him and will rehab home in Oakland while the team travels to Chicago. I'd be afraid because he's the kind of guy that will go back and forth between the DL and starting lineup the rest of the way.

Roy Oswalt, HOU P - Good news for once as Roy Oswalt reported no pain after throwing from flat ground for a second straight day in Houston. Oswalt left his last start with pain in his hip, a death sentence for a power pitcher like him that requires a very strong push in order to attain the velocity that makes Oswalt so good. The paint could be the reason Oswalt has struggled so much this season and hopefully the time off did him some good. The Astros have a decent offense behind him and he hypothetically should work his way up to and past the .500 mark. Have faith my fantasy friends. Have faith.

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"Albert Pujols, Carlos Zambrano, Alfonso Soriano, Paul Konerko, Felix Hernandez, etc..."

Does one of these names seem out of place, like a guy hitting .215, out of place?

Olsen responds: A guy that has averaged over 30 HR and 100 RBI during his career, regardless of this year's stats, is still considered one of the best in baseball. Is he struggling? Yes, but an injury to a guy like Paul Konerko still has an impact in fantasy baseball whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. Have a great 4th of July.

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Matt Wood is a web editor for and editor of He is also a contributor for satirical sports publication The Heckler. Have a fantasy question? E-mail him.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Olsen published on July 3, 2008 1:00 PM.

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