MLB

Fantasy Baseball Injury Report Analysis: Grandal, Brantley, Braun

Yasmani Grandal

The Dodgers catcher is poised to start the season on the disabled list as he continues to battle a forearm injury. Grandal entered spring hoping to bounce back from offseason surgery on the acromioclavicular (AC) joint in his left (non-throwing) shoulder. However, he reported discomfort in his forearm on the opposite arm March 19 and has been sidelined since.

The forearm is compromised of numerous muscles. The anterior aspect of the forearm is made up of the muscles responsible for bending (flexing) the wrist and fingers. Baseball fans are familiar with the flexors as they originate near the elbow and are often injured by pitchers, usually in conjunction with an elbow sprain. The back or posterior side of the forearm includes the muscles responsible for moving the wrist and fingers in the opposite direction known as extension.

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Grandal said he is not dealing with a true strain in the forearm but is simply managing reoccurring inflammation in the area. This suggests he could be dealing with epicondylitis, more commonly known as tennis or golfer's elbow depending on the location of the inflammation. Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) is more common in the general public, but medial epicondylitis (golfer's elbow) is more frequent among baseball players, due to the demands of throwing.

Rest and anti-inflammatory medication are the primary components of treatment for either condition, and the Dodgers are wisely managing the situation to maximize his recovery time while minimizing the number of games lost. Resting Grandal now allows him to recuperate and lets the team backdate the start of his DL trip to Friday, March 25. He could then be activated him April 9 following a five-game absence. Grandal should be fine as long as a more problematic strain or sprain is avoided. Furthermore, the fact that the injury occurred opposite his surgically repaired shoulder should help reduce the chances of a cascade injury.

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Michael Brantley: After multiple promising reports about Brantley's recovery from offseason surgery, the Indians have determined he won't be available on Opening Day. It doesn't sound like the soreness he is managing will result in a DL stint, though that could change if the allotted time off doesn't result in a significant improvement. While not having Brantley to start the year is frustrating, a conservative approach early on should allow him to make a complete recovery and ensure he's available when it truly matters. Adjust your draft boards accordingly, but I'm still optimistic he will be a productive fantasy option this season.

Ryan Braun: I've been pessimistic regarding the veteran's health after offseason surgery to address a disc issue in his lower back. I've previously warned that complications and lingering effects of the surgery often carry over into the following seasons and my fears seem warranted given that the former NL MVP is already missing time with soreness in his back. While his previous track record is enticing, let someone else spend a high pick or top dollar on Braun and invest in a younger, more reliable option for your outfield.

Jason Heyward: A swarm of bees surrounded the Cubs outfielder over the weekend, leaving him with multiple stings on his neck and face. Fortunately, Heyward isn't allergic to bee stings and was clearly fine, hitting a two-run home run less than an inning later. Bees have been an issue this spring, delaying at least two games.

A.J. Pollock: While he has returned to minor league action, Pollock could be headed for the disabled list. The 28-year-old outfielder has not appeared in a major league game since reporting soreness in his elbow earlier in the month. Fortunately, the team appears more concerned about his number of reps than the severity of the injury. Still, if Pollock can avoid setbacks he should manage to make his way onto the Opening Day roster.

Buster Posey: Right hip tightness forced the Giants to remove Posey from the lineup Sunday. The team downplayed the injury, and Posey returned to the lineup Monday. Not an overly alarming situation but one worth monitoring, given the demands of catching.

Pablo Sandoval: The Red Sox third baseman is battling some minor stiffness in his back. Normally this wouldn't be exceedingly concerning, but given Sandoval's size, a lower back issue could easily develop into a nagging injury. He's slated to return to the lineup Tuesday and remains focused on being ready for Opening Day. Consider him day-to-day with increased risk for the immediate future.

Corey Seager: Seager played six innings in a minor league appearance over the weekend and reported no setbacks in his injured knee. Out since March 11 with a mild knee sprain, the Dodgers shortstop has progressed well through the recovery process. If he can continue to improve following a Monday appearance with the minor league club, a return to the big leagues should shortly follow. It looks as though Seager will avoid the DL and miss minimal time, even if he is unavailable for Opening Day.

Carson Smith: The Boston bullpen will have to start the year a man short as Smith will start the season on the DL. Smith is dealing with a strained flexor bundle in his throwing arm. As discussed with Grandal, a flexor strain is common in baseball but can be particularly problematic for pitchers. The common flexor bundle originates on the medial epicondyle of the elbow near the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). The UCL is the ligament repaired in the dreaded Tommy John surgery. A limitation in the flexor bundle can put undue stress on the UCL, so ensuring the injury is completely healed before resuming activity is a must. The Red Sox will have to utilize relievers Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara as their primary setup options for newly acquired closer Craig Kimbrel until Smith returns.

Stotts works as a Certified Athletic Trainer (MAT, ATC, PES, CES) and is a former winner of the Best Fantasy Football Article from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

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