Johnny Cueto: Rehab assignment scheduled for Friday, where he is slated to get around 70 pitches in. If all goes well, he is on pace to return to the rotation when his turn comes up next week. See how that injured lat responds, in terms of velocity, pitching mechanics, and how he feels the day after. If all goes well, get him back in your lineup next week.
Giancarlo Stanton: Bad news for the only reason anyone cares about the Marlins. Stanton suffered a grade 2 hamstring strain, landing him on the disabled list. Grade 2 tears can mean anything from a slight 5% tear to a bigger 80% tear, so it’s hard to project how long he will be out. However, initial reports have him missing the entire month of May. I see the Marlins being extra cautious with their slugger and with hamstring injuries being tricky to begin with, expect Stanton to be out until at least early June.
Hanley Ramirez: He looks fantastic at the plate since returning from the DL following thumb surgery. He’ll continue to struggle with throwing the ball in the field due to wearing a supportive splint on the thumb, but, in all honesty, how much do fantasy owners care about fielding? His grip strength and bat control both look fantastic, especially considering how early he came back (approximately 3 weeks ahead of schedule). Look for him to continue to progress and add some pop to the Dodgers’ lineup and yours.
Ryan Zimmerman: Another big bopper with a hamstring issue, Zimmerman appears to have done very well on his rehab assignment, with no setbacks in the left hamstring. He’s expected to return from the DL on Friday when he’s eligible. So long as he can sprint and make lateral, quick movements without issue, Zimmerman appears to be on the road to recovery. Muscle injuries can linger, but it looks like he’s managed this issue well and should be ready to go.
Kevin Youkilis: Placed on the 15 day DL with a lumbar spine sprain, it’s not looking pretty for Youk. He’s 34 years old and has a history of mild back issues in the past, so it’s a little concerning that he’s not been able to manage this flare up conservatively without a DL stint. However, the rest will be good for him and he should respond well to decreasing his activity levels to allow the recent epidural (anti-inflammatory) he had to work it’s magic. If all goes well, he should be back post-DL stint.
Erick Aybar: He was activated on Tuesday from the DL, trading places with outfielder Peter Bourjos (dealing with a hamstring strain, which is apparently the injury of the month for May). Aybar had been dealing with a bruised left heel, which seems to have responded well to treatment. Keep an eye on his running and how he looks out on the field, as bruised heels are pretty tough to bounce back from because of how much pounding and force we impart on it when we stand/walk/run. But he’s back in the lineup and should be back in yours as well.
Josh Johnson/RA Dickey: I’m putting them together because reports are that both are on track to make their next scheduled starts, with Johnson’s coming on Friday. Johnson is dealing with a triceps strain, which appears to have responded well to treatment. Although the MRI he had on his tricep/elbow came back clean, I’m still a bit skeptical about Johnson until I see him back in action without limitation. If he starts Friday, I suggest holding him out of your lineup in daily transaction leagues until you see him put a good start or two out there. With Dickey, he’s been pitching through pain and may have to continue to tolerate some pain for a few weeks until this inflammation dies down. They’ll be able to manage the inflammation in his neck with modalities (ice, electrical stimulation, laser therapy) while treating the neck/back stiffness as they go (soft tissue mobilization, joint mobility, stretching). He’s not a power pitcher, but control may be an issue if he has difficulty with muscle length/inflammation around the neck and shoulder. I’d take a wait-and-see approach with Dickey as well, especially considering he’s off to a rough start already. The Blue Jays are banking on these guys coming back to full health as their playoff chances are highly dependent on it.