MASH Report 8/29 by BJ Maack August 29, 2016 Some interesting injuries to go over this week….some new things, but also a few updates on older injuries. Many of you are either just starting your league playoffs or it’s coming soon, so the most recent news is going to be of value. That being said, let’s get into what I have seen for the MASH report. If you’ve read this for the past couple of weeks, you know that I try to be responsive to the “Comments” section. If there’s someone specific you feel I missed, please jump in. I never want to over-promise/under-deliver, but I will make every effort to get to your question. Andrew Benintendi, the Red Sox’ rookie phenom, definitely dodged a bullet with “only” a knee sprain, according to manager John Farrell. It is interesting to note that he says there’s no “structural damage” but it is a ligament sprain. But if they are saying he could still return, then that tells me it’s a minor (grade 1) sprain…remember that time you “rolled” your ankle trying to cross that dude over on the court? You hurt real bad for a while but then you were better? Yeah, something like that. Stephen Strasburg is starting a throwing program. This is very encouraging, especially that his shutdown wasn’t all that long. Typically with more worries come a longer “no throwing” period. If all goes well, he will probably throw off the mound soon, meaning he shouldn’t be out of the rotation long. Jon Niese heard the dreaded “pop” in his knee…while not the ACL pop, it was a meniscus (cushioning cartilage in the knee joint) that was torn, requiring surgery. Keep in mind he was dealing with this for several months, having it drained and injected with cortisone. What seems to have happened was an old cartilage tear that started to get worse…they managed it for as long as they could, and then during last week’s game, for whatever reason it became worse on that certain pitch (it’s his left knee, and for a lefty it’s his “push” leg). That was probably the “pop” he heard. Done for at least 4 weeks. I don’t know what to make of Scott Kazmir and his neck. Maybe it’s just him and his injury history….maybe it’s the fact that he is on a team that should obliterate the MLB record for most players on the DL. Currently they are tied with 27 different players on the DL this year. Regarding Scott, he will be on the 15 day list, so keep an eye on him. Jake Peavy has a low back strain and is on the DL. Matt Cain is doing rehab minor league starts, and while not performing well, the main thing is that he isn’t hurting and should be back very soon. If you are holding onto him, keep on holding because it is coming soon. John Lackey is progressing well, and is setting up for a possible Labor Day return vs the Giantes. Here’s an interesting point made by the referenced article…could the Cubs be setting up a 6-man rotation for the rest of the year? I like this thought, as long as it doesn’t disrupt the Cubs’ flow. Joe Maddon is the king of clubhouse mojo, and I would trust his judgment. All signs point to a September return for Clayton Kershaw. The way the throwing/bullpen progression works is like this: playing catch, long toss, bullpen, more bullpens, then simulated games vs live hitters, then rehab appearances in minor league games. Kershaw is in that simulated game stage. Here’s the problem….the single-A, double-A & triple-A seasons end on September 5th, meaning that he has little opportunity to do any real game situations before returning to the Dodgers staff. One possible scenario is that he does some work out of the bullpen, but I doubt this happens with the Dodgers in a pennant race and every game counts. Serious kudos have to go to the Dodgers for being where they are in the standings considering all they have dealt with this year. Giancarlo Stanton Still no official word on whether or not he is done for the year. Mixed signals. Mike Leake is on the DL, retroactive to Aug 22 with shingles. This is not fun for anyone, and you can only hope he gets over this quickly. The Mets are hoping Steven Matz returns at the end of the week.