MASH Report (8/4/16): End Of An Era

• Today marks the end of the MASH in its current format.  New writer, B.J. Maack will be taking over all the current injury news. I will not be going away though.

Starting Monday, I will be publishing one in-depth injury article on Thursday on subjects like my PAIN and HURT reports. Also, I will be writing three additional articles for RotoGraphs each week name “Mixing Fantasy and Reality” in which each article will be a short dive into three or four topics like a promoted prospect or a Quick Look at a pitcher. I am not 100% sure what the final format will eventually be, but my goal is to provide in-depth content not available anywhere else. It was not easy taking a step back from the MASH Report, but I am relieved to be moving on to covering a wider range of subjects. I am glad for the nice (kept me going) and harsh (kept me improving) comments over the years. Thanks. -Jeff

Trevor Story will miss the rest of the regular season with a torn ligament in his thumb.

Story was hoping to be playing now, with his team surging in the National League Wild Card standings, but the injury he suffered Sunday in New York nixed that. Recovery from Thursday’s operation, which will be performed by hand and upper-extremity orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jennifer Kummer, is ex-pected to cost him the rest of the regular season.

But with an eight-week recovery time, Story could return if the Rockies make the playoffs.

All the past injuries like this one had the return time around 60-days which is in line with what the team is reporting. A couple of points to keep in mind. First, I expect Story to fully finish his rehab even if the Rockies are not in the playoffs. The team will want to know if he is 100% and he needs no more surgeries before shutting him down. If he does need surgery, he can get it before the start of next season.

Also, don’t expect the injury to linger into the future as most hand/finger injuries don’t affect future production.

• The Mets have finally place Yoenis Cespedes on the DL with a strained quadriceps. Cespedes has been dealing with the injury for about a month.

For some of the last four weeks, the Mets played shorthanded, as Yoenis Cespedes nursed a strained right quadriceps muscle. For the rest of it, the Mets played with Cespedes operating at some unknown percentage of his normal ability. Through it all, the Mets maintained that they wanted Cespedes on their roster for what manager Terry Collins is calling “crunch time,” regardless of whether he was fully healthy.

That changed Wednesday, after Cespedes tweaked his quad a third time during the Mets’ 9-5 loss to the Yankees. The Mets placed Cespedes on the disabled list, where he will stay for at least the next 15 days. Rookie Brandon Nimmo will rejoin the team on Thursday.

“I think the best option is just rest, about 10 days or so,” Cespedes said through an interpreter. “If I continue playing hurt, I’m never going to recover.”

To see the injury’s effect, Cespedes was hitting .302/.372/.583 before the injury and .227/.321/.341 after it.

Julio Teheran is now on the DL with a strained lat which bothered him for about a week.

After exiting his start on Saturday, Braves ace Julio Teheran was hopeful that his velocity drop isn’t a sign of an ailment that would require a couple weeks of rest. The All-Star became more concerned when he awoke on Sunday morning feeling some discomfort around the same back muscle that had bothered him the previous weekend.

Opting not to take any chances, the Braves further depleted their rotation on Tuesday afternoon, when they placed Teheran on the disabled list with a strained right lat muscle, which is located below and behind the shoulder.

The 2.5 mph velocity drop can be seen here.

Danny Salazar will be out 2-3 weeks with a strained elbow.

A precautionary MRI exam on Tuesday morning showed no structural damage in Salazar’s elbow. He is expected to miss 2-3 weeks. Francona said that they will let Salazar rest, and he will not throw for 5-7 days.

“When you start looking in pitcher’s elbows, as some people can probably attest, you find all kinds of stuff,” Francona said. “That’s just the normal wear and tear. I actually think it was really good news. That’s happened a number of times where we’ve gotten guys looked at and they’ve come back structurally sound. It kind of makes you feel good.”

I am a little worried that Salazar will be rushed back as the Tribe is making a playoff push.

Aledmys Diaz will be out longer than the required 15 days with a fractured thumb.

Follow-up X-rays on Aledmys Diaz’s right hand Monday revealed a hairline fracture in his right thumb, which has been placed in a splint. Diaz, headed to the disabled list, will be out for an undefined period of time. General manager John Mozeliak, hesitant to put a timeframe on the recovery, said only that it’ll “likely be longer” than the minimum 15 days.

“I think what we’ll do is put him on [the DL] and then just re-evaluate him as we go,” Mozeliak said. “He’s been put in a splint today, and once the swelling goes down, he’ll be put in a cast. At some point, we’ll re-evaluate. Obviously, we’re hopeful that it will be shorter rather than longer.”

Lance McCullers is back on the DL. This time with elbow discomfort and will be out at least a month.

Considering McCullers won’t pick up a baseball for two weeks, he’s likely out for the rest of the month. He’ll have to begin a throwing program, which will include bullpen sessions, a simulated game and a Minor League rehab stint before being activated. It’s going to be a long road.

“The diagnosis has been a sprain, and we’ll give him a couple of weeks to cool down,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “He’s got some inflammation. The muscles around his elbow are pretty tight today because he’s trying to protect his body. That’s what happens when guys throw like they do. We’ll know more in the next couple of weeks, but what I can tell you is he’s not going to do any throwing for two weeks. We’ll re-evaluate him, and hopefully he’ll be feeling better and we can build him back him up.”

If the Astros weren’t in the playoff picture, I could see him being shut down for the season.

Aaron Nola will be out at least six weeks as he recovers from a sore elbow.

But the Phillies will have to gauge the risk and reward of Nola pitching again this season. Generally, the rule of thumb for injured pitchers is they need the same amount of time to recover from the time they missed. So if Nola rests three weeks, he will need three weeks to get ready to pitch again.

If that is the case, he would not be ready to pitch again until mid-September.

“He might be shut down for the season,” Mackanin said. “That will be determined after these next two weeks.”

Like Story, I expect the Phillies to get him back to 100%, even if the rehab continues after the season, and then immediately shut him down.

Jed Lowrie has been playing through a sore foot and it is impacting his performance.

Lowrie has been dealing with a sore foot for the past few weeks and manager Bob Melvin says it is starting to seriously affect his play on the field.

“To his credit, he’s staying in the lineup and it is definitely affecting him,” Melvin. “You can see the numbers right now offensively, and for the first time it’s starting to bother him defensively, too.”

Those numbers don’t paint a pleasant picture for Lowrie in the last month. Since entering the month of July with a .292 batting average, he’s hitting .192/.226/.232 with no home runs and 25 strikeouts in 106 plate appearances. In that span of time, Lowrie was out of the starting lineup just three times.

Huston Street is back on the DL with a strained knee.

Angels closer Huston Street, slogging through the worst season of his distinguished career, landed on the disabled list for the second time this season on Tuesday because of what the team announced as inflammation in his right knee.

Street, who turned 33 on Tuesday, has been battling the issue “on and off” for the last week and the knee “got really inflamed” when he blew a three-run, ninth-inning lead against the Red Sox on Sunday, manager Mike Scioscia said.

Luke Gregerson strained his oblique and will miss some time.

Asdrubal Cabrera is on the DL with a strained knee.

• The Mets also put Justin Ruggiano on the DL with a strained hamstring.

Mike Pelfrey gave his owner some much need relief and has gone on the DL with a sore back.

Tyler Lyons will be out with a knee discomfort.

Charlie Tilson (T.J.) tore is knee up during his major league debut and will be out for the season.

• I have been a little leery of Garrett Richards’s approach of just using stem cells to repair his elbow, but the results have been encouraging.

An ultrasound examination of Garrett Richards’ right elbow Wednesday demonstrated additional healing in his torn ulnar collateral ligament, and the Angels will begin stressing his elbow with internal rotation exercises to test his readiness to resume throwing.

Richards received a stem-cell injection into his elbow ligament May 16 in an attempt to avoid Tommy John surgery. His first ultrasound examination six weeks later showed enough improvement that he was pronounced asymptomatic. Wednesday’s news gave the 28-year-old right-hander more hope.

“Stem cells are a remarkable thing,” Richards said. “The body heals itself, so that’s awesome. We’re not out of the woods yet, but today’s a good day.”

The plan is for him to receive one last ultrasound exam within two weeks, after the stress tests. If that shows the same degree of healing, he will then throw.

I guess we will find out more in a couple of weeks.

Jordan Zimmermann is expected off the DL later today.

• In the news of the weird, the Marlins returned recently traded for Colin Rea back to the Padres after Rea tore is UCL in his first outing with his new team.

In my last MASH Report, I commented Michael Sonne’s report that pitch clocks will cause more stress on a pitcher. I was given the full report, but I am trying to work my way through the academic speak to figure out a couple of major factors, but this graph from the article stood out.

It shows a pitcher’s fatigue (I don’t 100% understand this value) for a set number of breaking balls and fastballs. While the results I still question, I like the visual in that it shows the total pitch stress/fatigue as the inning goes on. I think the graph is great and future analysis on stressful innings should include a graph like this one.

Fastball velocity reading for pitchers returning from the DL

Craig Kimbrel’s average fastball velocity since coming off the DL is fine.

Andrew Triggs’s is fine.

The Red players have had updates since the last report. Click on the “Date” for a link to go to the latest article on the player.

Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR twice, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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7 years ago

I’ll take this as good news. I’m looking forward to your other articles and I have faith the new guy will do a good job following your precedent with this article, which was one of my few required readings every week.