MASH Report: Scherzer, Wheeler, & Pujols

Carlos Reyes had Tommy John surgery and will miss all of 2017 and probably a month or two of the 2018 season. Our own Mike Sonne went into the details on predicting Reyes’s injury.

Max Scherzer is not able to pitch because of a stress fracture in his knuckle which means he might not be ready for Opening Day.

“I don’t even want to comment on [Opening Day], because I don’t even know what I’m going to be able to do or not,” said Scherzer, who has been the Nationals’ Opening Day starter for the past two years. “It’d be unfair for me to even project or even talk about that.”
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As Strasburg threw change-ups and sliders and honed two-seam fastballs, Scherzer was heartened by the fact that he could play catch with a baseball. He spent the winter throwing tennis and lacrosse balls to keep his arm in shape, because the baseball was too big for his injured finger to grip. He modified his grip again on Thursday.

“As this fracture continues to heal, as the symptoms continue to alleviate, as we get treatment on everything, I’ll be able to work back into all my grips and obviously get back on the mound,” Scherzer said. “But right now it’s just getting back out there, throwing a baseball and getting my arm in shape.”

Because he can’t grip a baseball, Scherzer’s not if he will be ready for the season’s start. Before this news, he was the clear #2 starter. As of now, I think he drops down to the next pack with Thor, Sale, and Bumgarner.

Albert Pujols may not be ready for the season’s start because of foot surgery he had in December.

“I think it’s just like I did last year, just coming to Spring Training and progressing and just [taking] it how I go,” Pujols said Tuesday as Angels pitchers and catchers reported to Tempe Diablo Stadium for the start of Spring Training. “I don’t have really a date. I’ll be ready when I’m ready. Same thing as last year, take it one day at a time.”

Pujols, who dealt with a right foot issue for much of the 2016 season, initially believed he would be able to avoid offseason surgery and instead began shockwave therapy in September. But the treatment was unable to relieve the pain in his foot, forcing Pujols to undergo surgery on his plantar fascia in December. It was his third offseason surgery in the last five years.

I think owners should expect him to miss at least a month to start the season. They should also bake in at least one more DL stint.

Zack Wheeler experienced another setback in his return from Tommy John surgery.

Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler, who has spent nearly two full years attempting to return from Tommy John surgery, felt some “tenderness” in his right elbow during a routine bullpen session earlier this week, according to pitching coach Dan Warthen. The Mets have briefly paused Wheeler’s throwing program as a result.

Warthen was quick to add that he does not consider this a setback for Wheeler, because a routine physical exam taken Monday revealed no structural damage. The team believes Wheeler’s discomfort stems from scar tissue that formed in his elbow following a platelet-rich plasma injection last August. The club also hopes Wheeler can play catch Thursday and return to a mound as soon as Friday.

I contacted a medical professional about the issue and he had doubts about the scar tissue being from a PRP injection. He went on to check with an orthopedist and they also had never seen such scar tissue. I think Wheeler owners should not expect any production from him this season. If he gives some, great, but know there is the chance he will need another surgery.

Chris Tillman expecxts to start the season on the DL.

Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman, who received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his shoulder in late December, said Wednesday morning that he’s fairly confident he won’t miss much regular-season time.
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Tillman pitched through a similar issue last August, hitting the disabled list just briefly, but when he went to pick up a ball this offseason, he still didn’t feel good. He reached out to the team’s training staff and got the PRP injection, which shut him down completely for several weeks after that and makes it possible he will open the season on the disabled list.

I worry about how many innings Tillman will be able to last in 2017. He had a shoulder issue in 2016 and missed time because of it. He rested the shoulder for the offseason but it still ended up hurting. How is it going to feel better when he starts pitching full time. I’ll put a 100 IP max on him for 2017.

Dallas Keuchel pitched through shoulder pain last season and is feeling better now.

Keuchel, the Astros’ ace lefty, admitted he tried to pitch through shoulder discomfort all of last season, a season in which he underperformed. He went 9-12 with a 4.55 ERA in 26 starts before finally being shut down in late August with left shoulder inflammation. Looking back, a contrite Keuchel said Wednesday he wished he would have said something about the pain earlier in the season.

“It was basically I tried to pitch through an injury I should have said something with, and I learned my lesson,” he said. “If you say something from the beginning, you’ll be better off. That’s something that I’ll do.”

Signs last season pointed to Keuchel being hurt with his velocity and control down. Before I am ready to jump back on his bandwagon, I want to see his velocity back up in spring training.

• It’s official, Sean Rodriguez is out for the entire 2017 season.

Michael Brantley doesn’t seem to be making any progress.

Manager Terry Francona told reporters that the organization doesn’t want to put Brantley in a situation that he’s not prepared to handle physically.

“We’re trying like crazy to not go too fast,” said Francona. “We don’t want to put him a position that’s unrealistic. It’s a little bit hard because the only time he felt (pain in his shoulder) is when we put him in a game.

“I think we need to reserve some enthusiasm … because we want him back desperately. But just in fairness to him. We want to allow him to come back on his own program and on the trainers’ timeline. So he has a chance not just to come back, but to stay back.”

The little hope I had for him is dwindling quickly.

David Wright’s health is still in question as he tries to come back from neck surgery and spinal stenosis.

Wright is 34, with four years and $67 million remaining on his contract. He is the team’s captain, but he has missed 249 of 324 games over the past two seasons. The discovery of a chronic back condition — spinal stenosis — severely undermined his 2015 season. Even when he returned, in August, and then made it to the postseason, he needed hours of preparation every day just to get into the lineup.

And then in 2016, a herniated disk was so bad that he was shut down in late May and required season-ending surgery in June.

Josh Bell plans to be ready by opening day.

The club estimated Bell would need 2-4 weeks to return to baseball activities. He is nearing the two-week mark and hopes to resume hitting later this week after throwing on Monday. The Pirates’ first full-squad workout will take place Friday, and Bell may not be far behind his teammates.

“At first I was like, ugh, couldn’t this have happened in December? And my family was like, ‘Well, thank goodness it didn’t happen in July,'” Bell said. “It happened at an opportune-enough time where I can get it taken care of and get back on the field for Opening Day. That’s what I’m hoping for.”

• Several players have already been moved to the 60-day DL to help with roster expansion. Homer Bailey is the only player I see worth a draft-and-stash. He hopes to be back by June 1st.

• Fantasy irrelevant Brian Flynn will be out eight weeks after falling through his barn’s roof.

Josh Hamilton thinks he is healthy enough to make the Rangers roster. I don’t.

We hoped you liked reading MASH Report: Scherzer, Wheeler, & Pujols by Jeff Zimmerman!

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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 three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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Carlos Reyes – a combination of Alex Reyes and Carlos Martinez. We can only dream…