The Spring Injury Report: Next Man Up
The injury bug is a dreaded topic for teams and fans alike. Managers are settling in on their Opening Day rosters with two short weeks remaining until regular season action. Unfortunately, they must contend with the question of who will bridge the gap while the starters recover.
Today, The Game Haus takes a look at some of the most impactful injuries from around the league. Who are the big names? How will teams have cope with their absence? Who will step into the role in the short term?
Strained Rotator Cuff – Out 4-5 weeks
Kipnis experienced a brief, five-day shutdown early in camp with what was described as shoulder soreness. The injury didn’t appear serious at the time, but it has escalated from what the team originally expected.
Kipnis has no history for this type of injury, which should give fans some comfort this won’t be a reoccurring issue. However, the escalation of “soreness” to now missing over a month does provide cause for concern.
Next Man Up: Jose Ramirez
The extremely versatile Jose Ramirez played the role of ultimate utility man last season. He spent time primarily at third base and left field. Ramirez also has experience at shortstop. The transition over to second base may be challenging, but Ramirez has the skill set to manage.
The Indians don’t have many options in terms of late spring acquisition, and the farm lacks depth at second. The other problem this creates will be backfilling Ramirez at third. Fortunately for the Indians, minor leaguer Giovanny Urshela has some MLB experience and would provide a serviceable stopgap at third.
Kipnis is undoubtedly a critical part of this Indians lineup, but Ramirez has proven more than capable and should be able to carry the load in the meantime.
Fractured Left Hand – Expected out until late April
This is an incredibly frustrating injury for both Desmond and the Rockies. Desmond was slated to be the everyday first baseman before being hit by a pitch during a spring training game. The Rockies made a sizeable offseason investment to the tune of five years and $70 million.
It looks as though Desmond is slated to return at the end of April after receiving surgery on his hand. Disappointing as it is, one month out of the entire season shouldn’t give the Rockies much cause for concern.
With Desmond out and Gerardo Parra taking increasing repetitions in the outfield, first base falls to veteran Mark Reynolds. Reynolds looks likely to win the job, but will compete this spring against younger options Jordan Patterson and Stephen Cardullo.
Reynolds hasn’t traditionally hit for average, but he did bat .282 in 116 games last season. He also brings a decent power threat to the table, which should play well in an already strong Rockies offense.
You can’t replace Desmond’s production in the short term, but if he returns fully healthy at the end of April, the Rockies won’t miss much.
Sprained UCL, right elbow – Expected out 1-2 Months
DeSclafani is listed as the ace of this Red’s pitching staff to put this loss in context. The Reds aren’t seen as a highly viable contender this year, but losing starting pitching hurts regardless. The good news is that the injury won’t require Tommy John surgery as is so prevalent in the MLB today. A speedy recovery should see DeSclafani back in a rotation that will undoubtedly be missing him by May.
Next Man (Men) Up: Tim Adleman, Bronson Arroyo, Rookie Davis, Amir Garrett, Cody Reed, Sal Romano and Robert Stephenson
Wow, talk about a spring training competition. Adelman is currently listed highest on the depth chart at number four out of all those names. That should be an indication of how many spots were up for grabs before this injury.
With this many rotation spots in flux, the balance of these names will end up in the bullpen. The Reds will need a lot more than one guy to step up if they’re going to successfully bridge the gap until DeSclafani’s return.
The silver lining here is that for a rebuilding team, plenty of young players will have the opportunity to develop. It may feel like an awfully long season for the Reds’ fans and their organization while they wait for that development to happen.
“From Our Haus to Yours”