Two major league pitchers are currently sidelined with a deceptively problematic injury. On the surface, a blister sounds like a minor inconvenience, but for a pitcher it can drastically alter his ability. Blisters generally develop as an area of skin is repeatedly rubbed against the neighboring finger or the seams of the baseball. The constant friction results in skin irritation and fluid begins to build underneath the outer layer of skin. Once a blister has developed it can force a pitcher to alter his grip, negatively impacting pitch velocity and accuracy.
Furthermore, blisters can be extremely painful and irritating and are susceptible to infection. To further compound the problem, major league pitchers aren’t allowed to pitch with athletic tape or Band-Aids on their hands or fingers. As a result, players are often forced to wait until the area is completely healed or a callous has developed before they are able to effectively pitch again.
Rich Hill's blister issues
For Hill, his blisters are a chronic problem dating back to last July. The involved digit is the middle finger on his throwing hand. He missed two months last year with the problem and has already spent time on the 10-day disabled list. On Sunday, his first start for the Dodgers after being activated, the 37-year-old aggravated the blister and could once again miss time. Considering Hill’s recent track record and the middle finger’s involvement in every pitch grip, don’t be surprised if Hill is back on the DL soon. Alex Wood is the most likely candidate to fill in the potentially available spot in the rotation.
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Aaron Sanchez has a blister, too
In Toronto, Sanchez has already been sent to the DL as the team looks for treatment options for his blister, also situated on the middle finger. Like Hill, Sanchez has previously dealt with the problem that is apparently linked to his fingernails. He’s tried a variety of remedies to address the issue but had little success. He is now slated to meet with a hand specialist to consider more aggressive options, which may include removing a portion of the problematic fingernail. Matt Dermody was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo to take Sanchez’s spot on the roster.
Remember David Dahl?
Dahl hopes medical imaging on Friday will show enough improvement in his injured rib to allow him to return to baseball-related activities. Dahl has been recovering from a stress reaction in his sixth rib but has resumed basic throwing and running drills. The Colorado outfielder will meet with the same physician that performed his initial testing to undergo a new round of bone scans. If the tests go well he can begin to swing a bat and could return to the Rockies lineup by the end of the month or early May.
Bad break for Gray
The Rockies pitching staff is also beset with bone injuries, as Gray is expected to miss at least a month with a stress fracture in his left foot. Initially believed to be a mild toe injury, a bone scan on the area revealed the break. Specifically, Gray fractured the navicular bone, one of the tarsal bones in the mid-foot. The navicular is essential in proper weight transfer and force absorption generated during ground impact. It also serves as an attachment site for both muscles and ligaments of the foot. Gray’s recovery will depend on the location of the break. The ends of the navicular have a relatively healthy blood supply creating an environment more favorable to healing. A small fracture here can be treated conservatively or nonsurgically. However, if the extent of the fracture extends into the body or middle one-third of the bone, surgery is often considered the best course of action.
Fortunately, surgery hasn’t currently been discussed, and Gray has instead been placed in a protective boot that extends up to his knee. Another promising sign for Gray is that the Rockies will allow him to throw during his injury rehab to help maintain conditioning in his arm. Colorado is optimistic he can return by mid-May, but keep an eye out for updates over the next few weeks to see if he remains on track.
USA TODAY SportsMatt Kartozian
Zach Britton injures forearm
Baltimore’s All-Star closer will miss at least 10 days with a strained left forearm that forced him to the DL. The injury is reportedly mild, and Britton told reporters there are no current plans for an MRI. It looks as though this is a case of the Orioles taking a conservative approach with Britton’s health. The decision is sound considering the importance of the muscles of the forearm on the stability of the elbow. Furthermore, Britton has a history of shoulder issues and any limitation on the kinetic chain can put undue stress on the area. Britton owners may want to seek out Brad Brach, who appears to have taken over ninth inning responsibilities for now.
Copyright The Associated Press. All rights reserved.AP
Donaldson's calf flares up again
Miguel Cabrera: The Tigers slugger made an early exit Sunday due to tightness in his lower back. This reoccurrence of back issues is a troubling trend for the former American League MVP who dealt with a similar problem while participating in the World Baseball Classic. The last flare up sidelined him for 10 days as the Tigers cautiously prepared him for the start of the season. Now he’ll receive treatment during an off-day Monday before being reevaluated prior to Tuesday’s contest against the Rays. He’s a bit of a risky play in weekly formats but otherwise consider him day-to-day.
Josh Donaldson: Toronto’s Donaldson, another former MVP, is hitting the DL after aggravating his problematic calf. Donaldson originally strained the calf in mid-February, but the issue resurfaced in early April. The latest injury is reportedly in a different spot than his previous strain but that does little to alleviate the concerns of fantasy owners. Calf strains are notoriously fickle and can open the door for potential hamstring issues. However, the Blue Jays can decrease the chances of this happening by placing Donaldson on the DL and hopefully keeping him there until he’s 100 percent. Those invested in Donaldson would be wise to anticipate a prolonged absence and add a reliable bat for the next few weeks.
Correa hit by pitch
Carlos Correa: The Astros shortstop has a mild hand contusion that was going to force him to miss at least one game. However, Mother Nature intervened and rain postponed Sunday’s matchup with Oakland until September. The day off provided a large enough recovery window for Correa and he’s expected back Monday against the Angels. Employ him as you normally would.
Trea Turner: The Nationals could have their everyday leadoff man back in action as soon as Wednesday. Turner believes he is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a mild hamstring strain. He participated in sprinting drills, an activity that is often the final hurdle in recovery. Plug him back into your lineups if he’s able to make it back when first eligible, but understand Washington may initially limit his aggressiveness on the base path to avoid any potential aggravation of the injury site.
Jeff Stotts works as a Certified Athletic Trainer (MAT, ATC, PES, CES). He won the 2011 Best Fantasy Football Article in Print from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.