Fantasy baseball injury report: Cabrera has herniated discs

Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera singles against the Chicago White Sox during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

Miguel Cabrera

The source of Cabrera’s lingering back problems has been discovered after an MRI revealed two herniated discs in his spine. The intervertebral discs of the back are situated between each of the vertebral segments of the spinal column. These cartilage-based discs help transmit stress that is applied to and through the back. If overstressed, the disc can herniate or bulge out of its normal position, resulting in pain and potentially impinging on neighboring nerves. A herniated disc can be treated with a nonsurgical approach, but a trip to the operating room may be necessary if the associated damage is significant.

It doesn’t appear that the former MVP has even considered surgery at this point. Look for him to see limited playing time, primarily as the designated hitter, for Detroit’s final six games. As a result, Cabrera becomes a risk play in most formats. Furthermore, potential treatment options could influence how he spends his offseason and impact his value for the 2018 season.

Eduardo Nunez

The Red Sox utility man ran the bases over the weekend, clearing the way for a return to the lineup, maybe as soon as Monday. Nunez hasn’t played since spraining the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in his right knee. As previously discussed, the PCL acts a pivot point for the knee and is a key contributor to knee stability. The ability to round the bases is one of the final functional hurdles Nunez needed to clear in order to return to play. Boston manager John Farrell has already stated Nunez’s return to the lineup will be progressive and that he likely will initially utilize him in the DH role. Nunez will then be worked back into the everyday lineup with an eye toward the postseason. As a result, the 30-year-old veteran regains some of his fantasy value back and should be a nice plug-and-play option. However, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Boston limit his aggressiveness on the base path.

Check Swings

Jose Abreu: Abreu didn’t play Sunday after fouling a ball off his shin the previous night. The shin (tibia) is a poorly protected area and individuals who suffer an impact injury here can suffer a wide range of injuries, including a simple bruise or a more complex fracture. Fortunately, it doesn’t sound like the resulting damage to Abreu’s leg is too significant, though there has already been talk of him sitting out Monday as well. Pay close attention to Monday’s lineup before plugging him in.

Nolan Arenado: The All-Star third baseman is day-to-day with a hand injury. Arenado was removed from the game after taking an awkward swing in the team’s win over the Padres on Sunday. The involved area appears to be to his thenar eminence, the group of muscles located at the base of thumb. The issue sounds minor, and the team is optimistic he will be in the lineup on Monday. Utilize him as you normally would.

Zach Britton: The Orioles closer received a PRP injection on Friday in his sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL). The injection is designed to stimulate the body’s healing response and aid recovery using components of the athlete’s own blood. However, time is needed to allow the treatment to effectively work. The team stated he would be evaluated in three to five days following the injection, but it seems highly likely Britton’s season is over. Don’t waste time waiting to see if the situation improves; look for healthier, more reliable bullpen options.

Bryce Harper: The Nationals plan on activating Harper on Monday for the final week of the season. The move is a bit of a surprise, but the team wants to get Harper a chance to establish some sort of rhythm before the start of the postseason. Harper hasn’t played since suffering a bone contusion in his left knee after hyperextending the joint on August 12. He has taken part in two simulated games but will skip an instructional league assignment to return to the big league club. Harper’s upside is too great to ignore, but his number of at-bats is far from guaranteed. If you patiently held on to the former MVP, feel free to use him but scale back your initial expectations.

Aaron Hicks: The Yankees outfielder is slated to begin a makeshift rehab assignment by participating in Instructional League games to start the week. Hicks, out since suffering his second oblique strain of the season, could spend up to four days with the team before being activated. The plan is to get Hicks at-bats from both sides of the plate, an important step in recovery for a muscle extremely active during trunk rotation. The decision likely makes Hicks expendable in yearly formats and solidifies the elevated value of Jacoby Ellsbury for the remainder of the season.

Jose Martinez: Martinez suffered a sprained thumb Friday and didn’t play over the weekend. The team dropped both games without Martinez and return home for a pivotal seven-game stretch against the Cubs and Brewers. Martinez’s availability remains in doubt and expect him to be limited even if he can play through the pain. Thumb injuries affect grip strength and limit power at the plate. Additionally, St. Louis’ early week success could play a role in whether we see Martinez in the lineup. He’s been a valuable fantasy option throughout the season but he’ll be a precarious play for the rest of the year.

Yasiel Puig: It appears Puig’s absence on Sunday had little to do with his health. Puig reportedly tweaked his left ankle Saturday and did not play the following day. However Puig was not treated by the Dodgers medical staff for an injury. Instead, it appears manager Dave Roberts opted to sit the outfielder based on his effort during the play in question. The new is frustrating for the short term but shouldn’t impact his long-term availability.

Luis Severino: The Yankees right-hander avoided a major injury after being struck with a ball during pregame warmups. The stray ball left Severino with a bruise to the back of his nonthrowing shoulder but he is expected to make his start on Tuesday against Tampa Bay.

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. Follow Jeff on Twitter: @InStreetClothes.

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