RotoWire fantasy baseball injury report: Buxton out with groin injury

July 18, 2017

Greg Bird

One week after he was selected as one of my American League All-Scar team members, a new diagnosis may provide a bit of clarity to Bird’s nagging ankle problem. Bird hasn’t played since fouling a ball off his ankle in spring training, and the Yankees’ various attempts to treat the injury, including a cortisone injection, failed to provide enough relief to get him back on the field. However, a visit with renowned orthopedist Dr. Martin O’Malley led to a new diagnosis, os trigonum syndrome.

Os trigonum is a congenital condition, meaning it has been present since birth. The syndrome involves the talus, a bone in the foot that articulates with the lower leg bones to form the true ankle joint. During development, a piece of the talus does not fuse properly with the rest of the bone creating the os trigonum. This “extra” bone remains attached to the talus through a band of connective tissue. Individuals born with os trigonum may never know they have the condition unless it becomes symptomatic following an injury. Generally forced or repetitive plantar flexion of the ankle can irritate the issue, as the extra bone is jammed in-between the lower leg bones and the heel bone. From this description, it’s easy to see why this motion is known as a “nutcracker” injury.

Bird’s os trigonum appears to have been impacted when the ball stuck his foot back on March 30. The impact has left the accessory bone inflamed and painful. Dr. O’Malley opted to inject Novocain, a localized anesthetic and a second round of cortisone into the area in hopes of relieving Bird’s symptoms. However, surgery remains a realistic option. Bird is slated to meet with Dr. O’Malley on Monday during which the next step in treatment will be decided. Surgery for os trigonum is straightforward, as the surgeon simply removes the accessory bone. If a trip to the operating room is necessary, Bird could miss two to three months recovering, effectively ending his season. However, the long-term ramifications would be minimal and Bird would be ready to go for the 2018 campaign.

Byron Buxton

Buxton has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with a groin strain suffered in Minnesota’s first game after the All-Star break. The Twins have downplayed the severity of the injury and expect him to miss minimal time. The timing is unfortunate, as Buxton was just finding a groove after altering his batting stance. He removed a stride from his approach, a decision that may play in his favor during recovery. The groin is a group of muscles known as the adductors that are directly responsible for lateral motion. Still, groin strains tend to linger and can be easily aggravated. Look for the Twins to give Buxton ample time during his recovery, and fantasy owners should anticipate at least a two-week absence from the young outfielder.

Nate Jones

The White Sox reliever has undergone elbow surgery to address a nerve issue in his throwing elbow. Jones needed an ulnar nerve transposition in which the nerve on the inside aspect of his arm was repositioned to prevent constant irritation or impingement from scar tissue. His latest setback appears be linked to his 2014 Tommy John surgery to repair the nearby UCL. Scar tissue from the procedure developed and engulfed the nerve resulting in neuritis. The ulnar nerve innervates multiple muscles of the forearm and provides sensation to half the ring finger and the entire pinkie. Many people have felt a temporary sting from an ulnar nerve injury when they have bumped their “funny bone.” Fortunately, Jones’ surgically repaired UCL remains intact, though he will still need ample time to recover. He’s done for the season but should have a shot at a full spring training.

Check Swings

Brandon Belt: Belt is day-to-day with a sprained wrist sustained following a check swing in Saturday’s loss to the Padres. He was a late scratch on Sunday, hinting he was close to playing. However, he will remain a risky play in weekly formats, and a dip in his power numbers should be expected if any of the associated symptoms linger.

Yoenis Cespedes: The Mets slugger didn’t play Sunday after an awkward slide on Saturday. Cespedes attempted to make a sliding catch, but his right knee got stuck in the turf. The result was a monster divot in the left field grass and a sore hip for the outfielder. The team doesn’t think it will be a long-term issue, but fantasy owners invested in Cespedes should be leery considering his history of lower leg issues. Consider him day-to-day and hope for an update before rosters are due on Monday.

David Dahl: Another All-Scar member, Dahl has a chance to redeem himself with a solid second half. He has yet to play this season after a stress fracture in one of his ribs was discovered during spring training though he recently began a rehab assignment. The Rockies haven’t publicly stated when they anticipate Dahl will return to the big-league level, but he may be worth a speculative add for teams lacking an outfielder.

Jason Kipnis: A moderate hamstring strain is expected to keep Kipnis sidelined for “a few weeks.” The injury occurred just prior to the All-Star break and likely will keep Kipnis out for the remainder of July.

Collin McHugh: The Astros believe McHugh will rejoin the rotation for the upcoming weekend series against the Orioles. McHugh hasn’t pitched for the big league club this season after being diagnosed with posterior impingement in his throwing elbow. His progression has been slow but he recently completed a rehab assignment, including a six-inning performance for Double-A Corpus Christi over the weekend. Look for McHugh to bump Joe Mosgrove from the Houston rotation.

Joe Ross and Michael Pineda: Both pitchers will miss the remainder of the year after suffering significant sprains to the UCLs in their throwing elbows. Tommy John surgery will be performed on both Ross and Pineda, and their recovery should spill into next season, limiting their value in both one-year and keeper leagues.

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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