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As I usually do this time of year, I've spent a lot of time counseling fantasy owners to stay calm and be patient. A slow start doesn't always mean that a player won't perform to expectations. Frustrating though it may be, you're often better off weathering the storm and sticking with him.

Injuries, though? Those are a different story. Even a minimum stint on the disabled list wipes out a week and a half of potential production, and unlike other transactions, you don't have to let go of a player's rights - just move him to the DL and voila, an open roster spot with which you can do whatever you please. Unless, of course, your roster has been hit with a rash of maladies, the team refuses to put him on the DL and/or your league offers a pittance of DL slots. (Seriously, anything fewer than three in 2018 is a violation of the Eighth Amendment, the Geneva Conventions, and simple decency.)

Just like last season, fantasy owners have suffered from a deluge of early-season injuries to some of the best players in the game. Today, we'll discuss how worried you should be if you invested in these guys.

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The Walking Wounded

Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies

What's wrong with him?: Quad tightness.

How bad is it?: Enough to keep him out of the last three games.

What's the latest?: There haven't been any reports yet that Blackmon is headed for a DL stint, though it's obviously a concern that he hasn't been able to play since Tuesday. The Rockies will understandably want to play it safe with their star center fielder either way, as an injury like this one can become a recurring issue.

Am I boned?: Probably not.

 

Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs

What's wrong with him?: Needs a backiotomy.

How bad is it?: He was placed on the disabled list on Monday.

What's the latest?: Rizzo took swings on Thursday without issue and should be back after the minimum 10 days.

Am I boned?: Doubtful. Back injuries can be fickle, but this is also the first time Rizzo has ever needed a DL stint. If you're the glass-half-full type, you might also attribute at least a portion of his early struggles to playing at less than 100 percent.

 

Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers

What's wrong with him?: Strained oblique.

How bad is it?: Hasn't played since April 4.

What's the latest?: He'll go through on-field tests on Friday and be re-evaluated.

Am I boned?: Nope. The Brewers can afford to let Yelich take his time coming back given their outfield depth, which lessens the odds of him re-aggravating the injury. Sometime next week seems like a reasonable ETA, assuming Friday's trial run goes well.

 

Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers

What's wrong with him?: Broken elbow. That's bad!

How bad is it?: It won't need surgery. That's good!

What's the latest?: He'll still miss 6 - 8 weeks. That's bad!

Am I boned?: The toppings contain potassium benzoate.

 

Rougned Odor, Texas Rangers

What's wrong with him?: Strained hamstring.

How bad is it?: Odor initially tweaked his hammy on Saturday, then aggravated it on Monday while trotting back to first base after a teammate flew out. It's been that kind of April for the Rangers.

What's the latest?: He's expected to miss the rest of the month.

Am I boned?: Some would say you were boned regardless if you were counting on him. Odor was a polarizing player for fantasy owners this spring, after putting up a 30/15 season in which he also hit .252. No, wait, sorry, that was his on-base percentage. Good lord. But before he got hurt, his plate discipline metrics were looking up, and those tend to stabilize quickly. As with any leg injury, there's a chance it suppresses his stolen bases when he does return.

 

Jake Lamb, Arizona Diamondbacks

What's wrong with him?: Sprained shoulder.

How bad is it?: He's been out since April 2.

What's the latest?: Lamb has been taking swings and fielding grounders this week and at press time, his arm had not fallen off. He'll probably need a short rehab assignment before activation.

Am I boned?: It looked bad, and shoulders are fairly high up on the list of "things you don't want a hitter to injure," so some concern is warranted here. That's particularly true when the player in question already had some question marks surrounding him (humidor, complete helplessness against LHP) before he got hurt.

 

David Price, Boston Red Sox

What's wrong with him?: Numb hand.

How bad is it?: Price exited his last start after allowing four runs in the first inning.

What's the latest?: His next start will be pushed back from Monday to Tuesday.

Am I boned?: Maybe. Numbness in the hand or fingers can sometimes be a harbinger of nerve or ligament damage, and Price is coming off a season in which he didn't even manage to crack 75 innings due to arm problems. Cross your fingers, and hope he can feel his by Tuesday.

 

Johnny Cueto, San Francisco Giants

What's wrong with him?: Sprained ankle.

How bad is it?: Though the Giants were hoping to avoid it, they were forced to place Cueto on the DL earlier this week. It was retroactive to April 5, so he could just miss one start.

What's the latest?: He's on track to return Tuesday, the first day he's eligible. Management is confident enough that they sent Andrew Suarez, who was called up to replace Cueto in the rotation, back to Triple-A on Thursday.

Am I boned?: Doesn't sound like it. After an injury-ravaged 2017, it would've been cool if he could have gotten through at least a month of 2018 without getting hurt, but a tweaked ankle is better than blisters or a bum elbow. Considering that they're one or two more injuries away from giving Jamie Moyer a call, San Francisco will count that as a win.

 

Mark Melancon, San Francisco Giants

What's wrong with him?: Forearm/elbow inflammation.

How bad is it?: Melancon had surgery in September, and pitched only a few innings this spring before being shut down again.

What's the latest?: He had a stem cell injection on Thursday and won't resume throwing for at least two weeks.

Am I boned?: Quite possibly. Melancon was on and off the DL all season in 2017 due to these ongoing arm troubles, and Hunter Strickland has been solid as his replacement so far. Melancon and his $62 million contract will likely be given every opportunity to regain the closer role, but it's anyone's guess at this point as to when he'll be healthy and/or effective.





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