“At least I give owners who made the mistake of overpaying for me an excuse for losing.”
Photo Credit: Adam Jackson

In this “holiday” edition, aka “I’m too drunk and/or lazy to write something longer” edition, I’ll be addressing some actionable injury news involving a couple highly owned players, Buster Posey and Wandy Rodriguez. With news of Posey being out for the season, I’ll discuss his viability for next season and what to pay attention to this off-season. I’ll also discuss Wandy’s elbow woes, and as always if you have a specific injury-related question feel free to ask in the comments or email me directly.

If you’re a savvy enough fantasy player to be reading this, then you already know most of the story on Buster Posey. He’s not playing again this year after having his ankle torn to shreds in an ugly collision. He’s already had the first surgery to repair the ankle and he will have surgery again in a few months to remove the hardware (screws and plates and such used to fixate the broken bits). Go ahead and drop him in re-draft leagues, you have my permission.

For those in keeper formats, I’m cautiously optimistic about Posey for next year. Buster is not a player who relies on speed or agility for his value, this is not Michael Bourn. I expect Posey’s bat to be just fine, he’ll be able to work his upper body throughout the rehab process and he’ll be swinging soon enough. Crouching all day long as a catcher, however, will be a greater challenge, and that’s what you need to monitor later this year and during the winter. Playing in the NL, Posey can’t DH, and with Brandon Belt likely to be the full time fixture at 1B next year, Posey will need to prove he can handle the rigors of catching regularly. If he can catch bullpens and side sessions prior to the start of Spring Training there’s a good chance he’s in the clear. Being able to run is also a major step in the recovery of any lower extremity injury, and the ankle can be slow to tolerate this sort of activity (just ask Kendrys Morales). In short, if Posey is running and catching without any limitations by March, I’m confident he’ll be healthy enough to be an elite contributor at catcher next season.

Wandy Rodriguez has been placed on the 15-day DL for “elbow joint effusion”. The Astros are currently saying it’s a minor issue (don’t they always?) and they hope to have him back on or around 6/7/11. Effusion in the elbow is just a fancy way of saying he’s got excess fluid in the joint, which was confirmed by MRI. I have yet to see any news of structural issues, which is good, but you never want to hear about a pitcher having problems with his throwing arm. Without any structural damage, a pitcher with this sort of injury is typically sidelined a couple weeks to allow the fluid to evacuate and get back to throwing without pain. While Wandy has no history of major arm troubles, he did have some issues with tendonitis in his throwing shoulder this spring, and that’s enough to make me nervous. Compensatory injuries happen all the time with athletes, could this be another example? A lot will depend upon how he feels after his next throwing session, which will be conducted once his symptoms subside, sometime this week I’d expect. If he throws pain-free he’ll be in the clear, but if his symptoms persist after the throwing session, there could be some problems. I’m a little on the fence here with Wandy. On one hand, it could just be a minor issue with some swelling in the elbow due to the rigors of throwing a baseball that will resolve with rest. On the other hand, it could be a sign of more ominous things to come, as he’s now dealt with inflammatory issues in both this throwing shoulder and throwing elbow in the past three months.

Prediction Wandy returns as expected for his 6/7/11 start and pitches effectively for the rest of the season. I’m concerned this issue could creep up again, but with no major arm issues in his past and no structural damage reported on the MRI, I’m going to think optimistically here. Just be sure his throwing session goes well before you get too excited.

Happy Memorial Day!

Don Brown is the resident Physical Therapist here at SoR. He takes care of all our knife wounds and shares his expertise on the injuries of the sporting world. For any further questions or comments, he can be reached at donnypump@hotmail.com

Past Injury Analysis
Josh Johnson [JJ Sleeps with the Fishes]
Chipper, Sizemore, Beachy, Wright and Lackey [Glass Twins]
J.Broxton, B.Lyon and D.Aardsma [Unholy Trinity]
R.Zimmerman and P.Sandoval [Hot Corner Blues]