17 May MLB Infirmary Report: Week 7
By: Shane Thompson – thesportscrew.com – @realsportscrew
The combination of youth and experienced ballplayers highlight this weeks top five injured players. From two well polished outfielders, to an up and coming name you need to know about, a solid closer and a second year shortstop; these are guys that I’m writing about this week. These players can make a difference in your favorite teams divisional race or on your fantasy teams. DL stints have been destroying MLB records this year and from the looks of it, those numbers won’t stop growing.
1) OF – AJ Pollock – Arizona Diamondbacks
One of the biggest surprises of the young 2017 season is the success the Arizona Diamondbacks and Pollock has been one of the biggest reasons why. His presence was greatly missed last year after missing the majority of last season. He was injured sliding into home plate head first and fracturing his left elbow. That was then, this is now. The good news is his recent grade 1 groin strain appears to not be serious and it’s more of a precautionary move that he’s been put on the DL. He already has 17 extra base hits and 9 stolen bases in 2017. Let’s just hope he’s back sooner rather than later.
2) OF – Hunter Pence – San Francisco
The disabled list used to be a place he never knew about up until the 2015 season as he was consistently playing 154 plus games over a seven year span. He was known to be one of the iron mans of the sport, while still playing at a high level. Unfortunately, this is his fifth stint on the DL since 2015, he is currently dealing with a hamstring strain. Pence believes he will be activated once he is eligible to come off the DL on May 23rd. The San Francisco Giants are at the bottom in almost every offensive category and with Pence hurt, it might be a long season for the team up in Northern California.
3) SS – Trevor Story – Colorado Rockies
The start of the 2016 season was full of extra base hits for Story has he exploded on the scene with Colorado. Many experts believed that he was going to edge out Corey Seager for NL ROTY before he had season ending thumb surgery. This season hasn’t started nearly as well. Not only is he only batting .180 with 48 punch outs in only 111 at bats, he now finds himself on the disabled list with a left shoulder strain. The optimism in all of this is they have young and talented backup shortstop in Pat Valaika filling in for the meantime. Hand and thumb injuries are very hard to come back from and make a difference right away. There will be pressure on Story to produce at the plate upon his return, especially if Valaika keeps raking.
4) CL – Mark Melancon – San Francisco Giants
The Giants have to be breathing a sigh of relief after finding out that Melancon’s elbow injury is not serious. He’s been as consistent as a closer can get without striking out batters at a high rate. San Francisco in the past two years have been one of the worst in closing out games so they signed Melancon to a 4 year/$62 million dollar deal in the offseason. The last thing they need is for him to miss any extended period of time. Derek Law has done a good job in converting saves in a small sample size, but is known to be more of a seventh or eighth inning reliever. Melancon should be activated this Friday and will assume the closer role.
5) OF – Mitch Haniger – Seattle Mariners
Did you know that he was part of the Taijuan Walker/Jean Segura trade? He was one of the “extra” pieces to make the deal even. Other than Nelson Cruz, outfield production has been a problem for Seattle in seasons past, until Haniger reported to Spring Training. This once first round pick of the New York Mets has has done nothing but hit for power and average this season before getting hurt. Right field was a question mark going into the season and once Haniger got the opportunity, he never looked back. He was hitting .342 with a 1.055 OPS until an oblique injury landed him the DL. An oblique injury in baseball is parallel to a sprained ankle in basketball. You think you’re ready to come back in no time until one cut, one tweak and this instance, one swing will have you take three steps back. He finally took swings in the cage this past Monday and “felt great.” The word is, they’re hoping he will be ready to be activated on May 23rd when they head out on a long road trip.