INJURY UPDATES: WEBB, SHEETS, FRANCISCO AND MORROW

MLB reports:  Many Readers have been e-mailing me to find out the status of their favorite players currently on the MLB disabled list.  One area of concern in baseball that I have addressed on many occasions is the injuries to pitchers in particular.  While batters have their share of ailments, it seems that pitchers are most susceptible to the injury bug.  If the names Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Lewis Yocum ring a bell, then you will understand what I mean.

The following players have received much requests from our readers.  From our reports, here is the updates on each player:

Brandon Webb, Rangers: 15 day DL, Shoulder Surgery

As Webb’s surgery was performed by the Rangers team doctor Dr. Keith Meister, baseball experts felt that Texas had the best read on the health of the right-handed starter.  Many experts were skeptical as to whether Webb would be able to return healthy and effective in 2011.  At this point, the future of Webb remains cloudy.  He threw a 70 pitch bullpen session with the ball club yesterday.  Webb appears to be 4-6 weeks away from returning to the Rangers, which would equate to an end of the May, beginning of June scenario.  I would be surprised at this point if Webb returns at all before the All-Star break.  Webb has further indicated that he is willing to pitch out of the bullpen depending on the team’s needs.  Conclusion:  Texas is not counting on Webb this year and any returns from the former star pitcher will be a bonus.  After such a lengthy absence from game action, it is possible that Webb’s return, if it comes to fruition, could be a short one.

Ben Sheets:  Free Agent

After undergoing arm surgery and missing the 2009 season, Ben Sheets pitched for the Oakland Athletics in 2010.  After an inconsistent start to the season, Sheet’s season ended in July when he required flexor tendon surgery.  After this additional surgery and another missed year, I would be surprised if Sheets is able to return in 2012.  At 33 years old and a history of arm issues, we have probably seen the last of Ben Sheets.  Pitchers can only endure so many arm issues in their career and Sheets has appeared to have reached his limit.  Conclusion:  Retirement is on the doorstep.

Brandon Morrow, Blue Jays: 15 day DL, Inflammation Elbow

In the continuing line of baseball pitchers with various injuries and ailments, Brandon Morrow started off the year on the disabled list with inflammation of the elbow.  The good news is that Morrow completed his final rehab stint for Class A Dunedin and is set to rejoin the Blue Jays this week.  John Farrell, manager of the Blue Jays, confirmed this morning on the Fan 590 Sportsnet radio station that Morrow is expected to start either Friday or Saturday against the Rays and re-claim a spot in the Jays rotation.  The 26-year-old Morrow has been both a starter and reliever in his career, settling in as a full-time starter in 2010.  Making 26 starts, Morrow struck out a whopping 178 batters in 146 1/3 innings that year.  The ceiling is very high on the youngster and as long as he is healthy, Morrow will continue to develop into a #2 starter for the up-and-coming Jays.  Conclusion:  Expect more visits to the disabled list in 2011 and into the future, but anything close to reasonable health will lead to improved statistics for the hard-throwing righthander.

Frank Francisco, Blue Jays: 15 day DL, Biceps

In the continuing search in baseball for closers, many baseball fans are curious as to the status of Frank Francisco of the Toronto Blue Jays.  The Jays have many bullpen options, including Octavio Dotel, Jason Frasor and Jon Rauch.  But with the trade of Mike Napoli to Texas, many people in baseball feel that Francisco is the heir apparent closer in Toronto.  A much harder thrower than incumbent closer Jon Rauch, health and inconsistency have plagued the 31-year-old Francisco throughout his major league career.  Reports indicate that Francisco threw a scoreless inning in his final rehab assignment for the class A club and will rejoin the Jays on Tuesday.  As Rauch is 3 for 3 in save opportunities, John Farrell is unlikely to throw Francisco immediately into the closer role.  But as spring training reports indicated that Francisco would be appointed the closer, the clock is likely ticking on Rauch’s 9th inning appearances for now.  Conclusion:  Once he returns and shows health, Francisco will likely start closing for the Jays within the next 2 weeks.  Health aside, effectiveness will determine whether he keeps the role.  Over the long-term, I see Rauch being the closer in 2011 for the majority of the year with Francisco returning to the set-up role he had maintained in Texas last year.

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Posted on April 18, 2011, in Players: Fantasy Baseball Articles, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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