Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Rizzo Nearing a Return

Fantasy Baseball Injury Report: Rizzo Nearing a Return

This article is part of our Fantasy Baseball Injury Report series.

Anthony Rizzo

The Yankees slugger has resumed baseball activities after experiencing headaches linked to treatment for his lower back injury. Rizzo has not played since experiencing back spasms on August 30. He underwent an epidural several days later before being placed on the 10-day IL. An epidural is a common procedure to treat back pain. In the approach, a needle is inserted into the epidural space around the nerves of the spine and medication is injected. Rizzo likely received an epidural steroid injection (ESI) to help with inflammation and alleviate pain. However, headaches are a common side effect of an epidural. Fortunately, there is another treatment that can easily help there.

Individuals experiencing headaches post-epidural will often receive what is known as a blood patch. In this technique, blood is drawn from the affected individual and reinserted into the body near or at the site of the original epidural. The blood helps "patch" any potential leaks that occurred during the previous injection. Relief is often instant and allows the patient to resume normal activities.

The epidural and the blood patch appear to have worked, as Rizzo hopes to return sometime near the end of their upcoming five-game road trip that starts on Tuesday. Rizzo's big bat would be a welcome addition for fantasy managers, but he will remain a volatile fantasy option for the remainder of the season.

Shohei Ohtani

The Angels ace is battling a blister on his index finger that forced him to leave his most recent start

Anthony Rizzo

The Yankees slugger has resumed baseball activities after experiencing headaches linked to treatment for his lower back injury. Rizzo has not played since experiencing back spasms on August 30. He underwent an epidural several days later before being placed on the 10-day IL. An epidural is a common procedure to treat back pain. In the approach, a needle is inserted into the epidural space around the nerves of the spine and medication is injected. Rizzo likely received an epidural steroid injection (ESI) to help with inflammation and alleviate pain. However, headaches are a common side effect of an epidural. Fortunately, there is another treatment that can easily help there.

Individuals experiencing headaches post-epidural will often receive what is known as a blood patch. In this technique, blood is drawn from the affected individual and reinserted into the body near or at the site of the original epidural. The blood helps "patch" any potential leaks that occurred during the previous injection. Relief is often instant and allows the patient to resume normal activities.

The epidural and the blood patch appear to have worked, as Rizzo hopes to return sometime near the end of their upcoming five-game road trip that starts on Tuesday. Rizzo's big bat would be a welcome addition for fantasy managers, but he will remain a volatile fantasy option for the remainder of the season.

Shohei Ohtani

The Angels ace is battling a blister on his index finger that forced him to leave his most recent start early. Blisters are common issues for pitchers and often develop in areas of high friction like a fingernail or the seams of a baseball. Certain pitches tend to increase friction based on the necessary grip and can make a pitcher more susceptible to developing blisters. Unfortunately, despite numerous home remedies, treating blisters is difficult. Furthermore, it is against MLB rules and regulations for a pitcher to take the mound with tape or bandages on his fingers or hands. As a result, adequate time must be provided to allow the blister to completely heal. 

Fortunately, the team is optimistic Ohtani will not miss a start, and the issue will not affect his availability as a hitter. Furthermore, the right-hander has dealt with blisters before and managed to successfully navigate around them. Keep utilizing Ohtani as you normally would, but scale back your expectations for the next week to 10 days.

Check Swings

Kris BryantIt sounds like the Rockies are preparing for Bryant to miss the remainder of the season. Bryant remains limited by plantar fasciitis, a painful, chronic condition. Rest is the best treatment, and even then, the condition can easily be irritated. It has been a disappointing first season in Colorado for Bryant, as injuries to his heel and back have limited him to just 42 games.

Starling Marte: Marte hit the IL after being struck by a pitch on his right hand. The impact left the veteran outfielder with a partial, nondisplaced fracture of his right middle finger. The description of the injury means the break did not travel through the entire bone. The term non-displaced means the bones did not shift. As a result, Marte will not require surgery and should be back when the symptoms subside enough for him to return to action. However, when that will occur remains unknown, and Marte is likely facing a multi-week absence.  

Luis Robert: The White Sox slugger continues to battle wrist and hand issues and has appeared in just two of Chicago's last 13 games. He originally missed time due to left wrist soreness and the paternity list. In his second game back, Robert was hit on the same wrist, this time closer to the pinkie. The team has not utilized the IL and is hopeful he can return once his symptoms subside. It sounds like Robert's issue is going to come down to pain management, which is widely unpredictable. Monitor his daily status moving forward, but he will hard to trust for those in the fantasy postseason.

Max Scherzer: The Mets ace threw a successful bullpen session over the weekend as he works his way back from a "left oblique irritation." Regardless of what the team calls it, the issue appears mild. While Scherzer remains on track for a September 19 activation, look for New York to carefully manage his workload, limiting his fantasy ceiling. 

Trevor Story: The Red Sox infielder left Sunday's game with left heel pain. Heel pain is generally one of two problems: plantar fasciitis or a heel contusion. The plantar fascia runs along the bottom of the foot, bridging the area between the calcaneus (heel bone) and the toes. Often the pain associated with the plantar fascia starts in the heel and can be particularly painful in the morning. If it doesn't involve the plantar fascia, it may involve the soft tissue around the calcaneus. Heel contusions can occur following an isolated incident or develop over time. Either way, both injuries would be problematic for Story and could result in him needing a walking boot. Consider Story day-to-day for now and look for more details to emerge over the next few days. 

Justin Verlander: The Astros right-hander could return by the weekend as he works his way back from a mild calf strain. Like the Mets with Scherzer, the Astros will focus on Verlander's long-term health and playoff availability. As a result, Verlander's fantasy value will be limited by an expected pitch count. He's too valuable to bench, but expecting him to be the Verlander we have seen all year is unlikely.

Shane McClanahan: The Rays lefty has progressed smoothly through his rehab protocol after being diagnosed with left shoulder impingement. I detailed the injury last week, and it looks like McClanahan could in fact be back as soon as Thursday. I still think McClanahan will carry an elevated level of risk moving forward and, like discussed with Verlander and Scherzer, be limited by a closely monitored pitch count.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Stotts
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.
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