MLB Stars Who Need to Return from Injury ASAP to Save Teams' Seasons

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2013

Injuries don't care how much money a player makes, how gaudy the stats on the back of a player's baseball card are or what time of year it is.

When they hit, they often hit hard—and teams are left scrambling trying to fill the void.

Some, like the New York Yankees, have been able to weather the storm. Other teams haven't been quite as fortunate.

Let's take a look at the players who are now sidelined that their respective teams cannot get back on the field fast enough.


Zack Greinke, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

Remember when the Dodgers had more starting pitching than they knew what to do with?

That's no longer the case.

Since Zack Greinke was bull rushed by Carlos Quentin on April 11, resulting in a broken collarbone, the Dodgers have sent four starting pitchers to the disabled list: Chad Billingsley, Chris Capuano, Stephen Fife and Sean Tolleson.

Some, like Capuano (strained calf), aren't expected to miss a significant amount of time. Others, like Billingsley (blown out elbow), won't be back anytime soon.

That's not only left the Dodgers with a perilously thin rotation, but it has increased the bullpen's workload—and the results have not been pretty:

With Greinke 6-3 2.14 0.98
Without Greinke 6-10 4.99 1.49

While Greinke isn't expected back until sometime in June, the team shared some encouraging news with its fans this past weekend:

That's a welcome sight for the Dodgers, who can only hope to tread water over the next month or so until Greinke is ready to rejoin Clayton Kershaw atop the rotation.


Corey Hart, 1B and Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Milwaukee Brewers

Owners of the National League's most potent offense in 2012, Milwaukee's offense has stumbled out of the gate without its pair of slugging corner infielders in the middle of the lineup, sitting in a tie for seventh place in the senior circuit with 106 runs scored on the season.

Injuries to first baseman Corey Hart (knee surgery) and third baseman Aramis Ramirez (left knee sprain) have robbed the team of a duo that hit a combined .285 with 57 HR, 183 RBI and 183 runs scored last year.

Other than Yuniesky Betancourt, those players tasked with replacing Hart and Ramirez have been unable to do so:

Yuniesky Betancourt .286 11 5 20
Alex Gonzalez .175 9 1 5
Blake Lalli .071 0 0 2
Martin Maldonado .214 3 1 8

Hart told's Joe DiGiovanni that he's optimistic that he'll be able to return on May 30 when he's eligible to come off of the 60-day disabled list, while Ramirez could be back in the lineup at some point this week, according the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Tom Haudricourt.

While the Brewers sit one game over .500 with a 12-11 record, the team has a run differential that matches their won-loss record, scoring one more run then they have allowed. That's not a formula for long-term success.

Hart and Ramirez cannot get back into the lineup fast enough, not only to inject some life into the offense, but to help atone for what looks to be a pitching staff that is mediocre at best.


Jose Reyes, SS, Toronto Blue Jays

When Jose Reyes went down with a nasty-looking sprained left ankle 10 games into the season, the consensus was that he would be sidelined until after the All-Star break.

According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet Canada, that may not be the case any longer:

That's great news when you consider how unproductive the batters who have hit leadoff since Reyes went down have been:

Reyes 10 0.395 0.991 1 5 5 5
Not Reyes 20 0.206 0.440 1 6 6 3

Reyes, easily Toronto's most productive player to start the season, cannot get back on the field quick enough for the floundering Blue Jays.

Jered Weaver, RHP, Los Angeles Angels

Heading into the season, pitching—specifically the starting rotation—was viewed as the Angels biggest weakness. Losing staff ace Jered Weaver to a broken left elbow during his second start of the season only amplified that problem.

Without Weaver taking the ball every fifth day, the entire pitching staff has taken a step back: 

With Weaver 2-4 3.81 1.18
Without Weaver 7-12 4.95 1.57

As with Zack Greinke and the Dodgers, it's not really surprising when you think about it. The bullpen is throwing more innings than they would with Weaver in the fold, and combined with the added pressure on the other starters to raise the level of their play, mediocre numbers were inevitable.

The good news is that Weaver has started to play catch, taking the next step in the recovery process. While his return to action is still weeks away, the Angels need Weaver to provide stability (and length) atop the rotation if they hope to turn around what is shaping up to be another disappointing season.


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