Not even a full week into the season, the injury bug has been on the loose, sending multiple impact players to the DL.
Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Injury: There is nothing GM Ned Colletti wanted to see less than ace Clayton Kershaw sidelined with a back injury. Although he is scheduled to return by the end of April, back injuries are tricky, and Kershaw could potentially miss some more time than that.
Impact: Losing Kershaw will definitely affect team morale. Luckily, the Los Angeles Dodgers have one of the deepest starting rotations in the league, and will definitely be able to mitigate the loss of the best pitcher in baseball. In two starts, Hyun-jin Ryu has been absolutley marvelous, tossing 12.0 innings of no-run baseball, 12 K, and a 0.75 WHIP. Zack Greinke looked sharp as well, with 5.0 IP, 2 ER, and 5 K. With a potent offense as well, the Dodgers will still be in a good position when Kershaw returns.
Bobby Parnell, RHP, New York Mets
Injury: After blowing the save in the Mets’ season debut, it was discovered that Bobby Parnell partially tore his MCL in his elbow. Parnell will be sidelined for the next two weeks and will then be reevaluated to see whether he will require surgery on his elbow.
Impact: With one of the weakest bullpens in the major leagues, this is a devastating blow for the Amazins. Parnell proved last year that he was more than capable of handling the spotlight that comes with closing games in the Big Apple. Yet it was apparent all spring that something was off with elbow, due to the significantly lower velocity on his fastballs. Newly assigned closer Jose Valverde will fill in as the Mets’ new closer. Valverde, once one of the most prominent closers in the game, had a shakey 2012, appearing in only 20 games and giving up 12 earned runs in 19.1 IP. Valverde did have a solid spring training, compiling a 3.38 ERA in 10.2 IP.
Jose Reyes: SS: Toronto Blue Jays
Injury: Jose Reyes is back on the 15 DL once again, re-injuring his hamstring in the Blue Jays’ opening game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Impact: With a strong batting order, the Blue Jays have the depth to overcome Reyes’ injury, but the new lineup will definitely be lacking speed. The Jays had the luxury of batting outfielder Melky Cabrera in the two-hole, giving Toronto a nice combo hitter to complement Jose Batista. The Blue Jays are now forced to bat Colby Rasmus, the original seven hitter, in the two-hole. This represents a definite downgrade in power, average, and base-running aggression.