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Injury Report: September is the end of the 15-day DL

With one (possible) exception, get ready to be frustrated by hurt guys remaining on teams' active rosters.

Dave Reginek

I noticed something a couple seasons ago that could come in serious handy for fantasy players. It is now September (that's not the thing I noticed, as I've had calendars for years, but it is germane). With the arrival of September comes a problem for fantasy owners, as the 15-day disabled list becomes of little consequence, with 40-man rosters.

In short, guys on the 15-day DL still count against the 40-man, but not the 25. In September, teams can carry 40 players. So moving a guy from the active roster to the 15-day DL is meaningless. As such, teams by and large eschew the 15-day DL in September, choosing instead to leave their hurt guys as so much ballast. If Jimmy gets hurt on the third of the month, but he'll be back on the 18th, well, no use doing anything.

I started that paragraph "In short..." and I haven't even finished explaining yet.

For fantasy owners, this sucks. If Elvis Andrus' back tightness he suffered early in Saturday's game ends up being bad enough for a typical DL stint (which seems unlikely; all indications are it'll be only a couple days), the Rangers likely won't DL him, which means his fantasy owners can't DL him, which means fantasy owners can't use his roster spot, which means sadness.

You probably knew all this. But maybe you didn't; I don't know you. Here, though, is that thing from a few paragraphs back I said I noticed: the Blue Jays don't seem to follow these rules.

Two years, ago, Yunel Escobar, then a Blue Jay, hurt his elbow Sept. 11. He went on the DL. A few days later, Brett Lawrie broke a finger, and they put him on the DL Sept. 21. It's a little thing, but if Chris Davis gets hurt, and you're in a keeper league, you're basically stuck. But if Edwin Encarnacion gets hurt, and you're in a keeper league, take heart!

Or Alex Anthopolous just did it that one time, and I'm projecting. I don't know. But it's interesting.

Anyway, on to this week's injuries. I already covered Elvis Andrus, because I'm just that slick. But here we go:

Miguel Cabrera, DET

Cabrera missed Saturday's and Sunday's games after abridged appearances Thursday and Friday, with a strained abdomen. Tigers manager Jim Leyland has said the team is encouraged by his condition, so he probably won't be a maybe-but-not-really DL guy. On the other hand, the Tigers are drawing ever nearer to having the AL Central in hand; there's no reason to rush Cabrera back, Triple Crown candidacy or no.

Josh Reddick, OAK

Reddick, who hit the DL Monday with a sprained right wrist, appears to be moving around pain-free now, indicating he'll likely return from the DL when he's first eligible. That said, Reddick has struggled mightily this year, with a slash line of .213/.297/.362, and I find it hard to envision a scenario in which a sprained wrist helps that. Use Reddick at your own risk.

Jason Grilli, PIT

Talk about a pleasant surprise. Grilli, after leaving a game in July with what everyone who saw it assumed was a pitcher's death sentence, vowed he would return this year, to which all the smart guys said "Yeah, right." But after it turned out Grilli didn't need Tommy John surgery, he has worked his way back, and is out on a rehab assignment now, eying a possible return as early as late this week. That's awesome news, as injuries suck so bad. It'll be interesting, though, to see how the Pirates handle the late-game scenarios. Mark Melancon took the closer role in Grilli's absence, and has gone 7-for-8 in save opportunities with a 0.69 ERA in that time. But Grilli is the "proven guy" or whatever - even though he entered the season with 5 career saves against Melancon's 21 - so it wouldn't surprise me if Grilli slides right back into his role.

Carlos Gonzalez, COL

Gonzalez says his sprained right middle finger is improving, though it's not all the way back, which scares me. He wanted to fight through the injury before hitting the DL, and it sapped all his power, so if it is still lingering, color me skeptical. But he's hoping to be back with the Rockies maybe as early as Tuesday or Wednesday, so we'll see. Let's just say I'm not as enthusiastic as I'd like to be.

David Wright, NYM

Wright, on the DL since Aug. 3, swears he wants to return this season. He has gone out for rehab, though he's still not running anywhere near full speed, and there is of course no reason for him to rush back. If he's on your roster, he's not going anywhere, but you can't count on much (if any) production down the stretch.

Matt, Matt, and Matt

Oh, Matt. Matt Harvey's story you've heard - he has a partially torn UCL, which might (probably does) mean Tommy John surgery, which sucks whole bunches. We're all pulling for Harvey to not need surgery, and we're all fully expecting him to have it, and goodbye until 2015.

Matt Cain threw a bullpen session Saturday as he works his way back from a right arm contusion suffered in a comebacker. He's eligible for return this coming Saturday, and I haven't seen anything indicating against that. I have few worries about Cain going forward.

Matt Kemp, trying to recover from a sprained ankle, is extending his Class-A rehab assignment after going 0-for-11 with five strikeouts so far. He won't return to the Dodgers Monday, though it's more of a wait-and-see after that to see if and when Kemp makes it back. As fragile, and as so-so, as Kemp has been this season, I would find it ridiculously hard to have any sort of faith in him down the stretch.

Follow me on Twitter @danieltkelley

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