Saturday marked the latest turn in what's been a roller coaster of a year for Edwin Encarnacion.
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The first baseman left in the first inning of Saturday's game against the A's after he injured his right leg running to first base. Encarnacion was helped off the field, and after the game he said he felt something in his leg shortly before touching first base.
"I felt [a] pop before I touched the base," Encarnacion told MLB.com. "That's why, after I touched the base, I let my body go to the ground because I felt a lot of pain."
On Sunday, FOX Sports 1's Jon Morosi reported the Jays are expecting Encarnacion to be out two-to-four weeks with what the team is calling a right quadriceps strain. That timetable puts him back sometime around the July 31 trade deadline.
The setback is the latest twist in Encarnacion's strange season. Encarnacion suffered a serious power outage in April, hitting just two home runs in the entire month. The two home runs was his lowest output for a full month since September 2011.
He made up for that with 16 homers in May, the most he's ever had in a single month. And the 31-year-old hit .305/.394/.589 in June, arguably his best all-around month thus far this season.
Now this. On the low end, Encarnacion could be back a few days after the All-Star break. And while improbable, it's possible that he won't even require a DL stint -- the club will treat the injury in the coming days before deciding whether to backdate his stay.
If he does need a trip to the disabled list, owners should look to some of the more under-owned first basemen to fill the void. Adam Lind (35 percent owned in Yahoo leagues), C.J. Cron (23 percent owned) and Casey McGehee (48 percent owned) are just a few of the names that could provide above average production while EE is out.
Votto Back On The Shelf?
Owners of Joey Votto should take note of that list of names as well.
Like Encarnacion, Votto appears headed for a stay on the disabled list with quadriceps issues of his own, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Unlike Encarnacion, it's Votto's left quad that's causing all the problems.
Votto missed 23 games in May and June with the same injury, but it seems the first baseman never fully healed. In fact, Reds manager Bryan Price said as much before Votto returned from the DL the first time, saying Votto's quad being at 100 percent "may not be possible this year."
And despite the team trying its best to manage the injury and Votto attempting play through it, it became clear Votto's performance was hindered by the leg. In 23 games since returning, the 30-year-old batted .250/.354/.345 without a home run.
In Votto's last extended absence, the Reds muddled through with a platoon of Brayan Pena at first base, Ramon Santiago at third and Todd Frazier at whichever position was open that day, but this time around the Reds may be inclined to make a bigger move. If they again try to get by with what they have available, there's no real fantasy value to be gained from that platoon.
Although it's been covered ad nauseum in the fantasy corners of the Internet, it would be wrong to get through the column without making note of the blockbuster trade between the A's and Cubs.
The A's, of course, got two horses for a World Series run in Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. While Hammel's name doesn't carry the same appeal as Samardzija, he's been just as good this season, posting a 2.98 ERA and 1.02 WHIP through 17 starts.
Both pitchers move to a harder league, but both will benefit from the added run support and the dimensions of O.co Coliseum. Case in point: after winning just two games all season with the Cubs, Samardzija allowed just one run over seven innings to pick up his first win as a member of the A's on Sunday.
There's not much immediate fantasy impact from the Cubs' perspective -- it appears Dan Straily will remain at Triple-A for the time being, and none of the minor leaguers are expected in Chicago this summer -- but the Cubs further cemented their place as a team to watch down the road with this deal. In Addison Russell, they got yet another frontline prospect, and Billy McKinney was a first-round pick last year. The Cubs boast premium prospect talent at virtually every position on the diamond, all of which should be blooming around the same time in the next two to three years. If nothing else, next year's Cubs should be a lot like this year's Astros -- they might not win a lot of games, but they'll be fun to watch.
National League Quick Hits: With Encarnacion sidelined, the Chase Headley-Blue Jays rumors continue to swirl. Headley could fill in at third base and allow Juan Francisco to slide over to first in E5's absence. Such a move would be a big-time upgrade for Headley ... After recently declaring the closer role to be a platoon, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after Sunday's game that he's going to stick with Santiago Casilla for the near future. Jeremy Affeldt will return to pitching in a setup capacity, and Casilla needs to be owned in all mixed leagues ... The Cardinals activated Kolten Wong from the 15-day disabled list. The second baseman celebrated his return to health by swatting a solo home run in Sunday's game ... Matt Kemp had a four-hit day on Sunday, snapping an 0-for-16 slide. It was the outfielder's first four-hit game of the season ... Hunter Pence scored three times in the Giants' win over the Padres. His 64 runs scored are second-most in the National League ... The Mets placed Jon Niese on the 15-day DL with a left shoulder strain. It's unclear at this point how long he might be sidelined.
American League Quick Hits: In a trade that took a backseat to the Samardzija deal, the Yankees acquired Brandon McCarthy from the Diamondbacks in exchange for Vidal Nuno. McCarthy's peripherals have been good but he's been homer-prone, and he moves to a park that isn't forgiving on fly balls. Still, with some run support he's worth a flier in AL-only leagues ... after hitting 17 home runs following a mid-season trade last year, the Yankees designated Alfonso Soriano for assignment on Sunday. The outfielder was hitting just .221/.244/.367, and the Yankees decided to cut ties with the $18 million player ... Garrett Richards continued his dominance of the American League, striking out 11 in a win over the Astros. The right-hander is 10-2 with a 2.71 ERA, but he'll need some help to make it to the All-Star game this year ... An MRI on Brandon Moss' ankle came back negative. The team ordered the MRI due to the ankle healing slower than anticipated, but with no structural damage it should just be a matter of days before Moss is back in the lineup. It could be as soon as Monday ... A strained left hamstring landed Michael Bourn back on the disabled list. It's been a tough year for Bourn, injury-wise, as he's fought with the hamstring at more than one point this season ... Domingo Santana's first foray into the major leagues was a short one, as the Astros optioned him to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Sunday. He'll be back, but it may not be soon as he looked overmatched in his 13 at-bats.
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- Edwin Encarnacion
- Joey Votto
- Jeff Samardzija