Closing Time: Healthy, hurt, who really knows?

We're just three days away from Matt Wieters(notes) revolutionizing baseball forever. It seems a little silly to discuss games played before his presence in the majors, but that's what we'll do in this space, anyway. Drop in your quarter and let's play some pinball.

Injury disclosure is one of the most frustrating things we have to deal with in fantasy baseball, and we saw two good examples of this Tuesday – Grady Sizemore's(notes) elbow and Jason Bartlett's(notes) ankle.

Sizemore was the consensus No. 1 outfielder on a lot of lists this spring, ours included, and with good reason – at his best he's a strong contributor in four or five categories, he's entering his Year 27 season, he's already got an established track record, etc. We all know how talented Sizemore is, and when he got off to a slow start in 2009, the most prudent advice was to be patient. Even when Eric Wedge mentioned a week ago that Sizemore had a sore elbow, it didn't seem like any reason to panic.

Okay, fast forward to now, and let's fill in the cracks of the story. Sizemore has finally come out and admitted that his elbow has been a problem all year, he's DHing to avoid putting any more pressure on the elbow, and he's fallen into a terrible slump at the plate (he's carrying a .206/.284/.330 line through 97 May at-bats). There's talk that he might need to go in the disabled list, the injury is that significant.

Should Sizemore have come out with the injury situation earlier? Is Wedge protecting his player when he keeps an injury a secret, or is he putting too much pressure on a hurt player to try to produce while playing at a disadvantage? I'm not saying there's a right and wrong answer here, only commiserating with other fantasy owners in that it's constantly a frustrating battle to try to figure out fact from fiction with medical issues. At least if Sizemore played for the Tennessee Titans, Jeff Fisher could list him as questionable for 17 straight weeks.

Bartlett's story is a little different – he suffered an ankle injury we all knew about on the weekend, and the Rays downplayed the severity of it. Day-to-day on Monday, we were told. A lot of fantasy owners probably kept the wonderfully productive Bartlett in their weekly lineups for this session, only to find out with scorn Tuesday that Bartlett actually was headed for the DL. Grab some cream cheese, it will help you wash down those bagels. (At least the Ben Zobrist(notes) Mafia will enjoy this news.)

To be transparent on this, I'm not venting my own Sizemore and Bartlett frustrations here. I've owned each of these guys several times in the past, but I didn't get them anywhere in 2009. These injuries aren't hurting my bottom line, and yet, I can't help but share the community's angst that it's oh-so-frustrating to have to play a continual guessing game as to who's hurt, who's not hurt, what's not serious today but could be a problem tomorrow. It's hard to know who to trust and what to trust. And remember, it's even worse with the pitchers.

Girl, you have no faith in medicine. Let's get some shorter bullets rolling.

Although the Mets landed Gary Sheffield(notes) for a pittance at the start of the year (Detroit is paying the contract freight), I wasn't expecting much to come from the 40-year-old slugger. Okay, I guess it's mulligan time. Sheff's still got a keen eye at the plate and apparently his bat speed hasn't left, either – he clocked a three-run homer in Tuesday's win over the Nationals (his third in the last five games) and is locked into a .357/.486/.625 groove in May. So what if he's a liability in the field, the Mets can't say no to this stick in the middle of their lineup. Keep doing what you do, Sheff.

Jacoby Ellsbury(notes) had a heck of a day in a losing effort, posting a 5-2-2-0 line at Minnesota, with a couple of stolen bases and one web gem mixed in. He's now got a 21-game hitting streak working. The reviews were mixed for a couple of his struggling teammates: David Ortiz(notes) went 1-for-3 with a walk batting out of the No. 6 slot, and Jon Lester(notes) was undone by the one-bad-inning syndrome, giving up a five-spot to Minnesota in the fifth (Justin Morneau's(notes) rocket of a home run might have dented a few seats). Joe Mauer(notes) went 0-for-3 with a walk; he hasn't homered since Monday.

Sean Marshall(notes) continues to tease us on the periphery of being really fantasy-useful. He picked up a rain-shortened win over the Pirates, allowing one run over five solid innings (4 H, 2 BB, 6 K). He'll get another home start this week, up against the Dodgers and beatable Eric Stults(notes). Alfonso Soriano(notes) swiped his fifth base of the year, his first running attempt since April 30.

To remind us that not every hot-shot rookie gets it done right away, Matt LaPorta(notes) (.190) and Jesus Guzman(notes) (1-for-10) both returned to the minors Tuesday. Mind you the Indians never really gave La Porta a chance to play regularly (also, his demotion was tied to getting Trevor Crowe(notes) up as Sizemore insurance), and it's downright ridiculous to judge Guzman on just 10 at-bats, but consider the bigger picture here. Not everyone is going to come up to The Show and tear the league apart instantly.

Life is an Injury Blog: Hanley Ramirez(notes) left Tuesday's game in the third inning with a tight groin. "I mean, it hurts, obviously, if I had to come out of the game," Ramirez explained to the media afterwards. He's being called day-to-day. … Take that, dizziness – Joey Votto(notes) returned to action Tuesday and swatted another homer. … Ryan Braun took a pitch off the wrist and the Brewers did the safe thing and took him out. We'll see what we learn Wednesday. … Felipe Lopez(notes) (hamstring) hopes to get back Thursday after missing three games in a row. … Promising Baltimore starter Koji Uehara(notes) (hamstring) is headed to the DL, according to the Baltimore Sun. … A sore shoulder forced Coco Crisp(notes) out of Tuesday's game prematurely. … Although an MRI came back clean on Carlos Guillen's(notes) shoulder, there's no timetable for his return. … Jorge Posada(notes) (shoulder) did some hitting and catching work in a simulated game Tuesday and doesn't appear far away. … Carlos Quentin(notes) (foot) probably is done for the balance of the week, and a decision on the DL will come next Monday, apparently.

Handshakes: It wasn't a thing of beauty but Brad Lidge(notes) did retire two of three men for his ninth save Tuesday, albeit just nine of his 16 pitches were strikes. … Andrew Bailey(notes) converted a save against the bottom third of the Mariners order, striking out two. … Jim Johnson(notes) allowed three baserunners over two innings but ultimately wasn't scored upon, and the Orioles let him close out the cheap save in a three-run game that eventually ended 7-2. … The Rays never had a lead against the Indians and only two men pitched for Tampa Bay (Matt Garza(notes) and Randy Choate(notes)), so there's no new tale to tell here. … Francisco Cordero(notes) (13) still hasn't blown a save and has a tidy 1.71 ERA. … Frank Francisco(notes) got the always-dreaded "inning of work" in a four-run game and lived to tell about it, stranding one runner and pitching a scoreless frame against the Yanks. … Joe Nathan's(notes) scoreless ninth against Boston netted him his first save in almost two weeks. … Juan Gutierrez(notes) got a white-knuckle save for Arizona (1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 WP, 1 HBP), so feel free to discount it. Chad Qualls(notes) doesn't have any job-security issues, he just needed a day off. … Bobby Jenks(notes) (the original flu) was another resting closer Tuesday night, which led to Scott Linebrink(notes) rogue-saving in the OC.

Speed Round: Carl Pavano(notes) grabbed his fifth win of the year Tuesday and you could almost hear Brad Evans cheering, couldn't you? … Zack Greinke(notes) (9 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 8 Ks of brilliance against Detroit) might be above haiku praise at this point, but I'm not going to assign Iambic Pentameter to anyone. How about a family-friendly limerick? … Another 10-strikeout effort from Max Scherzer(notes), and this time he was more efficient, working seven innings and throwing a manageable 103 pitches. … Ricky Romero(notes) (oblique) returned to the Jays rotation but was treated rudely by the Orioles (5.1 IP, 11 H, 3 HR).

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