Given my druthers, I'd keep this column 100 percent focused on the games and the results and leave the injury stuff to the doctors (and those that impersonate doctors on the internet). That established, on many nights the injuries become the primary story and Monday night fit that profile. Grab your insurance card and let's see what hurts and what doesn't.
• Philadelphia didn't have much to smile about in Monday's 7-2 downer at Cincinnati and the worst could be to come. Chase Utley(notes) jammed his right thumb while trying to stretch a hit in the fourth inning and left the game in the ninth. He'll have an MRI on the thumb Tuesday. Utley chose not to speak to the media after the game; he didn't want to offer a comment until he knew more about the situation.
• Jason Heyward(notes) was considered a Rookie of the Year lock just a few weeks ago, and some felt he was getting into the MVP chase as well. Now, he's just another guy in sick bay hoping to return for the second half. Heyward's been playing through a bone bruise in his thumb, which partially explains his extended slump in June (.181/.287/.245, 32 strikeouts over 94 at-bats). The Braves say there's no structural damage in the thumb, but nonetheless they put him on the 15-day disabled list after Monday's game.
• Sick of these thumb injuries yet? Add Victor Martinez(notes) to the list. He's probably going to be placed on the DL on Tuesday (though a decision isn't official yet) and if the move is needed, he won't be back until after the All-Star break. Jason Varitek(notes) will pick up extra time with Martinez out, but I'd consider any and all options before rolling with the 38-year-old captain. Dustin Pedroia(notes) (foot) is also on the DL, though he's not going to need surgery; as for Clay Buchholz(notes) (hamstring), the Red Sox are hoping he will miss just one turn and can return to action on July 6.
• Be happy if you missed Joel Zumaya's elbow injury at Minnesota – the video wasn't pretty. The Tigers don't want to say much about the injury until Zumaya can be re-examined on Tuesday, but it certainly looked like something significant. "You heard something different when he let the ball go, and it didn't sound good," Gerald Laird(notes) told the team's official site, tearing up as he described the incident. The Detroit bullpen has been an underrated part of the team's success in 2010, but having Zumaya join Ryan Perry(notes) on the DL would be a significant setback for the club. Zumaya has dealt with significant shoulder problems in the past.
• The Stephen Strasburg(notes) Show was the big story heading into Monday's series opener between the Nationals and Braves, but Tim Hudson(notes) wound up getting the last laugh, throwing seven scoreless innings (5 H, 3 BB, 6 K) and picking up his eighth victory of the year. Hudson collected 13 ground-ball outs along the way, as he's wont to do, and made some nasty pitches when he had to. While the secondary stats don't support Hudson's 2.37 ERA, we have to consider that he's mildly improved his strikeout and walk rates this month and he's still getting ground balls about 67 percent of the time. A correction is probably coming, sure, but it's not going to be a radical one – Hudson should have mixed-league value for the entire season, even in shallow groups. I'm calling for an ERA around 3.55 from this point forward.
Strasburg gave us an ordinary start – not bad by any means (6.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K), but it wasn't the dominant Strasburg we saw over his earlier turns (he admitted after the game that he didn't have his best stuff). Strasburg's defense helped him early in the game – Josh Willingham(notes) threw out a runner at home plate in the first inning and the infield converted two double plays in the middle of the game – but a botched double-play grounder from Ian Desmond(notes) in the seventh sparked Atlanta's game-deciding rally. The miscue is nothing new from Desmond – he's committed a MLB-high 19 errors this season, an astounding number for someone that doesn't start every single game. Strasburg gets the Mets on the weekend.
• Ubaldo Jimenez(notes) kept the Padres without a hit over the first five innings at Petco but things came unraveled for the Colorado ace in the sixth – San Diego knocked him around for four runs, including a Scott Hairston(notes) homer to left that was an absolute rocket. Jimenez at least kept his hands on the victory, in part because the Colorado offense supported him well and in part because Hairston's next swing missed tying the game by about an inch (Hairston had to settle for an RBI double).
Carlos Gonzalez(notes), Ryan Spilborghs(notes), Miguel Olivo(notes) and Seth Smith(notes) collected homers for the Rockies; the Smith tater counterfeited Huston Street's(notes) save chance, but Street still entered the game in the bottom of the ninth and retired three of the four men he faced. It looks like he's got the closing gig back.
• Joe Torre may have grossly overused Jonathan Broxton(notes) last week (four appearances in five days, including a 49-pitch travesty Sunday night against the Yankees), but at least the LA skipper made things right on Monday, announcing that Broxton would not work in the first two games of the San Francisco series. The Dodgers bullpen was up to the task in a tidy 4-2 victory in the opener, with Jeff Weaver(notes), Ronald Belisario(notes) and Hong-Chih Kuo(notes) combining for three scoreless innings. Kuo was the man for the ninth and why not – he's got a 1.11 ERA on the year, and he's capable of getting men out from both sides of the plate (0.35 WHIP against lefties, 0.89 WHIP against righties). Chad Billingsley(notes) didn't have his best stuff in his return to the rotation, but he was effective over six innings (5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K).
• Manny Parra(notes) was an interesting deep-league sleeper entering this week, in part because he had two starts coming, but he basically teased us again in a no-decision against the Astros (5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 7 K). Parra has nasty stuff but too often he doesn't know where it's going, as evidenced by his two wild pitches (that's been a season-long problem for him). If you dare to roll the dice with Parra on the weekend, he's pitching at St. Louis against Chris Carpenter(notes).
• Blown saves and ninth-inning meltdowns have been a way of life for the Diamondbacks this season, so no one was surprised when they gave another game away Monday at St. Louis. That said, it was shocking to see exactly how the Snakes choked on this particular evening – two infield errors sparked the St. Louis rally and flipped the result. Dan Haren(notes) worked into the ninth with a 5-3 lead – if A.J. Hinch trusted his bullpen, maybe Haren doesn't start the inning – but he departed after a pair of singles. Aaron Heilman(notes) entered and promptly made a mess by making a terrible throw to third off a bunt attempt from pinch-hitter Adam Wainwright(notes) (Heilman had a play but he rushed the throw and badly missed his target). Two batters later the Cardinals won the game when Adam LaRoche(notes) misfired to home plate, allowing the final two runs to score.
It will be interesting to see how Hinch decides to handle Heilman after this appearance. Heilman's actual pitching was fine – he got two ground-balls after the Wainwright bunt – but at the end of it all, it's just another ninth-inning giveaway from a team known for them in 2010.
• Is anyone getting a tiny bit concerned about Francisco Liriano(notes)? His ERA climbed to 3.47 after Monday's misstep against the Tigers (six runs over six innings), and keep in mind this is someone that's never made it to 140 innings in a season. I'm not suggesting panic here, but it might be a good time to quietly sell his strong start to the season.
Speed Round: Another collar from Jorge Cantu(notes), who's really scuffling in June (.213/.280/.326) He's scored just six runs (and driven in just 10) over his last 89 at-bats. … Colby Lewis(notes) will get two extra days off before he makes his next turn. … Nyjer Morgan(notes) has some impressive physical gifts, but at times it doesn't seem like his head is in the game. He was picked off in the first inning at Atlanta, and he threw to the wrong base in the seventh inning, a subtle mistake that eliminated a double-play situation. … Magglio Ordonez(notes) (ribs) was a pre-game scratch for the second straight day. … Bobby Jenks(notes) is dealing with a family emergency and will be away from the White Sox for a few days. … Todd Helton(notes) started Monday's game but left in the first inning due to back spasms. Brad Hawpe(notes) (ribs) also rested, though he was able to pinch hit in the late innings. The Colorado outfield is about to get crowded again – Dexter Fowler has been recalled. He hit .340 with 16 extra-base hits during his 27-game Triple-A stint. … Placido Polanco(notes) had a cortisone shot in his elbow on the weekend and will likely need surgery after the season.
R.A. Dickey(notes) was on a six-game winning streak entering Monday's play but maybe his knuckleball doesn't speak Spanish - the Marlins kicked him around for five runs down in Puerto Rico. Ricky Nolasco(notes) fed his gopher as per usual (two homers allowed), but otherwise he was in top form (three runs over seven innings, no walks, nine whiffs). … Make it two save conversions in a row for Kerry Wood(notes), with five strikeouts over those appearances. Now sell, sell, sell. … Octavio Dotel(notes) is another closer that might be on the market in July. He racked up three whiffs against the Cubs on Monday, protecting Paul Maholm's(notes) victory. … Johnny Cueto(notes) pitched to contact against the Phillies and got away with it; despite the fact that he didn't have a strikeout, he allowed just one run over eight innings. Cueto did get 12 ground-ball outs, for what it's worth. … Carlos Zambrano(notes) will be placed on the restricted list on Tuesday and he won't return to the Cubs before the All-Star break. Tom Gorzelanny(notes) is an intriguing pickup in the meantime; he gets the Pirates on Wednesday. … Logic wins out in Atlanta: Kris Medlen(notes) will keep his rotation spot when Jair Jurrjens(notes) returns this week. Kenshin Kawakami(notes) shifts to the bullpen.