Even by the standards of a 2023 MLB season that’s seen a seemingly endless string of injuries, Friday was a brutal day. Some of the game’s biggest names — from Jacob deGrom to Aaron Judge to Yordan Alvarez — have their health up in the air right now, as teams and fans and fantasy baseball managers alike wait with bated breath. Our daily MLB injury report will get you caught up with all the latest.
MLB injury report: Saturday, April 29th
Jacob deGrom (forearm), Texas Rangers — We hoped we were out of the woods when deGrom recovered from his wrist discomfort without missing so much as a start, but alas, disaster struck on Friday night. The two-time Cy Young winner left his start against the New York Yankees with what the team is calling forearm tightness. Judging by his body language, it doesn’t seem good.
Meanwhile, in Texas, Jacob deGrom has left another start due to apparent injury:pic.twitter.com/elcLeWWjcc— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) April 29, 2023
No word yet on any sort of prognosis, but the last time deGrom dealt with forearm tightness back in 2021 it wound up shutting him down for the season. Fingers crossed.
Aaron Judge (hip), New York Yankees — Hours before deGrom’s early exit, rumors began to swirl that Judge would require an IL stint for the hip discomfort that’s been bothering him since his awkward slide into third base in Minnesota a few days ago. Judge is still insisting that it’s nothing serious and will only cost him a couple days, but Aaron Boone’s sounding a more cautious tone:
Aaron Boone says they’re still waiting on the doctor to read the results on Aaron Judge— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) April 29, 2023
“It could be day-to-day, but it also could be a short stint (on the injured list).” pic.twitter.com/HQ1TlhynHy
Jake Bauers was added to the taxi squad and could get the call if Judge does have to miss more time.
Justin Verlander (shoulder), New York Mets — Say hello to Justin Verlander: former AL MVP and Binghamton Rumble Pony.
Justin Verlander is ready to go for the @RumblePoniesBB. #LGM pic.twitter.com/aBjqnz9ds8— GENY Mets Report (@genymets) April 28, 2023
Verlander made his first — and hopefully final — rehab start on Friday afternoon, and he looked no worse for wear: 4.2 innings, two hits, six Ks, sitting around 94-95 on the radar gun. He told reporters afterwards that he feels fine, and it sounds like he could make his Mets debut next week.
Yordan Alvarez (neck), Houston Astros — Just when it seemed like Alvarez was trending towards an IL stint, Friday offered some good news: Dusty Baker told reporters that Alvarez was doing better and participated in pregame activities with the team on Friday evening. No word yet on a timetable, but it sounds like things are headed in the right direction — and he could be available off the bench as soon as tonight.
J.D. Martinez (back), Los Angeles Dodgers — Martinez, however, will need some time on the IL, as the Dodgers put him on the 10-day prior to Friday’s game. The move was backdated, meaning the earliest he could return is next Friday, although there’s no timetable for now. The move will likely extend top prospect Michael Busch’s stint with the club as DH, even with Max Muncy returning from the paternity list.
Bryce Harper (elbow), Philadelphia Phillies — It seems like Harper’s return — fully a month ahead of schedule — could be right around the corner. The outfielder took live BP on the field ahead of Friday’s game and put together what manager Rob Thomson called his “best day yet. He’ll swing the bat again on Sunday, and then head to L.A. for the follow-up appointment that could determine whether he’s cleared to return or not. The team has already hinted that he won’t need a rehab stint once he’s ready, so prepare yourselves for Harper in the lineup at some point next week.
Carlos Rodon (forearm)/Luis Severino (lat), New York Yankees — Good news on the injury front for once for New York, as both of their injured aces took steps forward on Friday. Rodon threw his first bullpen since being shut down with a back issue, throwing 22 pitches. Severino, meanwhile, threw his own 40-pitch bullpen complete with rests to simulate time between innings. Rodon is still weeks away as he builds up his throwing program, but Severino could set out on a rehab assignment as early as next week.
Brandon Woodruff (shoulder), Milwaukee Brewers — Woodruff underwent a follow-up MRI on Friday and apparently the results were positive, or at least positive enough that he’s been cleared to resume throwing. The timeline is still fuzzy, but he’s likely weeks away from returning.
Yandy Diaz (shoulder)/Pete Fairbanks (fingers), Tampa Bay Rays — A couple of injury scares for the AL East leaders, although neither seems too serious. Diaz banged up his shoulder while sliding into home plate on Friday night against the Chicago White Sox, but Kevin Cash said he doesn’t expect it to warrant an IL stint — the third baseman was set for a day off on Saturday anyway and will certainly get one now.
Fairbanks was abruptly pulled from his save opportunity with two outs in the ninth inning, but it sounds like it was just a precaution:
Bench coach Rodney Linares told Andy Freed and Neil Solondz on @RaysRadio that he believed the removal of Pete Fairbanks was precautionary. Fairbanks was diagnosed with Raynaud’s Syndrome last year and can lose feeling in his fingers when the weather is cold. #Rays— Steve Carney (@stevecarney) April 29, 2023
Jason Adam would fill in as Tampa’s closer if Fairbanks is unavailable this weekend.
Tyler O’Neill (back), St. Louis Cardinals — O’Neill was a late scratch prior to Fridays’ game against the Los Angeles Dodgers with what the team is calling a tight back. It doesn’t sounds too serious, but with O’Neill’s injury history you never know. If he were to miss time, top prospect Jordan Walker would likely get the call back up from Triple-A.
Kenta Maeda/Tyler Mahle, Minnesota Twins — The Twins issued diagnoses for both of their injured starters on Friday. It’s a triceps strain for Maeda, who will be shut down until his symptoms subside and then begin ramping up again — doctors didn’t think it was related to his prior Tommy John surgery, which is obviously good news. Mahle has an impingement in the back of his elbow, which sounds very painful but is far better than some sort of ligament damage — the team hasn’t yet had imaging done and hopes that it will resolve itself with anti-inflammatories. Bailey Ober and Louie Varland will fill those rotation spots in the meantime.
German Marquez (elbow), Colorado Rockies — Tough news for Marquez after he left his start against the Cleveland Guardians earlier in the week with an apparent arm injury:
#Rockies RHP Germán Márquez says he will miss at least six weeks but he won't return until he is confident in his health. Inflammation is on the outside of his elbow. He says he fears Tommy John surgery, like all pitchers. However, he does not regret coming back Wednesday from...— Thomas Harding (@harding_at_mlb) April 28, 2023
Marquez said he doesn’t regret returning from the IL so soon, as he was symptom-free until he felt pain after a pitch in the fourth inning in Cleveland. Noah Davis will likely continue in the rotation for Colorado.
Garrett Whitlock (elbow), Boston Red Sox — Whitlock, scheduled to start on Saturday against Cleveland, was abruptly placed on the IL on Friday afternoon with ulnar neuritis in his right elbow. You may remember that diagnosis as the exact same one Jeffrey Springs received a week or so before needing to undergo Tommy John surgery, although it doesn’t seem like there’s reason to panic yet — other pitchers have dealt with similar nerve issues and missed a matter of weeks. Whitlock, for his part, didn’t think it would be anything so serious.
Garrett Whitlock said he felt something akin to a numbness or tingling two side sessions ago, and had felt it sporadically when throwing pitches since. He said he’s not concerned that this is anything like the torn UCL that led to Tommy John surgery in ‘19. He hasn’t had an MRI.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) April 28, 2023
Brayan Bello was brought back from Triple-A and hopes to improve on his disastrous start to the 2023 season.
Jose Quintana (ribs), New York Mets — For the first time since undergoing rib surgery, Quintana played catch on Friday afternoon. It’s the very earliest stages of his throwing program, and he likely won’t be back til some time in June, but progress nonetheless.
Travis d’Arnaud (concussion), Atlanta Braves — d’Arnaud wasn’t in the lineup against the New York Mets on Friday, but he did travel with the team to Queens and even took part in batting practice before the game. At this point, d’Arnaud’s been out so long that he might require a rehab assignment, but it seems like that might happen at some point next week.
Randal Grichuk (hernia), Colorado Rockies — Grichuk has completed his rehab assignment and is back with the Rockies and ready to be activated at some point this weekend. It’s unclear how the outfield picture will shake out once he returns, but he might squeeze Jurickson Profar, who’s off to a terrible start to the season. Grichuk figures to get regular playing time and carries deep-league upside in Coors Field.
Chas McCormick (back), Houston Astros — McCormick’s back is finally feeling well enough to begin a rehab assignment this weekend in Double-A. It’s unclear how many games he’ll need to play, but he’s a recommended stash in all leagues as he’ll likely resume his place atop the Astros’ order before too long.
Royce Lewis (knee), Minnesota Twins — At long last, an update:
Royce Lewis is now playing in some Florida Complex League games, focusing on both shortstop and third base. Head athletic trainer Nick Paparesta said they’re looking to get him into a full rehab assignment in May.— Do-Hyoung Park (@dohyoungpark) April 28, 2023
A former top prospect, Lewis tore up the Majors to the tune of a .300/.317/.550 line over the first 12 games of his career before promptly tearing his ACL. The Twins have a crowded infield picture, but once Lewis is healthy he figures to demand every-day playing time — even if that’s at the expense of someone like Jose Miranda. If you have an IL spot available, you’d be wise to use it.