DR HQ: 2013 injury risks: First base

Albert Pujols (1B, LAA)
Pujols had his right knee cleaned up in October. Reportedly, it was a minor surgery but as spring training started, he wasn’t running. When will he get into a game to test his knee at first base? The Angels have not given a target date for his return to the field, though he did DH over the weekend. He needs to play the field enough to be assured that the knee is sound. One has to wonder if there was more to his knee injury and surgery.
Draft Day Risk: Slight

Joey Votto (1B, CIN)
Votto is the other big name first baseman with knee issues. He underwent surgery on his left knee in July to repair damage to the meniscus. A couple of weeks later he needed a second surgery to remove a loose body floating around his knee joint. Since then he’s had a smooth rehab with no setbacks. He’s moving without any issues so far this spring and looks like he will be ready for the regular season.
Draft Day Risk: Low

Corey Hart (1B, MIL)
Hart suffered a right knee injury during a January workout that required surgery. He had a torn meniscus repaired and the surface of the joint in his knee was cleaned up; it was also reported he had a microfracture in his knee. He was projected to miss four months—putting his return around the middle of May—though Hart says he will be ready around April 16. We expect a return a couple of weeks earlier than expected, perhaps right around the end of April. Once he is back and shows he is healthy his owners shouldn’t have to worry about his knee.
Draft Day Risk: Medium

Lance  Berkman (1B, TEX)
Last fall, Berkman underwent surgery on his right knee to clear out some meniscus that was causing some discomfort. That was his second surgery on his knee in a year.  This spring Berkman has struggled with a strained right calf. This issue should not be a concern, but the knee problems are. Berkman has had multiple injuries and surgeries on his knees and he may not have much left.
Draft Day Risk: High

Paul Konerko (1B, CHW)
Konerko had wrist surgery late last season to remove a loose body. He had an uneventful rehab over the winter and entered spring training healthy. Konerko is swinging free and there are no signs his left wrist is sore or causing him any problems. Draft with confidence this spring.
Draft Day Risk: Slight

Eric Hosmer (1B, KC)
It was determined Hosmer had a slight tear in the rotator cuff in his right shoulder late in September. He rehabbed without any issues over the offseason and came into spring training looking strong. The fact he was allowed to participate in the Word Baseball Classic says the Royals medical staff was confident the ailment healed.
Draft Day Risk: Slight

Ryan Howard (1B, PHI)
The Achilles injury he suffered in the 2011 postseason plagued him for a good chunk of 2012. At the end of the season, he suffered a fractured big toe that needed the entire offseason to heal. The Phillies indicate he is healthy and they do not expect any issues with the toe or Achilles this year.
Draft Day Risk: Slight

Mark Teixeira (1B, NYY)
Technically, we can blame the World Baseball Classic on his injury. During batting practice for the WBC Teixeira suffered a partially torn tendon in his right wrist. He is now in shutdown mode for four weeks with a projected return toward the middle of May. When this ailment occurred it was compared to the one Jose Bautista had with the Blue Jays last year. The difference between the two injuries is Teixera’s involves the tendon; Bautsita’s was the sheath that surrounds the tendon. I believe the tendon injury is more serious though both are very painful. It's not out of the question he misses one-third of the 2013 season and when he does return, he struggles early on generating the kind of power numbers we are used to.
Draft Day Risk: High

Kyle Blanks (1B, SD)
Blanks suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder at the start of the 2012 season and he was done for the year. The surgery repaired the damage and he entered spring training healthy. As we have seen with position players in recent seasons, they can come back from the surgery and be as productive as they were before the surgery.
Draft Day Risk: Slight

Matt Adams (1B, STL)
Adams needed surgery in August of 2012 to remove several bone chips from his right elbow. The elbow was in good shape once camp opened but now he has developed tendinitis in his left knee. The Cards medical staff should have enough time to clear this up.
Draft Day Risk: Low

Todd Helton (1B, COL)
Helton had surgery last August to repair damage to his right hip. This is a tough surgery to recover from for a 39-year-old first baseman at the end of his career. The he had left knee surgery in November to repair meniscus damage. Now during spring action, Helton suffered a sprained right knee and is on the shelf for a few days to let the swelling subside. He’s now a corner infield type pickup with a bunch of injury risk. Pass on him and look for a healthier and safer investment.
Draft Day Risk: High

There are some big names on this list, but there are not a lot of serious injuries nor ones that are difficult to evaluate.

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  For more information about the terms used in this article, see our Glossary Primer.