DR HQ: 2013 injury risks: Third base

Ryan Zimmerman (3B, WAS)
Zimmerman struggled with right shoulder soreness for a good chunk of the 2012 season. He then underwent surgery in October to repair damage due to a sprained A/C joint. This joint is where the end of the clavicle (collarbone) helps form the A/C joint at the top of the shoulder. Note it is not part of the main shoulder joint where the humerus (upper arm bone) inserts into the shoulder socket. Zimmerman reportedly has some signs of arthritis in the A/C joint that has caused discomfort when he throws. It could eventually force Zimmerman to move across the diamond. He is DHing right now as a precaution though expects to try it out in the field in the next couple of days.
Draft Day Risk: Slight

Adrian Beltre (3B, TEX)
A strained right calf muscle shelved Beltre’s plans to play in the World Baseball Classic this spring. The injury is not that serious, but he is trying to prevent not being ready for the Opening Day roster. Unless he suffers a noticeable setback between now and the opener, he should be good to go at the start of the season.
Draft Day Risk: Slight

Aramis Ramirez (3B, MIL)
He suffered a jammed left knee sliding into second base during an exhibition game very early in March. He was diagnosed with a sprained left knee after the MRI ruled out any damage to the meniscus or ligaments. He is already running the bases and taking infield and is expected back in the lineup before the start of the season.
Draft Day Risk: Low

Evan Longoria (3B, TAM)
A strained left hamstring injury plagued Longoria late in 2012. Eventually, he underwent surgery in the fall (likely to clean up some scar tissue). The Rays have been conservative with him this spring to help prevent a setback. Longoria is now playing in back-to-back games and should be fairly close to 100% at the start of the season. One can’t help but wonder if playing on the hard surface at Tropicana is taking a toll on his body.
Draft Day Risk: Slight

Brett Lawrie (3B, TOR)
Lawrie has a strained intercostal muscle and sore ribs on the left side of his torso. It has kept him out of the World Baseball Classic and there isn’t a definitive return date for him right now. Lawrie stated a couple of days ago that he may not be ready for the opener. This ailment is tough to recover from in a short amount of time. The pace of the timetable cannot be increased and if he may need 4-6 weeks to recover. It looks like Lawrie will start the year on the disabled list; he probably will miss up to the first two weeks of the season getting back up to speed and ready for the long grind.
Draft Day Risk: Moderate

Will Middlebrooks (3B, BOS)
Middlebrooks suffered a non-displaced fractured pisiform bone in his right wrist last August. Luckily, he did not need surgery to repair or remove the bone. We were reminded of the injury when Middlebrooks was taken out of a game early this spring shaking his right hand. Despite the scare, this injury should not surface again this season.
Draft Day Risk: Slight

Trevor Plouffe (3B, MIN)
The MRI on his sore right calf was “favorable,” meaning he does not have a significant tear in the calf muscle. He is on the shelf for roughly a week after suffering a setback earlier in March. If Plouffe does not suffer another setback, he should be (barely) ready for the opener. Another setback and he will probably need to spend 7-10 days in Florida in extended spring training.
Draft Day Risk: Slight

Alex Rodriguez (3B, NYY)
Rodriguez had surgery on both hips to repair damage to the labrum; the latest was his left hip in early January. The current speculation has him missing the first half of the season. It is apparent his body is failing him as it continues to break down. The question is when will he be back and at what level of performance. Its difficult for a major league player to return from this type of surgery, though in recent years progress has been made to the point it is no longer a career ender. Rodriguez is trying to overcome two surgeries, which makes it possible that he may not return after the second one. It will be tempting to draft him late with the hope he does bounce back the second half of the 2013. Avoid the risk and take a flyer on someone who is healthy.
Draft Day Risk: Extreme

And a late-breaking entry:

David Wright (3B, NYM)

It’s a rare injury in baseball—strained intercostal muscle—but Wright is the second high profile player to suffer this injury in March (Brett Lawrie is the other). Wright suffered his earlier in the week, but withheld information from the Mets and the USA WBC medical staff until Friday. He’ll be shut down for 3-5 days, then resume activity to test out how he is healing. The Mets describe it as a moderate strain, which does not jibe with only 3-5 days rest. Wright has the reputation of playing with pain (he played with a fractured vertebrae in the past) so its possible he’ll rebound fairly quickly. Still, I’d plan on Wright starting the season on the DL and missing up to ten days at the start of the season.
Draft Day Risk: Low

Conclusion: Though depth is down for 3B, the position overall is fairly healthy as a whole. 

Next up: Second base


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