All 30 MLB teams have reported to their respective facilities on Wednesday to prepare for the 60-game season later this month. Players and coaching staff have undergone coronavirus screenings and, on Thursday, have begun working out on the field. Given that there was such a long layoff from when the league shut its doors back in March due to the global pandemic, we figured it'd be a good idea to give you some briefings on injuries you might've forgotten about.
Here are seven injuries that probably slipped your mind as Opening Day starts on July 23.
7. Aaron Hicks
Aaron Hicks is an unsung hero in the New York Yankees' loaded batting order. In fact, no one has come up in the clutch more in postseason action than Hicks, it seems. However, he barely got the opportunity last season, as he suffered an elbow injury in August before undergoing Tommy John surgery this past October. The recovery timetable revealed that Hicks would realistically return by mid-July, and luckily for him, the regular season opener takes place in a few weeks. In fact, general manager Brian Cashman expressed his belief that the everyday centerfielder would be good to go for Opening Day.
6. David Robertson
David Robertson was a stalwart of the New York Yankees bullpen from 2017-18, which caught the eye of the Philadelphia Phillies. The NL East team rewarded the reliever with a two-year, $23 million contract, and season one was essentially a waste. Not even a month into the season, Robertson suffered a Grade 1 flexor strain of his right elbow. After further inspection, Robertson had torn his UCL, which required Tommy John surgery. The setup man won't be ready for the late-July start to the season, but he revealed that mid-to-late August is a more likely target date for him.
5. Michael Fulmer
The Detroit Tigers clinched the first overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft for a reason. They were abysmal. But part of the team's decline to the basement of the standings was due to the absence of ace pitcher Michael Fulmer. Back in 2019 spring training, Fulmer experienced elbow pain while pitching a bullpen session. After insistence from doctors, Fulmer agreed to undergo Tommy John surgery. Flash forward to June 24, when the right-handed pitcher revealed that he'd completed rehabilitation and will be good to go for training camp this week. Rejoice, Tigers fans! Fulmer will be taking the mound in 2020.
4. Paul Goldschmidt
Paul Goldschmidt was the St. Louis Cardinals' big get back in the winter of 2018. After a slow start, Goldschmidt heated up mid-season and helped the Cardinals clinch a postseason berth. St. Louis had high expectations entering spring training this year, considering the NL Central is up for grabs. Back in March, Goldschmidt had a bout with right elbow soreness, which effectively knocked him out for the preseason due to the pandemic hitting the United States. During the league lockdown, Goldschmidt frequented the team's facility in Jupiter, Fla. to receive preventative care and treatment on his elbow. With summer training commencing, Goldschmidt is slated to be ready for Opening Day on June 23.
3. Noah Syndergaard
The New York Mets had high hopes entering the initial start of the 2020 season, considering they have one of the more stout pitching rotations in the league. But as is tradition, nothing can go the Mets' way. Near the tail end of spring training, the Mets announced that Noah Syndergaard suffered a torn UCL and required the dreaded elbow surgery, which knocked him out for the upcoming season. While Syndergaard hasn't been the same as of late, he's still a quality arm to pair alongside Jacob de Grom and Marcus Stroman. Alas, it's not going to happen in 2020, as he was officially placed on the injured list on June 28.
2. Giancarlo Stanton
Giancarlo Stanton has a love-hate relationship with the New York Yankees fan base. He felt their wrath during the first month of the 2018 season, but immediately got in their good graces with a stellar season. Sadly, he couldn't replicate his performance in 2019, as he was limited to 18 games due to a multitude of injuries. After participating in spring training activities, Stanton picked up a Grade 1 calf sprain, which put his status for the initial Opening Day in major flux. The good news is that the 2017 NL MVP is set to be the team's designated hitter for the start of the season. The bad news is that he's yet to perform outfield drills, which means he'll be the team's DH for a decent chunk of time.
1. Chris Sale
It seems as though Chris Sale has been cursed ever since he signed his massive contract extension with the Boston Red Sox prior to the start of the 2019 regular season. He had a brutal start to the campaign and had his season ended last August due to inflammation in his left elbow. 2020 wasn't kind to Sale, either. He dealt with a bout of pneumonia that expected to keep him out for Opening Day and learned that he had to undergo Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow in mid-March. Between Sale being ruled out for the season and the Red Sox' roster turnover, 2020 could be a very strange season without a stable rotation in Boston.