Playoff Contender Injury News: Heyward, Grichuk, Pence, Leake, Aoki, Burnett, More

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Playoff Contender Injury News: Heyward, Grichuk, Pence, Leake, Aoki, Burnett, More

Chicago Cubs

jason heyward cardinalsYesterday was injury day at Bleacher Nation, apparently, with news on Billy McKinney, a host of Cubs prospects, and Giants outfielder Hunter Pence.

But that’s not all, because there’s a whole lot of other injury relevance to discuss in the NL playoff races …

  • Jason Heyward was not in the lineup again last night for the Cardinals after leaving Monday night’s game with some left hamstring tightness. He’s hoping to play this weekend in San Diego. Losing Heyward for any amount of time could be particularly harmful for the Cardinals, given the current health of outfielders Matt Holliday, Jon Jay and Randal Grichuk.
  • Speaking of Grichuk, the Cardinals’ 24-year-old outfielder had been filling in admirably for injured starting outfielders Matt Holliday and Jon Jay before joining them on the disabled list, himself. Grichuk heads to the 15-day DL – back-dated to Monday – with a right elbow injury, including a muscle strain and a low grade ligament sprain. As of now, the Cardinals are hoping Grichuk can return on or around September 1 when rosters expand, even if it is in a limited role. If the Cardinals find a way to win at the pace they’ve been winning at – without Gricuk, Heyward, Holliday and Jay – someone will need to explain that to me.
  • It got its own article yesterday, but it’s worth reiterating that the Hunter Pence injury could be the most impactful of all in the NL playoff races. Oblique injuries can, of course, vary in severity and healing time, but they are generally pretty difficult to return from. If you recall, Tommy La Stella has been out with an oblique injury for quite some time, so this might be particularly poor timing for the Giants, who are already missing Angel Pagan and Nori Aoki in the outfield.
  • Luckily, they may not be missing Aoki for long, though, as he is expected back soon after going down previously with a concussion. The Giants are currently the runner up in the Wild Card race, as well as their own division, so any set backs can be detrimental to their playoff hopes.
  • For example, their deadline acquisition Mike Leake missed yet another start with a hamstring issue, but it’s possible that he could be back this weekend. With a tough schedule ahead and an uphill climb, the Giants will really have to lean on their entire roster if they hope to make up some ground.
  • There is a trio of Pirates rehabbing at AAA – Corey Hart, Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison – though each is at different parts of their recovery. Corey Hart (right knee) is just beginning his rehab assignment, while Mercer (left knee) isn’t yet playing full games and Harrison (left thumb) seems just about ready to return. The trio may represent a pretty significant boon to the Pirates who are the leaders in the Wild Card race and have had one of the best records in baseball all season long.
  • The Pirates are not just rehabbing position players, though, as pitcher A.J. Burnett is eyeing a return in early September. After going on the 15-day disabled list with a flexor strain in his right elbow, Burnett may be close to pitching off the mound later this week, according to manager Clint Hurdle. It goes without saying that a getting Burnett back, and his 3.06 ERA (3.09 FIP), would undoubtedly be a huge help for the Pirates down the stretch.
  • Lastly, David Wright might be back as early as next week, according to a report at Wright, who has been rehabbing in Class A St. Lucie, is working his way back from spinal stenosis in his lower back and has only appeared in 8 games for the Mets in 2015. The Mets have been doing pretty well without their former face of the franchise, but New York would surely welcome him back as soon as possible.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami