From Derek Jeter to Albert Pujols and Joe Mauer, you could put together an All-Star team just from the guys who have been stuck on the disabled list this season.
If 2010 was the Year of the Pitcher, 2011 might just be the Year of the Injury. David Wright, Buster Posey and Zack Greinke have missed big chunks of time as well, and the rash of injured stars may be one of the biggest reasons that all six division races are so close heading into the unofficial second half of the season.
With so many teams playing short-handed, no one has been able to break away from the pack yet and take command of the pennant race, setting up a 21⁄2 month sprint to the finish.
Jeter spent 21 days on the shelf with a calf injury that slowed his pursuit of 3,000 hits, Pujols stunned everyone by coming back from a broken forearm after just two weeks, and Mauer’s seemingly unimpeachable image in his home state of Minnesota took a big hit when he spent most of the first two months of the season rehabbing a mysterious leg injury.
The current disabled list is chock full of stars — Johan Santana, Jon Lester, Roy Oswalt, Carl Crawford, Josh Johnson, Justin Morneau. And many of the trips haven’t been quick ones. Wright has been on the list since May 16 with a stress fracture in his lower back, Morneau is not expected back until mid-August after having neck surgery and Johnson was placed on the 60-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation on May 17.
Others won’t be back at all this year.
Posey, San Francisco’s bright young star catcher, is out after breaking his left leg and straining some ligaments in his left ankle on a home plate collision with Florida’s Scott Cousins on May 25. Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright, Yankees right-hander Joba Chamberlain and Boston’s Daisuke Matsuzaka have all had surgery on their pitching elbows and are rehabbing for 2012.
The Red Sox, Cardinals and Giants have somehow been able to weather a series of significant injuries and sit atop their respective divisions as the second half of the season is about to commence.
Others such as the Twins, who have watched eight regular players hit the DL for extended periods of time, and the Tampa Bay Rays, who saw Evan Longoria miss 26 games with an oblique injury, got off to slow starts in part because of health problems.