The National League’s Central division projects to be a closely fought contest, making it all the more important for each team to have all of its players available and in top form. Here are the latest notes on a few health situations from the division:
- Brewers reliever Jeremy Jeffress is likely to open the year on the injured list, skipper Craig Counsell acknowledged to reporters including Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Twitter link). The veteran righty was slowed by some shoulder issues early and has not yet returned to working from the mound, though he is throwing. While the Brewers would no doubt prefer to have Jeffress available from the jump, there’s no sense rushing him and risking a lengthier absence.
- The Cubs have a shoulder issue of their own, as infielder Daniel Descalso is dealing with soreness, per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune (via Twitter). There’s no indication that it’s a serious malady, though neither is a timeline presently available. On the bright side, the initial indications are that reliever Pedro Strop’s injured hamstring won’t be a major concern. As ESPN.com’s Jesse Rogers reports (Twitter links), Strop is quite confident that he’ll be able to return in time to get ready for the start of the season. Though he’ll be taking a break from his mound work, Strop was able to participate in practice today, indicating that the rest is primarily a precautionary matter.
- The Cardinals now have a plan in place for right-hander Carlos Martinez, per MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch (Twitter link), to bring him through some shoulder weakness. Martinez will “build up arm strength” with a throwing program over the next two weeks. At that point — just on the cusp of the season — the team will decide how to complete his preparation for the season. It’s still possible, from the club’s perspective at least, that Martinez will be on a program designed to deliver him to the MLB pen. As of late last month, that was not a path he wanted to take.