With the latest updates and information on every injury in baseball, OddsTrader’s MLB injury report, in addition to competitive MLB odds, ensures you will never be left guessing as to the state of MLB teams and players.
MLB has one of the longest seasons when compared to most sports. The preseason of Major League Baseball starts in February when pitchers and catchers report for spring training, with teams making their official season debut in late March. The World Series now extends into mid-November and many players also play winter ball to keep their skills honed during the offseason.
All that baseball day in and day out for most of the year can wear down a body and subsequently lead to injury.
Just like people in all walks of life, professional baseball athletes can suffer serious injuries that require surgery and months of rest and rehab, or minor ones that just leave them limping or nursing a nagging ache for a short or long period of time.
Youth baseball features a schedule that can rival the pros for the workload on a young, growing body. More and more youngsters are becoming single-sport athletes to maximize their draft opportunities by getting as much practice as possible, as they see as their best shot at competing with the pros. As a result, many prospective major league players end up battling injury and having surgery long before they get to the professional level.
We’ll take a look at the most common MLB injuries according to baseball studies, the most severe ones and the best sources of injury data around. With our insight, you’ll be able to see if your favorite player’s season might be interrupted or if the futures odds of your preferred team might be impacted. Assessing player injuries is also important in determining how certain teams might perform against the spread (ATS).
MLB teams are only allowed to have 26 players on their active roster for a game, and not all of them are available, primarily due to the rest days that are given to pitchers. So, it’s essential for teams to make sure they’re not devoting a valuable roster spot to an injured player who won’t be taking the field on a given day.
That’s why MLB developed the injured list (IL), previously referred to as the “disabled list” until 2019. Putting a player on the IL clears his spot on the active roster so that the team can find a replacement, either in the minor leagues or by acquiring a player through trade or signing. The only catch is, in order to find a substitute, an injured player can’t return to active duty for a certain amount of time.
The IL report is included in most listings of a team’s roster. It can be found throughout many pages on the official Major League Baseball website, as well as on most major outlets that cover MLB. It can also be found at the top of this page.
When teams make a roster move related to the injured list, they are published on these platforms, and usually, an announcement of the change will be made on Twitter.
The most common injured lists are the 10-day IL and 15-day IL. The 10-day injured list is for position players who are hurt, while the 15-day injured list is for injured pitchers.
It’s important to note that the days on the various injured lists do not denote when a player will return to the active roster, they are the minimum number of days a player must miss.
So if Mike Trout goes to the 10-day IL, he can be replaced on the Angels roster with a healthy player but he isn’t allowed to play again for the next 10 days. At the end of that, his team can bring him back at any time or leave him on the injured list.
For more serious injuries that will require a rehab assignment, including season-ending injuries, there is the 60-day injured list. This means that the player won’t be available for a minimum of two months, though it could be longer.
A player on the 10 or 15-day IL can later be moved to the 60-day IL. Transferring athletes from one list to the other boosts a team’s ability to protect key players in the minor leagues.
Players who are suspected of having a concussion can be placed on a 7-day injured list while they go through the protocols to test their head injury. And there is a bereavement list and paternity list that gives players a few days off to tend to a birth or death that happens in their families.
The most common baseball injuries are usually related to joints. Baseball pitchers put tremendous strain on their arms as they throw at high velocity and torque on their joints to generate spin to make the ball move. Hitters contort their bodies as they swing, and diving fielders and sliding runners all put themselves at risk of sprains or tears.
Here’s a look at some of the most common injuries in MLB.
Knee injuries can be serious, especially for position players. When these players obtain a major knee injury, it frequently can end their season’s participation and lead to surgery.
One common serious knee injury is a tear to the meniscus, which is a cartilage cushion in the joint. Sudden turns or pivots can cause the tear. It usually feels like a sudden pop, and then the joint will swell up painfully over time.
Some players may try to play despite being hurt, depending on the severity of the tear (it can be partially torn or completely torn) and their pain tolerance. A meniscus tear usually requires surgery that can take up to four months to recover from. Even if a player is attempting to play through it, they’ll often need arthroscopic surgery to “clean up” the joint, which can sideline them for three weeks.
Ligaments supporting the knee are another source of injury. Players can sprain or tear their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or medial collateral ligament (MCL). Upper extremity injuries like tears are usually season-ending, while sprains can dismiss someone for weeks or months. Ronald Acuna suffered an ACL tear in 2021, while All-Star catcher Salvador Perez tore his MCL.
Foot and ankle injuries aren’t as likely to end a player’s season but they can last for a long time, causing a player to underperform.
The Achilles tendon runs up the back of the leg and can develop tendonitis. This can send a player to the 10-day IL, like the Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton was during the previous season. Or the Achilles tendon can be torn, which will cause a player to be unable to perform for their remaining scheduled games.
Ankle sprains can be mild or severe. Some sprains may not require placement on the injured list while others can keep a player out for 10 to 12 weeks. Willy Adames of the Brewers missed three weeks with a sprain last season. Manny Machado missed 10 days, while Mitch Haniger missed 15 weeks.
Foot injuries like plantar fasciitis or Lisfranc injuries occur occasionally in baseball but are more common in other sports, like basketball and football.
There are plenty of ways to hurt your hand and wrist while playing baseball. Fingers can get dislocated or broken while sliding or by being hit by a pitch.
Some of the top players in baseball have been sent to the IL by hairline fractures in the wrist (Trevor Story and Julio Rodriguez), tendon strains in the wrist (Mark Teixeira) and broken fingers (Ozzie Albies, Jean Segura and Eugenio Suarez). Rodriguez missed 10 days, while Story missed a month and a half. The length of time missed depends on the degree of damage and the exact location of the injury.
Pitchers can also suffer mild but painful injuries to their fingers, including problems with their nails and blisters on their middle or index finger. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t sound awful, but it affects a pitcher in the most important part of his job—gripping the ball.
These injuries often don’t need to be recorded on the IL, so they typically aren’t publicized, but they can cut a start short or cause a pitcher to miss a start unexpectedly. Zack Wheeler had a procedure to fix a persistent fingernail problem, while Rich Hill and Marcus Stroman have both battled blisters.
An elbow injury is one that can end a pitcher’s season prematurely. The act of pitching a baseball is strenuous for an elbow and puts pressure on the joint.
The name you’ll hear most often when discussing a player’s elbow is Tommy John. He was a pitcher in the 1970s and 80s who had his elbow rebuilt after tearing his UCL (ulnar collateral ligament), replacing the ligament with one from a cadaver. He missed an entire season but returned and pitched for many more years.
At the time, he was one of the first to receive the then-experimental surgery. Now elbow trouble leads to speculation on whether the injured player will need Tommy John surgery, which keeps most recipients out for nine months.
Forearm strain and forearm flexor tendinitis can be warning signs of a potential UCL injury that needs Tommy John surgery. These are often symptoms of or precursors to the full torn ligament. Jacob deGrom and Justin Verlander are two of the many many pitchers that have come back to enjoy the rest of their baseball careers after this surgery.
Other injuries such as elbow sprains are less severe and have a similar recovery period to ankle injuries.
The shoulder can produce a wide range of problems in players. Much like the elbow, shoulder injuries can be the reason behind a season-ending surgery for pitchers. Rotator cuff tears are one of the more major injuries.
A cuff is a group of muscles that keeps your arm bone in the shoulder socket, and the stress of pitching can cause those muscles to tear. Obviously, this takes a long time to recover from and ensure that the tear won’t recur when the pitcher begins stressing the joint in the future. One player who’s come back into play after struggling with rotator cuff problems is Shane Bieber.
The rotator cuff is also the origin of a slightly less severe injury known as shoulder impingement. In this injury, tendons supporting the cuff get pinched. This is frequently indicative of an eventual tear if left unaddressed. Shane Mclanahan, Kyle Hendricks and David Wright all have battled impingements.
There are many other body parts susceptible to damage when an athlete is out on the field. Hamstring injuries affect the tendons and muscles in the back of a player’s leg. They can be strained or torn and they tend to get reinjured easily, so a player with a strain must handle it carefully to avoid a tear.
It can be frustrating to try to treat these injuries, as there are often many false starts when things feel fine, only to have the strain return. It can range from an inconvenient day-to-day problem to a 10-day stay on the injured list to surgery that concludes a player’s season.
The hamstring strain falls into the category of soft tissue injuries, meaning bones are not involved. Other injuries in this category include oblique strains and adductor strains.
The adductor strain used to be called a groin strain, while the oblique refers to the muscles next to your abs. Back injuries or lumbar strains are also common in batters as well as catchers. All of these have varying amounts of recovery time depending on the severity and the risk of recurrence or additional damage.
Unless your name is Cal Ripken Jr., you’re going to get hurt playing in MLB. Injury risk assessment research found that professional baseball players have a 58% chance of suffering an injury in a given season.
With the time for baseball starting and ending in cold weather, injury rates are often higher in April and October games. There has been an increase in injuries in recent years as the long delay and short schedule for COVID in 2020, a late start due to COVID in 2021 and a labor dispute that caused a late start in 2022 have disrupted normal offseason rest. All of these things have combined to make workout and preparation schedules less of a priority. One study even found that injury rates nearly doubled in 2020.
Still, despite the long season and wear and tear, baseball compares favorably to other sports with faster paces like basketball, or more contact like football and hockey when it comes to injury rates.
By a wide margin, the role of the pitcher is the most subject to injuries in baseball. More than half of all baseball injuries in MLB affect pitchers. The act of pitching is demanding on an athlete’s joints. The potential for overexertion is serious, making these players prone to shoulder injuries.
More than one in four pitchers in MLB have already had at least one Tommy John surgery and more than 86% of all games involve at least one pitcher who’s returned after undergoing it. When you take into account that this is just one specific surgery for a single kind of injury, considering the rest can seem overwhelming.
After pitchers, the catcher is the second most injury-prone position. The constant squatting and standing back up—at least once for every pitch in the game—is brutal on knees and lower backs, and the risk of being hit by foul tips, bats or sliding runners trying to score just adds to the injury risk.
MLB trainers are kept very busy by the numerous injuries that players may be suffering from at any given time. Here are some common ways to treat baseball injuries.
For soft tissue injuries and other minor problems (i.e., not something that needs surgery), the RICE method is usually the first way the injury is treated. It’s meant to reduce swelling and pain.
RICE stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. You should stop using the affected area, put ice on it, wrap it and raise it above your heart. It’s why you’ll often see pitchers wearing a bag of ice strapped to their arm after a game.
RICE is just meant to keep a minor injury from being too swollen or sore to be able to play tomorrow. It doesn’t really heal or repair major problems.
Taping and strapping refer to continuing to apply compression to an injured body part. It’s usually done when a player returns to the field after suffering an injury. The injured area will be wrapped tightly with strapping tape (also known as athletic tape) to reduce the range of motion, support the joint and lower the risk of future damage.
EPAT therapy is sometimes called shockwave therapy. It bombards the injured body part with high-energy sound waves. It is a non-surgical way to manage injuries by increasing blood flow to the injured area.
Anti-inflammatories help reduce swelling, and thus pain, in injured players. It can be over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) or something stronger.
Injections of a drug called Toradol were common about 10 years ago. It has fallen out of favor as part of a regular pain management routine—like taking a couple of Advil—but it is still used in serious cases of pain.
Recovery from an injury, whether surgery is required or not, is likely going to involve physical therapy. Most teams have a physical therapist, if not a physical therapy staff and their job is to help the team’s elite athletes work their way back onto the playing field.
They do this by directing injured players through exercises that strengthen the affected area, in addition to preparing them for the normal day-to-day tasks of playing baseball.
Surgery is obviously a significant interruption to a player’s routine and schedule, whether it’s during the season or after. Many players will do everything possible to treat injuries using alternate methods and if that fails, surgery can be undergone as a last resort. Major surgery is often required for substantial pain and damage, and the recovery and rehab period can endanger the start of the next season as well.
The development of arthroscopic surgery allows some procedures to be performed in a far less invasive and risky manner, shortening recovery times and improving career longevity more now than ever before.
Obviously, MLB player injuries can have a considerable influence on betting odds. A team’s expected performance can be derailed by an injury to a key player.
The Yankees were the best team in baseball and on track to break the record for the most wins in a season until their best reliever, Michael King, suffered a serious elbow injury. They ended up barely winning their division and exiting the postseason in the second round of the playoffs.
While the injury report for each team is available to everyone, smaller injuries that don’t send a player to the IL can be tougher to gauge or detect. Being aware of who has aches and pains or players that are competing through something that may eventually end their participation can make all the difference between winning or losing a bet.
Among the most common injuries in MLB is a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), which occurs when a player’s elbow is strained and overexerted. A torn UCL affects pitchers more than position players.
The answer to this question ultimately depends on the season. Throughout this year’s regular season, the New York Yankees and the Cincinnati Reds are both up there in terms of teams with the most reported injuries.
The length of time that a player is placed on the injured list will vary according to the severity of the injury. The anticipated recovery time for a torn UCL and a flexor strain differ, for example.
The 7-day injured list (IL) in MLB is where players who have symptoms of concussions are placed. After 7 days of being on the IL, players are free to return to their regular baseball activities.
Most injured players are permitted to travel with the team, they just are not allowed to participate in any baseball activities. They can also choose to stay home and focus on recovering.