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MLB Injury Comebacks Worth Wathing

Posted by Javier on 2/21/2017 6:49:41 AM

Spring training isn’t just about getting back in gear before the regular season.

It is also a crucial time to evaluate players recovering from major injuries to show that they’re ready to contribute, and perhaps turn some pretenders into contenders.

MLB gambling lines

The MLB gambling lines at SportsBetting.ag are based on returning players, including those with health concerns or are returning from injury.

Who are the biggest names making their way back from 2016 seasons marred by injury?

Matt Harvey, RHP, New York Mets

MLB gambling lines for Mets' odds to win World Series: +1200

Injury: Thoracic outlet syndrome. Surgery: July 2016

If the Mets’ starting rotation is healthy from No. 1 through 4 on Opening Day, they will be the favorites to win the National League East. The most important health question for all their starters is Harvey, who is trying to come back from surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome. He was one of the best pitchers in baseball in 2015 when he went 13-8 with a 2.71 ERA, 3.05 FIP, while recording 188 strikeouts in 189? innings. However, he was never healthy last year, which led to a 4-10 record and 4.86 ERA in 17 starts before being shut down and eventually operated on. Harvey is the most important player in Mets camp trying to come back from injury.

2. Michael Brantley, OF, Cleveland Indians

MLB gambling lines for Indians' odds to win World Series: +600

Injury: Chronic tendinitis in right shoulder (biceps tenodesis). Surgery: August 2016

Indians manager Terry Francona said earlier this week that Brantley will not be ready to play when the Cactus League schedule begins on Feb. 25 against the Cincinnati Reds, and that is a huge red flag since it already has been five months since his most recent shoulder surgery. Brantley has worked hard on his rehabilitation, and the Indians are prepared to go slow to limit the chances of yet another setback. The big question when Brantley is finally healthy is whether his power will still be there. He hit 20 home runs in 2014 and 15 home runs in 2015, and he collected 60-plus extra-base hits each year. If Brantley does come back healthy and slugging this year, combined with the addition of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, the Indians’ lineup could have even more punch than last season’s second-best offense in scoring in the American League.

Garrett Richards, RHP, Los Angeles Angels

MLB gambling lines for Angels' odds to win World Series: +600

Injury: Right elbow, partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. Surgery: None.

Angels general manager Billy Eppler has done an excellent job of improving the Angels’ defense to the extent that many think it will be one of the AL’s best this year. However, if they are going to be a surprise team and contend in 2017 with improvements in pitching and defense, they need a big and healthy season from Richards. He has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, but instead of having Tommy John surgery last spring he decided to get a transplantation of stem cells from his own bone marrow into the elbow. Richards was 15-12 with a 3.65 ERA and 176 strikeouts in 32 starts in 2015 to establish himself as the clear staff ace. But last year he lasted just six starts before going onto the disabled list. The Angels need this procedure to work if they are to have any chance of a winning season, or they’ll be looking back and regretting the decision of his not having Tommy John surgery a year ago.

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