Injury Updates: Yelich, Choi, Dickerson, Solano, Yaz, Smeltzer

Alex Dickerson, Christian Yelich, Devin Smeltzer, Donovan Solano, Ji-Man Choi, Mike Yastrzemski, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, San Francisco Giants, Tampa Bay Rays

Christian Yelich began a Triple-A rehab assignment yesterday, playing three innings in left field and receiving two plate appearances.  Back problems have led to two separate injured-list placements for Yelich this season, and limited him to only 10 games and 41 PA for the Brewers.  It isn’t yet clear how long Yelich’s rehab assignment will last before he rejoins the Brew Crew, though manager Craig Counsell is hopeful “we’re in a really good place right now” in terms of getting Yelich fully recovered.

We’re hoping we’ve turned the corner here,” Counsell told MLB.com’s Sterling Bright and other reporters.  “These are all little signs, and the most important thing we’re going to find out is [how he feels] after the game, and when he wakes up in the morning, and as we kind of move forward here playing back-to-back, and things like that.”

More on other injury situations from around baseball…

  • Ji-Man Choi was activated from the 10-day injured list today, though the first baseman didn’t make an appearance in the Rays’ 12-5 victory over the Mets.  Choi underwent arthroscopic knee surgery just prior to Opening Day and thus has yet to make his 2021 debut.  Choi (who celebrates his 30th birthday on Wednesday) has hit a cool .257/.359/.461 with 30 home runs over 821 PA since being acquired by Tampa Bay in July 2018.  Now that he is healthy, Choi is expected to assume his usual role as Tampa’s primary first base/DH option against right-handed pitching, with Yandy Diaz taking over against left-handed pitchers.
  • The Giants could soon be getting some reinforcements from the IL, as manager Gabe Kapler told reporters (including The San Francisco Chronicle’s Steve Kroner) that Alex Dickerson is within a few days of returning.  Dickerson was placed on the 10-day IL on May 7 due to a right shoulder impingement, so Sunday is the earliest the outfielder could return to action.  Donovan Solano is also slated to play five innings as part of a Triple-A rehab assignment today, as the infielder is working his way back from a right calf strain that sidelined him on April 21.
  • Mike Yastrzemski isn’t in today’s Giants lineup, as Kapler said the outfielder’s left side is “pretty sore” after colliding with the outfield wall in pursuit of an Adam Frazier triple in yesterday’s game.  Kapler didn’t think the injury was particularly serious, though Yastrzemski has already missed some time this season due to a minor oblique strain in his left side.  After a slow start to the season, Yastrzemski’s bat is beginning to heat up, and he is up to a .216/.316/.461 slash line (111 OPS+, 118 OPS+) through 117 plate appearances.
  • Twins left-hander Devin Smeltzer hit the 10-day IL Wednesday due to left elbow inflammation, and it will be “a matter of weeks” before Smeltzer is ready to return, manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters (including Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press).  Tests on Smeltzer’s elbow revealed no ligament issues but some nerve irritation.  Baldelli said there hadn’t yet been any discussion about moving Smeltzer to the 60-day IL, which would keep the southpaw out of action until after the All-Star break.  Smeltzer has spent most of the last three seasons being shuttled back and forth between the Twins’ roster and either their Triple-A team or alternate training site.  He has appeared in only one game for Minnesota this season, tossing 4 1/3 scoreless innings in a 6-2 loss to the Pirates back on April 24.