Hopefully this won’t have to be a regular feature, but with a lot of key injuries recently it seemed like a good idea to provide a summary of the Swallows’ key player injuries.
Shohei Tateyama: The biggest injury bombshell came this morning as Tateyama held a press conference to announce that he was going to undergo reconstructive ligament surgery on his right elbow. The doctors have told Tateyama that the surgery is necessary if he wants to continue to play baseball. Tateyama might go under the knife as early as next Friday, and will require at least one year of rehab. This will be the second time Tateyama will undergo reconstructive surgery on the elbow. The last time was in 2004. Tateyama seemed to be confident that the Swallows had the necessary environment to allow him to rehab. TL;DR: Tateyama is out for the season.
Ryoji Aikawa: The Swallows’ veteran catcher completely dislocated his shoulder on a collision at the plate during yesterday’s game. While Aikawa did return to the game briefly, and even delivered an RBI double, but was eventually taken out on defense. After an examination at a Tokyo hospital Aikawa was told he’d require 2 months to recover from the injury. Nakamura has proven in the past to to be a more than adequate replacement for Aikawa, but the recent Kawamoto trade has left question marks regarding the depth of the Swallows catching corp. The Swallows have called up 2011 draftee Akihisa Nishida to fill the third catcher spot for now. Although the Swallows will probably call and recall a bunch of players to give them some first team experience. TL;DR: Aikawa is out for 2 months, but as long as Nakamura stays healthy we can probably weather this storm.
Wladimir Balentien: Coco was a casualty of the 2013 WBC as he suffered a muscle strain in his left leg. The actual severity of the injury has not been discussed publically, but media reports seemed to indicate that the team wanted to be extra careful with Balentien’s return. This lack of information has left Swallow fans to speculate about the timing of Balentien’s return. We finally got a bit of information as to the timing of Coco’s return, as Balentien tweeted that he ” will come back soon maybe sometime next week”. This is great news in light of all the other injury news, and hopefully the re-injection of Balentien’s bat into the Swallows’ lineup will help give the team an offensive boost. TL;DR: It sounds like Balentien will be returning from his WBC injury very soon.
Shingo Kawabata: Another important bat currently missing from the Swallows’ line up has been Kawabata’s. Seemingly a day after declaring his goal to play in all 144 games this season, Kawabata apparently re-aggravated the left ankle injury he suffered last year and was sent down to ni-gun camp. Details have been scarce ever since, and an injury that was assumed to be fairly light seems to be much more serious. The last report we can find on Kawabata’s injury was written on March 20, and cites inflammation in his ligament(s) in his left ankle. Kawabata has not appear in any ni-gun games, and there has been no publicly disclosed timetable for Kawabata’s return. TL;DR: Kawabata’s injured and we don’t know when he’ll be back.
Yoshinori: No Swallows injury report would be complete without mentioning Yoshinori. The young right-hander has not pitched at the top level since September of 2011. At the time, Yoshinori complained of tightness in his throwing shoulder. He is injury woes continued as he fractured his knee prior to the 2012 season. The combination of injuries kept him out for the entire 2012 season, and it seemed that Yoshinori’s shoulder was not healing according to plan. The team announced on Friday that Yoshinori would undergo surgery to clean out his shoulder and that he would require at least 6 months to fully recover. It seems likely that Yoshinori will miss two consecutive seasons. TL;DR: Yoshinori’s going under the knife and he probably won’t be back this season.