MLB: With Injuries Up by 15% A Middle-Ground 30-Day IL Is Needed

Christian Yelich, MLB's Poster Boy for injured players 2021 (Getty)

MLB watches as injuries to players are on a steady rise. Teams need some wiggle room on the IL rules to adapt to their ever-changing rosters.

Major League Baseball (MLB) surely has seen the story and accompanying report by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. An alarming increase in the number of injuries to players this year is chronicled. An excerpt follows:

Information provided to The Athletic from an independent firm that studies injury data (which asked not to be named because it is not authorized to discuss its research) shows placements on the injured list increased by 15 percent in comparison from the first month of 2019, baseball’s last full season, to the first month of ’21 (both years include IL placements from spring training). The increase for pitchers was 22 percent, and the overall increase in soft-tissue injuries, including hamstring and oblique strains, was 97 percent.Ken Rosenthal, The Athletic

Those are the numbers, and unless MLB wants to look with a blind eye at them, they’d better check first with fans like us who witness the loss of some big names on teams that we follow.

So far in 2021, the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers have been the hardest hit teams with 17 and 15 placements on the IL.

They are included among seven teams with ten or more placements on the IL, including the Dodgers, Rays, and Jays.

Not so remarkably, this may account for the inversion seen in the National League West division standings.

Source: MLB
Source: MLB

Since no one professes to know how to prevent the rash of injuries, teams, players, and MLB (working together) should be looking for ways to relieve the fallout on teams when injuries occur.

MLB: The Working IL Rules

Presently, MLB’s Injured List (IL) rules are chronicled in what they call a glossary (find here)

Typically, teams use the 10-day rule first, hoping the player can return quickly. After that phase, however, things jump all the way up to 60-days, leaving little or no wiggle room before making the jump up.

Therefore, why not add a middle-ground 30-day period to the rule?

General managers, above all else, ask for flexibility from their owners, and in this case, they should be grouped pleading for the same from MLB.

Players want to rush themselves back (Remember Satchel Paige – “Don’t look back, someone might be gaining on you”).

Teams (generally) want to err on the side of caution to protect their considerable investments in these players, but the current IL rules are too hard-fast and need to give way to this new age in baseball.

MLB Can Help, But It Can’t Cure

The injuries need to go away, and in his exhaustive story, Rosenthal gives us the many reasons for the rise in injuries, along with charts and tables that add to our knowledge.

But if pitchers will keep testing the sound barrier and hitting are going to swing from their haunches, what is to be expected?

With little doubt, MLB’s poster boy for an injury-plagued All-Star has to be Christian Yelich (featured image), who has been limited to fifteen plate appearances this year, with no sign of an imminent recovery from ongoing back issues.

Carlos Carrasco: Mets Sore-Armed 2021 Starter (Alejandra Villa Loarco)

The Brewers lose, their owners lose revenue, but most of all, it’s the fans of MLB who lose the most when they learn Yelich will not be accompanying the team when the Brewers visit their ballpark.

While Yelich doesn’t necessarily support the need for a 30-day IL option because he’s too far beyond all lines, think instead of a player like Carlos Carrasco, whom the Mets recently transferred to the 60-day IL when a hiccup occurred in his rehab.

And there he will stay, whether or not his rehab kicks in, and he is ready and able to make a return before the 60-days (retroactively) have elapsed.

So, maybe it’s like doctors treating patients they know they can’t cure, but they know of ways of keeping these patients as comfortable as they possibly can.

So too is with MLB and its reaction to its incurable patients – teams trying to cope with roster maneuverings to accommodate injured players – and just giving these teams some comfort instead of a cure.


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Steve Contursi
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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.