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They won't be ready for Opening Day

The Joe Nathan situation is probably the most important to watch at the current time.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The MLB season is 26 weeks long, so missing a couple of weeks at the beginning of the year isn't a huge deal, it's just that it puts you at an early disadvantage.

And that's the only reason to watch spring training games, for the injury reports. What players actually do in the exhibition games is rarely important, with the possible exception of those players coming back from off-season surgeries.

With that in mind, here are five reports worth knowing about.

The Joe Nathan (ADP 79.7) situation is probably the most important player to watch at the current time. The team will know shortly whether a two-week rest will magically heal his right arm or he'll need Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire year. You can't draft him until you know the truth.

New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes (ADP 31.7), already coming back from an injury-shortened 2009, will miss two-to-eight weeks with an overactive thyroid problem. If it takes eight weeks before he returns to the field, he'll need additional time down in Florida to get back into playing shape. He could end up missing anywhere from a couple of weeks of the regular season to two months of games. It will be very interesting to see which owner in your league pulls the trigger on Reyes. Anything above the fourth round is a gamble. Above the third round, he's a major risk-taker.

Another Met, outfielder Carlos Beltran had microfracture knee surgery in January. Considering the brouhaha that took place after the news came out, Beltran will likely wait until he is 100% before taking the field. Draft him at your own risk.

Lance Berkman "bruised" his knee last week, which has turned into minor knee surgery and two-to-four weeks on the shelf. He could miss the first two weeks of the season. I would not let this piece of news effect my selection of Berkman which is somewhere in the sixth or seventh round (ADP 80.5).

Russell Martin (ADP 141.9) strained his groin last week and will likely miss a week at the start of the season. Still, 25 weeks will be enough IF he returns to his 2007 form (.293, 19 HR, 87 RBI, 21 SB).

Selected 2009 Player Statistics

PlayerTeamCurrent ADP
Jose ReyesNYM31.7
Joe NathanMIN79.7
Lance BerkmanHOU80.5
Carlos BeltranNYM120.8
Russell MartinLAD141.9


Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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