The key injuries for every playoff team

October 4th, 2021

The 2021 postseason is about to begin, but not every club is as healthy as the next. Some of the playoff teams are getting key players back at just the right time. Others will be missing stars for at least the early rounds of the postseason -- or even have to win the World Series without them.

Here are the key injuries for every team in the playoffs, starting with the ones who begin postseason play first.


Day to day: INF Gio Urshela (right thigh/elbow/calf soreness)
Urshela was sore after making a terrific catch tumbling into the Rays' dugout at Yankee Stadium in the Yankees' postseason-clinching victory in Game 162, but he expects to be ready for the Wild Card Game.

Out through Division Series: INF DJ LeMahieu (sports hernia)
LeMahieu will be out at least until the ALCS, a big loss for New York despite his down season in 2021. The versatile infielder only hit .268 with 10 home runs this season, but the 2020 MLB batting champ was a .336 hitter from 2019-20 and a .306 hitter in the postseason.

Out for postseason: 1B Luke Voit (left knee inflammation), INF/OF Miguel Andújar (left wrist strain), OF Clint Frazier (vision issues), OF Aaron Hicks (torn tendon sheath in left wrist), OF Tim Locastro (torn ACL), LHP Zack Britton (Tommy John surgery), RHP Darren O'Day (left hamstring strain)
Voit's season is over as of Sunday, leaving the Yankees with one less righty power bat for the playoffs. They've also been missing other key players like their center fielder Hicks and their setup man Britton for a while, and Locastro's speed would have been useful in the playoffs.


Day to day: DH J.D. Martinez (left ankle sprain), LHP Josh Taylor (lower back strain)
Martinez's fluke injury in the regular-season finale -- tripping over the second-base bag and spraining his ankle while running out to play right field -- would be the biggest injury news of the Wild Card Game if he's forced to miss it. Martinez had 28 home runs and an MLB-leading 42 doubles this season.

COVID-19 IL: OF/INF Danny Santana
Santana's speed and defense could make him an option for the postseason roster if the Red Sox activate him. He's been rehabbing at Triple-A Worcester.


Available: C Yadier Molina (right shoulder), SS Edmundo Sosa (right wrist), RHP Jack Flaherty (right shoulder)
Molina and Sosa were monitoring injuries over the final week of the season but returned over the weekend, so they should be good to go. Flaherty's lengthy injury stints this season will force the Cardinals' normal ace into a bullpen role for the playoffs. He made a pair of scoreless relief appearances at the end of the season.

Day to day: LHP Génesis Cabrera (left middle fingernail)
Cabrera is expected to be fully available for the postseason, with an artificial nail on his finger. The lefty had a 3.73 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 71 relief appearances this season.

Return TBD: RHP Justin Miller (right elbow strain)
Miller has been trying to make himself ready for the postseason but he's dealing with his second elbow injury of the second half.

Out for postseason: RHP Jordan Hicks (right elbow inflammation), RHP Carlos ​​Martínez (right thumb ligament sprain), RHP Ryan Helsley (right elbow stress reaction/left knee surgery)
The flamethrowing reliever Hicks won't return this season despite a surprise rehab appearance on Sept. 25, and other notable arms ​​Martínez and Helsley are out with long-term injuries too.


Day to day: 1B Max Muncy (left elbow), 2B Gavin Lux (neck stinger)
The defending World Series champs suffered a key loss in their regular-season finale when Muncy injured his left elbow in a collision at first base -- he's now expected to miss at least the Wild Card Game after slugging a team-high 36 home runs this season. Lux hasn't started a game since running into the center-field wall on Sept. 29, but he came off the bench in Game 162 and manager Dave Roberts said he expects Lux to impact the team through the playoffs.

Likely out for postseason: LHP Clayton Kershaw (left forearm discomfort)
The other big blow to the Dodgers is losing Kershaw, likely for the entire postseason, after their longtime ace exited his final start of the regular season with forearm discomfort. Kershaw was excellent on the Dodgers' World Series run last year, going 4-1 with a 2.93 ERA in five starts.

Out for postseason: INF Edwin Ríos (right shoulder surgery), LHP Danny Duffy (left flexor strain), LHP Cole Hamels (left shoulder surgery), RHP Jimmy Nelson (right elbow surgery), LHP Scott Alexander (left shoulder inflammation), RHP Dustin May (Tommy John surgery)
Among the Dodgers' long-term injuries are a slew of veteran bullpen arms, and also the electric young right-hander May, who went down early in the season.


Potentially available: LHP Carlos Rodón (left shoulder), RHP Ryan Tepera (right index finger laceration)
Rodón's health is the big question for the White Sox, as his shoulder issue has plagued him throughout the second half. He threw five one-hit innings in his last start of the regular season, but his playoff status is still Chicago's "great unknown." Tepera, who has a 2.79 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 65 appearances this season, returned to the team over the final weekend after missing a few weeks.

Day to day: RHP Dylan Cease (right triceps contusion)
Cease was sharp in his last start of the regular season and said he feels like he has "a lot more in the tank" for the playoffs. He should start Game 3 or 4 of the ALDS in Chicago.

Return TBD: OF Brian Goodwin (back tightness), RHP Evan Marshall (right forearm soreness)
Manager Tony La Russa said the team needs to see how game-ready Goodwin is after he missed the last week-plus of the season. Marshall has been progressing toward a return but it might not be enough to make the ALDS roster.


Available: RHP Zack Greinke (sore neck)
Greinke is back, but the 37-year-old isn't stretched out enough to start right now (by his own admission), so he could pitch out of the bullpen in the postseason. Greinke pitched in relief in the regular-season finale for the first time since 2007.

Likely out through Division Series: OF Jose Siri (right pinkie fracture)
The rookie outfielder batted .304 in 21 games this season, but after suffering a small fracture sliding into third base on Oct. 1, his availability for the ALDS is doubtful.

Return TBD: RHP Rafael Montero (right shoulder discomfort)
Montero started a throwing program in September, but he was also moved to the 60-day injured list and hasn't pitched since early August, which makes a postseason return less likely.

Out for postseason: RHP Pedro Báez (right shoulder soreness), RHP Justin Verlander (Tommy John surgery)
The Astros lost their ace Verlander, who helped pitch them to their World Series title in 2017, to Tommy John surgery at the end of last season.


Available: SS Wander Franco (right hamstring), RHP Andrew Kittredge (neck tightness), RHP Matt Wisler (right middle finger inflammation)
The Rays cleared several important injury hurdles at the end of the regular season, when they got back their star rookie shortstop Franco and a pair of key relievers for their bullpen stable in Kittredge and Wisler.

Return TBD: RHP Nick Anderson (lower back strain), LHP Cody Reed (left thumb weakness)
Anderson, a relief ace for Tampa Bay's postseason clubs in 2019 and '20, has only made six appearances this season and hasn't pitched since Sept. 26, so his readiness for the ALDS is in question. There's a slim chance that Reed will be able to return for the postseason as he recovers from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery.

Out through Division Series: LHP Adam Conley (COVID-19)
The reliable lefty reliever Conley, who has a 2.29 ERA in 17 appearances, will miss at least the ALDS after testing positive for COVID-19.

Out for postseason: RHP Tyler Glasnow (Tommy John surgery), RHP Ryan Thompson (right shoulder inflammation), RHP Oliver Drake (right flexor tendon strain), RHP Chris Archer (left hip discomfort), RHP Chaz Roe (right shoulder surgery), LHP Jeffrey Springs (torn right ACL)
The AL East champs will be without their ace for this postseason run after Glasnow went down with a torn UCL in June. A bunch of their usual relievers are also out for the year.


Return TBD: RHP Josh Tomlin (neck strain), LHP Tucker Davidson (left forearm strain)
The veteran Tomlin is unlikely to be added to the Braves' postseason roster unless they need a long reliever to replace Jesse Chavez, and Davidson seems unlikely to pitch in the playoffs since he's barely pitched since his forearm issue started in June.

Out through Division Series: RHP Edgar Santana (right intercostal strain)
There's a chance Santana could pitch in the NLCS if the Braves need him, but he's had mostly low-leverage duties this year.

Out for postseason: Ronald Acuña Jr. (torn right ACL), RHP Mike Soroka (torn right Achilles), C Stephen Vogt (right hip inflammation), LHP Grant Dayton (left shoulder inflammation)
The season-ending injury the Braves' superstar Acuña is the biggest blow to the team this year. Losing their would-be ace Soroka was a close second.


Likely available: RHP Jake Cousins (right biceps strain), 1B Rowdy Tellez (right knee)
Cousins should be on the NLDS roster after making a scoreless rehab appearance for Triple-A Nashville on Oct. 3. The rookie reliever had a 2.70 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 30 outings this season. The slugger Tellez returned for Milwaukee's final two games after missing about three weeks with a knee issue, so he should be ready.

Possibly out for postseason: RHP Devin Williams (right hand fracture)
It was a huge blow to the Brewers when Williams broke his hand punching a wall after the team's division-clinching win. The setup man, who had a 2.50 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 58 appearances this season, will be out until the World Series at the earliest. He could miss the entire postseason.

Out for postseason: RHP Justin Topa (right elbow), RHP John Curtiss (right UCL tear)
In addition to Williams, two of Milwaukee's other relievers, Topa and Curtiss, are also out for the year.


Available: LHP Jake McGee (right oblique strain)
McGee, the Giants' closer for most of the season (31 saves), returned to the team over the final weekend of the season after missing a few weeks, but he hasn't pitched in a game since Sept. 12. The Giants could stick with flamethrowing rookie Camilo Doval in the closer role after he filled in down the stretch.

Return TBD: 1B Brandon Belt (left thumb fracture)
Belt will miss at least a significant chunk of the postseason after breaking his thumb when he was hit by a pitch on Sept. 26. It's a tough loss for the NL West champs -- Belt hit a career-high 29 home runs this year and was red-hot down the stretch.

Out through Division Series: LHP Tony Watson (left shoulder strain)
The veteran left-hander, who has a 3.92 ERA in 62 relief appearances this season (including a 2.96 ERA in 26 outings since returning to the Giants from the Angels), is expected to miss the NLDS per manager Gabe Kapler.