1 player each team is eager to get back from the IL

4:04 AM UTC

Two months into the 2024 season, no MLB team can say it’s truly at full strength. Every club deals with injuries, and all 30 teams have at least one Major League player on the injured list. Some players are out for the rest of the season, while some are due back any day now, but it’s never ideal to be without key contributors for any length of time.

With that in mind, here’s the one player each team is eager to get back from the IL — and when that player might be back on the field.

American League East

Blue Jays: RP Chad GreenRight teres major strain (last played April 15)

Green has been sidelined roughly six weeks with a muscle strain in his pitching arm, but his stint on the IL should be over soon. The right-hander made his third rehab appearance with Triple-A Buffalo on Saturday and could return to the Blue Jays’ roster as soon as Tuesday. Once he does return, he should promptly slot into a high-leverage relief role for a Toronto team that ranks 28th in MLB with a 4.95 bullpen ERA. MORE >

Orioles: SP Tyler WellsRight elbow inflammation (April 12)

Wells isn’t the only Orioles starter on the IL, with John Means (left forearm strain) and Dean Kremer (right triceps strain) joining the right-hander in recent days. But Wells — who had a 3.64 ERA and sub-1 WHIP in 20 starts last season — can give Baltimore a boost when he returns. That might not be for a while, as Wells has just started to play catch at the Orioles’ complex in Florida. But the O’s will welcome the righty back as soon as Wells is fully healthy. MORE >

Rays: SP Jeffrey SpringsTommy John surgery (has not played)

Springs got off to a scorching start in 2023, pitching 13 scoreless innings with 19 strikeouts before tearing his UCL in his third start of the season against the Red Sox. The left-hander’s return might be delayed by a lat issue he suffered during Saturday’s rehab outing, but Springs could be back in the Majors as soon as late June. That would be a huge addition to a club that just lost Zach Eflin (lower back inflammation) to the IL. MORE >

Red Sox: 1B Triston CasasTorn cartilage in left rib cage (April 20)

Casas is working his way back after injuring himself on a swing in April, taking grounders for the first time before Friday’s game at Fenway Park. On the 60-day IL, Casas isn’t eligible to return until June 21, but he could be ready to come back by then if his rehab continues to progress well. Casas hit six home runs with an .857 OPS in 22 games before his injury, picking up where he left off after a second-half tear in 2023. MORE >

Yankees: SP Gerrit ColeRight elbow discomfort (has not played)

Cole recently said he “wouldn’t rule out” returning to the Yankees’ rotation in June, although the right-hander has yet to begin a rehab assignment. He has been throwing from a mound since May 4 and threw 20 pitches of live batting practice on Saturday in Tampa, Fla. New York sits in first place in the AL East despite being without the 2023 AL Cy Young Award winner all year, so Cole’s return should make a strong rotation even better. MORE >

AL Central

Guardians: OF Steven KwanAcute left hamstring strain (May 4)

Kwan started a rehab assignment with High-A Lake County on Saturday and is scheduled to start in left field for Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday. Before his hamstring injury, Kwan led the AL with a .353 average and had posted a .903 OPS on the season. The Guardians have yet to find a consistent replacement for Kwan in left field, so his impending return will go a long way. MORE >

Royals: SP Kris BubicTommy John surgery (has not played)

Bubic’s recovery from Tommy John has gone smoothly so far, with the lefty’s target return date (around midseason) still in play. Bubic had his rehab assignment transferred from Double-A to Triple-A on Tuesday, a potential sign of an impending return. Starting pitching has already been a strength for the red-hot Royals, but you can never have enough pitching depth, and getting Bubic back will only help Kansas City. MORE >

Tigers: RP Shelby MillerRight ulnar nerve inflammation (May 11)

Not long after a procedure to remove scar tissue from his ulnar nerve, Miller could make a rehab appearance with Triple-A Toledo this week. The right-hander, who made 15 appearances before landing on the IL, said he is no longer dealing with stiffness and soreness in his arm. Miller posted a 1.71 ERA in 42 innings for the Dodgers last season, and the Tigers hope for similarly strong production when the reliever returns to the club. MORE >

Twins: 3B Royce LewisRight quad strain (March 28)

Injuries have sidelined Lewis once again after the third baseman impressed mightily in 2023. Lewis hit .309 with a .921 OPS in 58 games before crushing two home runs in the Twins’ postseason opener against the Blue Jays. He started strong on Opening Day with a home run in his first at-bat of 2024 before straining his quad running the bases later in the game. Lewis began a rehab assignment with Triple-A St. Paul on Saturday, but he’ll need some time to build back up to game action. MORE >

White Sox: CF Luis Robert Jr.Right hip flexor strain (April 5)

When Robert went down with an injury barely a week into the season, it was a big loss for a White Sox team that ranks last in MLB in OPS at .606. But the 2023 AL All-Star is on the way back — Robert could rejoin the White Sox by the weekend in Milwaukee at the earliest. Robert had his rehab assignment moved to Triple-A Charlotte and is set to begin play with the Knights on Tuesday. MORE >

Angels: CF Mike TroutTorn meniscus in left knee (April 29)

Trout has played more than 100 games in a season just once since 2019, and his latest injury might prevent him from reaching that benchmark once again. The three-time AL MVP tore his meniscus in late April and underwent surgery on May 3. Trout is expected to return in 2024, possibly around midseason, and he has progressed to riding a bike and using an elliptical. Trout was off to a strong start with 10 homers and six steals in 29 games, and his return will be massive for the Angels. MORE >

Astros: SP Luis GarciaTommy John surgery (has not played)

The owner of a career 3.61 ERA, Garcia underwent Tommy John surgery last May after making just six starts in 2023. The right-hander was a reliable member of the Astros’ rotation in 2021 and 2022 and will be welcomed back with Hunter Brown struggling and Cristian Javier, José Urquidy and Lance McCullers Jr. also on the IL. Garcia threw from the mound at Minute Maid Park last week and could begin to face hitters soon, a big step in his recovery process. MORE >

Athletics: SP Paul BlackburnRight foot stress reaction (May 10)

Blackburn — Oakland’s All-Star rep back in 2022 — started 2024 strong, not allowing an earned run in 19 1/3 innings across his first three starts. The righty’s IL stint will be longer than the minimum 15 days, as Blackburn is still in a walking boot. A’s starters have an ERA of 5.12 (28th in MLB) this season, so Blackburn’s return can’t come soon enough for his club. MORE >

Mariners: RP Gregory SantosRight lat strain (has not played)

The Mariners sent two of their Top 30 prospects to the White Sox to acquire Santos in February, but the right-handed reliever has yet to make his debut for Seattle. Santos was slowed by shoulder soreness in Spring Training and was set back by a lat strain while ramping up. He won’t be back in the Major Leagues until at least July, targeting early June for his first bullpen session. MORE >

Rangers: 3B Josh JungRight wrist fracture (April 1)

The Rangers’ starting pitching injuries are piling up, but the loss of Jung just four games into the season has been a tough pill to swallow, too. Jung owns a career .963 OPS against left-handed pitching, and the Rangers have struggled (.647 OPS) against lefties with the young third baseman on the IL. The initial timeline for Jung was eight to 10 weeks from his surgery in early April, and while Jung has yet to begin baseball activities, he should be back in time to contribute for the second half of the season. MORE >

National League East

Braves: SP AJ Smith-ShawverLeft oblique strain (May 23)

There’s no hope of Ronald Acuña Jr. (torn ACL) returning from the IL in 2024, but the Braves could get some help on the pitching side. Smith-Shawver, Atlanta’s No. 1 prospect, suffered a Grade 2 strain of his left oblique in his first outing of the season on Thursday against the Cubs. It could be roughly two months until Smith-Shawver is ready to return, but the Braves could use the help once he is. MORE >

Marlins: SP Edward CabreraRight shoulder impingement (May 7)

Cabrera’s rehab from a shoulder injury that has resulted in two separate IL stints this year hasn’t been linear. After being on no-throw status for five to seven days, the right-hander threw from 60 feet on Monday. With Sandy Alcantara and Eury Pérez both out for the year due to Tommy John surgery, the Marlins could certainly benefit from Cabrera’s return, whenever it comes. MORE >

Mets: SP Kodai SengaRight posterior shoulder capsule strain (has not played)

Senga’s 2024 debut has been delayed even further due to nerve inflammation in the pitcher’s right triceps area. Senga won’t resume playing catch until Wednesday, and he could need a month or more to stretch out as a starter. That means Senga’s first outing of 2024 isn’t likely to come until at least July, but he could still return to help the Mets rotation at some point in the year. MORE >

Nationals: SP Josiah GrayRight elbow/forearm flexor strain (April 4)

An All-Star last season, Gray made just two starts in 2024 before landing on the IL on April 9. He’s made a lot of progress since, throwing 23 pitches in a simulated game Saturday at Nationals Park and tossing 27 more pitches in the bullpen. It should be a few more weeks until Gray is ready to go, but the Nats will be patient with their young pitcher. MORE >

Phillies: SS Trea TurnerLeft hamstring strain (May 3)

The Phillies have been fine (OK, more than fine) without Turner, but they still miss him. Turner appeared to be ahead of his original six-week timeline early on in his rehab process, but manager Rob Thomson said the Phillies will “pull back a little bit” after Turner reported a bit of soreness and stiffness on Sunday. Philadelphia can afford to be cautious with Turner until the star shortstop is fully healed. MORE >

NL Central

Brewers: CL Devin WilliamsBack stress fractures (has not played)

Williams is on schedule in his rehab from two stress fractures in his back, which were discovered during Spring Training. The Brewers’ closer played catch May 18 and said he hopes to be back in the Majors by late July. While Trevor Megill, Bryan Hudson and others have helped hold things down in Williams’ absence, the two-time All-Star’s return should improve a strong bullpen for the first-place Brewers. MORE >

Cardinals: C Willson ContrerasLeft forearm fracture (May 7)

The Cardinals’ lineup took a big hit the moment Contreras went down with a fractured arm after being hit by a swing while catching. In his second year with St. Louis, Contreras was off to a tremendous start with six homers and a .950 OPS. Now, he won’t be back until hopefully mid-July after undergoing surgery to repair the fracture. The Cards will certainly be happy to have their starting catcher back once Contreras’ rehab process is complete. MORE >

Cubs: CL Adbert AlzolayRight forearm strain (May 12)

The Cubs’ bullpen has been a trouble spot at times, and Alzolay is among several injured relievers Chicago can’t wait to get back. Yes, the righty has been part of those struggles with five blown saves in nine save opportunities this season, but Alzolay had a 2.67 ERA and 22 saves for the Cubs in 2023. It’ll be a while until Alzolay returns — on Wednesday, he was shut down from throwing for at least two weeks — but he should be able to help stabilize the bullpen once he returns. MORE >

Pirates: 3B Ke’Bryan HayesLow back inflammation (May 7)

Hayes has resumed all baseball activities and was scheduled to run the bases Sunday, his next step in a rehab process that shouldn’t last too much longer. The Pirates third baseman landed on the IL on May 11, with Jared Triolo filling in at the hot corner in Hayes’ absence. A Pittsburgh team tied for 25th in MLB with -11 Outs Above Average in 2024 certainly can’t wait to get Hayes — an elite defender at third base — back on the field. MORE >

Reds: SS Matt McLainLeft shoulder surgery (has not played)

McLain was cleared to resume throwing and running in mid-May, six weeks after undergoing surgery to address cartilage damage and repair his labrum. He and manager David Bell have both said McLain’s goal is still to return in 2024, although it could be another four weeks or more until McLain is even able to swing a bat. The Reds would surely welcome any contributions from the second-year infielder after his strong rookie season. MORE >

NL West

D-backs: SP Merrill KellyRight shoulder strain (April 15)

A recent MRI on Kelly’s shoulder appeared to show significant healing, a good sign for the right-hander, who has been on the IL since mid-April and was transferred to the 60-day IL on May 2. Kelly has made only four starts in 2024 after helping pitch the D-backs into the 2023 World Series and should be able to help Zac Gallen and co. in Arizona’s rotation upon his return. MORE >

Dodgers: SP Clayton KershawLeft shoulder surgery (has not played)

The Dodgers’ rotation has been just fine without Kershaw so far, owning a 3.54 ERA that ranks seventh in MLB. But it never hurts to get a likely Hall of Famer back in the mix. Kershaw likely won’t be back until after the All-Star break after an offseason shoulder procedure, but having the 16-year veteran as an option for the stretch run will be big for L.A. later in the year. MORE >

Giants: SP Alex CobbLeft hip surgery (has not played)

Shoulder irritation in April has hampered Cobb in his return from offseason hip surgery, but the righty has been throwing on flat ground from 75-90 feet. Cobb made 28 starts in each of the past two seasons for the Giants and should provide consistency for a rotation that has lacked it after injuries to Blake Snell, Keaton Winn and Tristan Beck early in the year. MORE >

Padres: 2B Xander BogaertsLeft shoulder fracture (May 20)

Bogaerts is both the most recent and most notable Padres player to hit the IL, fracturing his shoulder in Atlanta on an attempt to stop a hard-hit grounder. Moved to second base from shortstop this season, Bogaerts had been scuffling at the plate (.219 AVG, .581 OPS) but will still be missed. Bogaerts said the injury won’t require surgery, but it should be a lengthy absence for the San Diego infielder. MORE >

Rockies: SP Germán MárquezTommy John surgery (has not played)

Márquez made a full season’s worth of starts for six straight years before needing Tommy John surgery last May after just four outings in 2023. The pitcher was scheduled for a touch-and-feel bullpen session at Coors Field on Monday after experiencing elbow discomfort in an Arizona Complex League game on May 10. With several Rockies starters also on the 60-day IL, Márquez will provide immediate help when he returns. MORE >