It didn't take long for the Toronto Blue Jays' season to feel like it was beginning to unravel. When leadoff hitter Jose Reyes pulled up as he neared first base on his first inning flyout, the doubt creeped in.
By the bottom of the inning, when Reyes had been replaced by Ryan Goins, panic was in full effect.
It's not like this is unexpected. Reyes missed 69 games last season, has played more than 140 games once in the past five seasons, and is now 30-years-old. As players get older, they get hurt more often and take longer to recover. This is a thing that happens.
Even taking all those factors into consideration, it was extra-depressing for Jays fans, who didn't need any additional reasons to be pessimistic about the 2014 season. With Reyes nursing his hamstring injury, look for Goins and Maicer Izturis to handle the middle infield spots. The Jays have also called up 28-year-old utility man Jonathan Diaz, who has a .230 batting average with 14 home runs in eight minor league seasons.
Reyes is not the only notable player hurt. Here's an update on some of the more significant players injured as the season gets underway:
Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Los Angeles - The best pitcher on the planet has been bothered by a back injury, even though he had a stellar first start (1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 6 2/3 IP) in Australia, and it will likely keep him out at least a couple of starts. The Dodgers don't need a fifth starter until April 19, so they can make do, and will have veteran Josh Beckett set to join the rotation in the meantime.
Yu Darvish, RHP, Texas - The Rangers ace is coming back from neck tightness and may be ready to join the rotation next week. The Rangers' rotation could really use Darvish, and possibly Colby Lewis, as Lewis attempts to come back from a surgically-repaired hip.
Matt Kemp, CF, Los Angeles - The 29-year-old who has missed 145 games in the past two seasons, Kemp says he's ready to return as soon as possible. He is recovering from ankle surgery and is eligible to come off the DL on April 4; in the meantime, Andre Ethier will get the playing time in centre for the Dodgers.
Cole Hamels, LHP, Philadelphia - Shoulder tendinitis caused Hamels trouble early in spring training and he's behind as a result, but is making progress now. He still has some minor-league starts to work through as he rehabs, and could return as soon as late April.
Manny Machado, 3B, Baltimore - The rising star is still recovering from October knee surgery and, considering he is already the best fielding third baseman on the planet, there will be some letdown until he returns which, according to the Baltimore Sun, is apparently sometime in late April. While Machado is out, Ryan Flaherty, who has 16 home runs and a .653 OPS in 163 career games, starts at third for the Orioles.
Hisashi Iwakuma, RHP, Seattle - Out with a torn tendon in his middle finger, Iwakuma has been cleared to resume throwing and will begin building strength in his arm to get where he needs to be as a starter. He's likely to miss the first month of the season as he rehabs.
Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle - A shoulder impingement has halted the progress of the Mariners' top pitching prospect, but has resumed throwing and may only miss the first few weeks of the season. With Iwakuma and Walker out, LHP Roenis Elias and veteran RHP Chris Young have landed a couple of rotation spots to start the year.
Mat Latos, RHP, Cincinnati - Still recovering from knee surgery, Latos doesn't seem that far away, as he's set to make a rehab start in Double-A this week. If that means he misses a couple starts for the Reds before coming off the DL in mid-April, that's not the end of the world.
Jhoulys Chacin, RHP, Colorado - Effectively, the ace of the Rockies' staff, is coming back from a shoulder strain, but is expected to miss the first month of the season. With Chacin out, Franklin Morales is one of the pitchers that will get a turn in the rotation.
Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Cincinnati - After taking a line drive off the head, Chapman is making progress and appears to be on track to recover, though he has yet to be cleared to resume throwing, that could come in the next couple weeks. In the meantime, with Jonathan Broxton also on the DL, RHP J.J. Hoover is the leading candidate for saves in the Cincinnati bullpen.
Michael Bourn, CF, Cleveland - A hamstring strain has slowed the speedy outfielder who is not expected to be ready, when he's eligible, to come off the DL Friday. In the meantime, there is an opportunity for Nyjer Morgan to handle centre field while Bourn is out. Morgan, 33, had a .795 OPS with only three stolen bases in Japan last season.
Shane Victorino, RF, Boston - The 33-year-old Flyin' Hawaiian has been grounded by a hamstring strain, leaving room for Jackie Bradley Jr. to remain in Boston, though Daniel Nava is the top candidate to handle right field in Victorino's absence, with Mike Carp and Jonny Gomes also available for corner outfield work. Bradley has more versatility in that his skills can translate to any of the three outfield spots.
Jurickson Profar, 2B, Texas - One of the top young players in baseball, Profar could be out up to three months with a muscle tear in his shoulder. Journeymen Josh Wilson and Donnie Murphy can handle second base in Profar's absence. Murphy showed a little pop last season, hitting 11 home runs with an .849 OPS in 163 plate appearances for the Cubs, but neither has much of an offensive track record.
Jonathon Niese, LHP, N.Y. Mets - While Niese was bothered by some elbow inflammation in the spring, and was put on the DL, all signs point to his returning April 6 for his first start of the year.
Derek Holland, LHP, Texas - Coming off microfracture knee surgery, Holland is making progress, but it will likely be the second half of the season before he's ready to return.
A.J. Griffin, RHP, Oakland - Flexor tendinitis in his elbow puts Griffin on the shelf to start the year and, combined with the season-ending injury to Jarrod Parker, is a big hit to the A's rotation. Jesse Chavez and Tommy Milone are slated to hold down the last couple spots on the Oakland starting staff.
Josh Johnson, RHP, San Diego - What? Josh Johnson is injured, you say? The shock. He's expected to return sometime in May from a strained forearm and isn't a bad sleeper as a reclamation project following his disastrous 2013 season in Toronto. While Johnson is out, LHP Robbie Erlin has a spot in the Padres' rotation.
Wilson Ramos, C, Washington - Suffered an injured hand in the first game of the year, but x-rays were negative, so it may not be broken, which would obviously be good news. For as long as Ramos is out, Jose Lobaton is next in line to handle catching duties for the Nationals.
Marco Scutaro, 2B, San Francisco - With a back injury basically wiping out Scutaro's spring, he appears to be some distance from returning to the field. One-time touted prospect, now utility infielder Joaquin Arias will see the bulk of the work at second while Scutaro remains sidelined.
Carlos Quentin, LF, San Diego - A knee injury will keep Quentin on the DL to start the year, and beyond the minimum 15 days. Veterans Chris Denorfia and Seth Smith could be the best bets to play in Quentin's absence.
Bobby Parnell, RHP, N.Y. Mets - On the shelf due to a partial torn ligament in his elbow, Parnell may be headed for surgery and that leaves the closer's role open. First up is 36-year-old veteran Jose Valverde, who has 286 career saves, but flamed out with the Tigers last season, allowing six home runs in 19 1/3 innings to lose the job.
Gordon Beckham, 2B, Chicago White Sox - With an oblique injury limiting Beckham, though possibly not for long, Marcus Semien gets the starts at second base for the White Sox. Semien, 23, has hit 36 home runs with an .828 OPS and 36 stolen bases in three minor-league seasons.
Geovany Soto, C, Texas - A torn meniscus could keep Soto out for three months, which gives J.P. Arencibia an opportunity to rebound from a tough 2013 season, but that playing time is no guarantee either. Robinson Chirinos could challenge for playing time, especially if Arencibia's defence is a problem.
Andy Dirks, LF, Detroit - Slated to miss at least the first two months as he recovers from back surgery, Dirks is replaced by Rajai Davis in left field for the Tigers. Davis has his flaws, but from 2009 through 2013, his 216 stolen bases ranks second, behind only Michael Bourn.
Cameron Maybin, CF, San Diego - A ruptured biceps tendon is going to cost Maybin the first couple months of the season and he's coming off a season during which he played just 14 games because of wrist and knee injuries. Alexi Amarista and Will Venable have started in centre field this year with Maybin out.
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.