The All-Star break has come and gone. The 2019 season is in its waning phase. Now's when things get serious.

Among them: injuries with indefinite timetables. The baseball season is so long that whenever a star player goes down, provided it's not with what's known to be a season-ending injury, you can trust he'll eventually be back to contributing again and it will have almost certainly been worth the wait.

But now? The distinction between a weeks-long absence and a months-long absence is becoming less and less, to the point that anything short of a firm end date could be inferred to mean "or maybe not at all." 

This is especially true for starting pitchers, who might need close to a month's rehabilitation (meaning actual games) if they've missed upward of a month. Ones who have yet to begin even throwing may simply run out of time.

And the time crunch is only amplified in leagues that don't see this thing through to the end. In a Head-to-Head league, for instance, you may be looking at just a few more weeks of regular-season play. Sure, a returning ace might help you secure a championship, but you have to survive in the interim.

That isn't to say you should drop all of your longer-term injured players for shorter-term injured players. When an injured player becomes healthy, he's no longer stashable in an IL spot, of course, which means he has to be at least as good as your worst player to justify stashing in any capacity. There's still a balance then between how good the injured player is -- what sort of impact he could make at full health, in other words -- and how long the wait will be. It's just that the latter is rising in importance.

The gap is growing for pitchers like Corey Kluber, who has been throwing from long distances already and is set to begin bullpen work, and Tyler Glasnow, who still isn't throwing and won't for at least two more weeks. Both were originally given lengthy timetables with indefinite paths to recovery, and we still don't know what lies ahead for Kluber. But that seemingly small head start makes all the difference now.

It's reflected in their ranking here, among other things. 

Top 30 IL stashes
Last update
1 strained back
short stay expected, may return this weekend
2 sprained ankle
could return Tuesday
3 strained foot
minimum stay expected
4 cracked rib
on rehab assignment but ineligible to return until July 26
5 shoulder fatigue
awaiting MRI results, but short stay expected
6 fractured arm
set to begin bullpen sessions, mid-August possible
7 sprained knee
no baseball activities yet, hoping for August return
8 fractured finger
still dealing with swelling, hoping for August return
9 strained oblique
on throwing program, hoping for August return
10 sprained ankle
some fielding, but not able to run yet
11 strained groin
on rehab assignment, back Tuesday?
12 bruised shin
possible return this weekend
13 shoulder inflammation
nearing rehab assignment
14 loose bodies in elbow
nearing rehab assignment
15 sprained elbow
has begun throwing, still a month or more away
16 leukemia
throwing with an eye on returning still
17 strained lat
has begun throwing but could return in bullpen role
18 strained forearm
shut down two more weeks, season in doubt
19 strained forearm
will resume throwing soon, hoping for September return
20 thumb inflammation
likely a short-term stay
21 strained thumb tendon
no surgery required, but out three weeks
22 ruptured testicle
trying to get cleared for baseball activities
23 sore shoulder
recently suffered setback, likely weeks away
24 sore back
on rehab assignment
25 strained elbow flexor
some light tossing, but Pirates aren't optimistic
26 fractured tibia
hoping for September return
27 shoulder inflammation
struggling on rehab assignment
28 torn shoulder labrum
has begun throwing program, building toward rehab assignment
29 sprained knee
beginning to do some running
30 shoulder inflammation
suffered setback on rehab