Washington Nationals Place Austin Kearns on DL with Thumb Injury

As first reported on MLB.com last night after the Washington Nationals 6-4 win over the Florida Marlins, this morning the Nats placed RF Austin Kearns on the 15-day disabled list with a right thumb contusion, and he's reported to see a hand specialist in Baltimore as early as today.

Kearns has had a rough 2009 season, to say the least. He has batted .195/.336/.305 with six doubles, two triples, three home runs and 17 RBI in 80 games this season.

The 29-year old right fielder has started just five games since July 1, and with the recall of Elijah Dukes to play right field, his playing time would not have increased down the stretch.

Should this injury be more serious than a bone bruise, Kearns may have worn the Nationals uniform for the last time Tuesday night. The team holds a $10 million option for next season (with a $1 million buyout), an option they are surely not going to exercise.

To take Kearns' spot on the roster, the team recalled 12-year minor league veteran Jorge Padilla from Triple-A Syracuse. His first appearance with the Nats will mark his major league debut.

Padilla, 29, joins the club after batting .367 (114-for-311) with 18 doubles, three triples, four home runs, 21 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 95 games with Syracuse. An International League All-Star earlier this season, Padilla entered Tuesday's game leading the league in hitting (.367) and on-base percentage (.424).

Padilla’s 114 hits are tied for fourth most in the league and he is tied for sixth in the circuit with 58 runs.

Padilla is a lifetime .289/.356/.414 hitter in exactly 4700 minor league plate appearances. Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the third round of the 1998 Amateur Entry Draft, Padilla has also spent time in the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals organizations.

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