PITTSBURGH - APRIL 24: Michael Morse #38 of the Washington Nationals celebrates with teammate Rick Ankiel #43 after hitting a three run home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on April 24, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
In an official press release following last night's extra-inning win over the Florida Marlins, the Washington Nationals announced that they had placed center fielder Rick Ankiel on the 15-Day Disabled List with a wrist strain, retroactive to May 3rd. With Ankiel out of the lineup, it's assumed that Roger Bernadina, who was pulled from the lineup in last night's Syracuse Chiefs' game without injury or explanation, will be called up to play center field for the Nats, though his role is as-yet undefined.
Nats' Skipper Jim Riggleman talked about the injury to Ankiel's wrist Friday morning on MLB Network Radio's First Pitch with Rob Dibble and Jeff Joyce, explaining at that point that, "The plan looks as if it will be one more day. We initially thought that it was only going to be a day, but the next night it really got uncomfortable and it's a full-blown sprain. It turned out to be a sprain, it wasn't just that he rolled over it and it was a little stiff. He's actually sprained it so there's been no batting practice or any activity like that for several days, so he's going to take another day and hopefully get back in there tomorrow."
The "hopeful" scenario didn't play out. An MRI on Ankiel's wrist was reportedly negative, but the 31-year-old outfielder, who has a .221/.302/.288 slash through 28 games and 118 plate appearances over which he's hit four doubles and a HR while walking 12 times with 17 K's, was unable to take BP according to Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore's report from Florida last night. In the article, entitled, "Rick Ankiel to the disabled list, Roger Bernadina coming up", the Nats' Skipper says that Ankiel, "...just is not feeling well enough to hit, and we’re just so short-handed."
Bernadina hit in two of the three at bats he got when he came up so Ian Desmond could spend a few days on the Paternity Leave List. In 18 games and 63 at bats with the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs, the 26-year-old outfielder has put up a .270/.352/.382 slash line with two doubles, two RBI's, seven walks, 17 K's and seven stolen bases in eight attempts. Bernadina entered Spring Training with a chance to claim a share of a platoon in left with Michael Morse, but Morse's power earned him the starting spot and Bernadina lost out to Ankiel in a battle for the center field job once Nyjer Morgan was traded to Milwaukee.
In 53 games, 40 starts and 379.2 innings in left field in the majors, Bernadina has a .988 fld% and a +7.7 UZR/150, with a -15.1 UZR/150 and a .975 fld% in 293.1 innings played in center over the course of his 165-game MLB career. Through 27 games this season, Ankiel has played an erroless center at a -1.2 UZR/150. On his career, in 274 games, 234 starts and 2,138 innings, Ankiel has a .979 fld% and a -7.2 UZR/150 in center.