WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 20: Danny Espinosa #8 of the Washington Nationals celebrates scoring the winning run with teammate Jayson Werth #28 as catcher Brian McCann #16 of the Atlanta Braves walks off the field after the Nationals defeated the Braves 5-4 in 13 innings at Nationals Park on August 20, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
The Washington Nationals were 3-3 on their recently-completed six-game trip through New York and Atlanta. The big news after they dropped the third straight game to the Braves in Turner Field last night wasn't the fact that their lead was down to 5.5 games with 16 left on the schedule or that Gio Gonzalez had struggled in his 30th start of 2012. The focus was on the shoulder injury Nats' second baseman Danny Espinosa told hitting coach Rick Eckstein about which led to his being hit late in the series finale in Atlanta.
69-year-old Nats' skipper Davey Johnson, who has often praised Espinosa's effort and determination to play every day, is said to have come across as concerned when he talked to reporters after Sunday night's game. That has everyone concerned. As Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell put it this afternoon in a chat with readers, "Davey seems concerned. Espinosa is a tough guy and invested in being a tough guy. So it has to be a real pain for him to admit to it."
Espinosa went 1 for 18 in the back-to-back road series against the Mets and Braves with a double, a walk and 10 Ks in five games and 19 PAs before leaving the game late last night. So far in the second half, the 25-year-old infielder had recovered nicely from a .232/.309/.374 first half in which he hit 15 doubles and seven home runs in 70 games and 292 PAs. In 57 games and 244 plate appearances after the All-Star Break but before the last road trip, Espinosa had a .289/.340/.476 line with 13 doubles, a triple and nine home runs.
Reports last night had Espinosa getting an MRI on the shoulder when he saw team doctor Dr. Wiemi Douoguih this afternoon, but articles from the Washington Times, Washington Post and NatsInsider.com's Mark Zuckerman on Monday said there wouldn't be any word on the extent of any injury, if there is one, before Tuesday afternoon.
The potential loss of the '08 3rd Round pick has a .250/.315/.407 line with 34 doubles and 16 HRs in 144 games and 603 PAs after last night's game would be another blow in a season filled with injuries, especially after Michael Morse's recent wrist issues. Davey Johnson said last night that the MLB's fifth-highest fWAR second baseman (+3.7 fWAR tied w/ the Reds' Brandon Phillips) would at least miss the upcoming three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers in Nationals Park. Steve Lombardozzi is going have to pull out his MiLB Gold Glove at second for another couple starts in the infield. More news on Espinosa tomorrow...