Washington Nationals' starter Stephen Strasburg gave up four home runs in five innings last night in the 7-6 loss to the Atlanta Braves in Turner Field, but the one that really hurt the Nats as a team was a two-run blast by Freddie Freeman in the second on which Steven Souza, Jr., in his first start since being recalled, ran into the right field wall full-steam and face-first as he tried to make what would have been a spectacular catch...
The 25-year-old Nationals' outfielder and '07 3rd Round pick, who tore up Triple-A pitching this season, with a .354/.435/.601 line, 23 doubles and 18 HRs in 91 games and 386 plate appearances with the International League's Syracuse Chiefs, hit the right field wall in Atlanta hard and fell to the warning track flat on his back as the ball bounced back into play, but was ruled out.
Souza stayed in the game, lining out to short with one down in the top of the third, but felt something in his shoulder during that at bat according to Nats' skipper Matt Williams.
"He was fine," Williams said. "He took his next at bat and his shoulder was pretty banged up. So we'll treat him, see how he is tomorrow and go from there."
"He checked out on the field," Williams explained when asked if any thought was given to lifting Souza immediately after the collision.
"And he checked out afterward and he came back in the dugout He was up that inning took some swings in the mini-cage down here, said he was okay, but he swung and missed one and didn't feel real good, so we decided to get him out of there."
The Nationals' first-year skipper said he didn't know if the Nats would have to make a move to bring someone up if Souza was unavailable.
"We don't know yet," he said. "We'll have to see how he reacts to everything. That's a pretty good impact, so we'll see how it goes tomorrow."
Souza was in the lineup because everyday right fielder Jayson Werth has been banged up, dealing with ankle and shoulder issues which led to him getting the night off in the series opener in Atlanta. Williams said that they would have to wait and see with Werth as well.
"We'll get him going tonight again," Williams told reporters. "He wanted to play today. So we'll see how he feels tomorrow. But I anticipate he'll be okay. But we'll see how he wakes up."
Strasburg, who gave up the blast Souza was chasing, said he checked on the outfielder afterwards and thanked him for going all out.
That was tough to see," Strasburg said. "I just told him, asked him if he's okay after and told him I just appreciate the effort. But at the same time as he gets more innings or gets more playing time I think he'll have a better awareness and know the ball is probably not going to be caught."
• We talked about Souza's collision, Strasburg's rough night and Huey Lewis being a little too new wave on his first couple albums on last night's edition of Nats Nightly: