Washington Nationals’ catcher Matt Wieters found a hole in the Arizona D-backs’ defensive shift, and singled to center field with one out in the second inning of what ended up a 2-1 win for the Nationals last night in Chase Field.
Wieters took an awkward step as he rounded first base, limped back to the bag and called the trainer out.
After a brief visit with Paul Lessard and Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez, the Nationals’ veteran catcher left the game, replaced at first base by backup Pedro Severino.
At that point, Martinez said, they had to take drastic measures. They held tryouts to find an emergency catcher. No really.
“We had a tryout in-between innings in case you were wondering,” Martinez told reporters after the win in the series opener, acknowledging that they’d need to have a new catcher join them in Arizona tonight.
“We had [Wilmer] Difo and [Moises] Sierra both catching,” he said.
Who won the impromptu tryout?
“Let’s call it a tie right now,” the first-year skipper joked.
“Difo goes out there, he puts the helmet on but doesn’t take the face mask. I told him, ‘Make sure you have the facemask,’ but he puts the helmet on and he goes out there no facemask.
“I said, ‘I told you to put the facemask on?’ And he goes, ‘Oh, I got the helmet.’ I go, ‘No.’”
Difo may have blown his big opportunity.
As for what exactly happened to Wieters?
“From what I saw it looked like it was right before he hit the bag,” Martinez said.
“It was a weird thing. But it stinks, because he was playing so well, and he’s a big part of our success and what we do. Hopefully it’s — we’ll know more tomorrow.
“I can’t say the timetable or nothing, we’ll know more tomorrow.”
“The step before the bag, I just felt behind my knee ... kind of go a little bit,” Wieters said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. “And it didn’t get any better as I took more strides.”
Wieters is headed for an MRI on the left leg. Martinez’s reaction when he realized that it was a serious issue?
“When you see him limping, my heart dropped, you know, and he’s doing so well. And he worked his butt off to stay healthy,” Martinez said.
“Hopefully it’s nothing major, but we’ll know more tomorrow.”
“He’s getting an MRI tomorrow so we’ll know more tomorrow. He’s pretty tender.”
Where was the issue exactly?
“I think it’s his hammy,” Martinez said, “but we’re going to get an MRI tomorrow, it’s the back of his knee.”
Asked if it was potentially something worse than just a hamstring, Martinez said, “We won’t know till he gets evaluated tomorrow. I mean he’s going to get an MRI and we’ll know more tomorrow.”
After collecting the hit, the 31-year-old catcher has a .231/.342/.385 line on the season with a double and three home runs in 76 plate appearances.
The Nationals don’t have another catcher on the 40-Man roster, so they’ll have to do some maneuvering to get another catcher to Arizona before the second game of four with the D-backs.
Tuffy Gosewich and Spencer Kieboom are getting starts at Triple-A. Will one of them get the call to the majors tomorrow?