Sean Doolittle said in New York last week that he wasn’t sure exactly how he hurt his left foot. It was initially suggested that the Washington Nationals’ closer had injured it trying hard to avoid a line drive that buzzed his tower as it went out to center field in Nationals Park in the series with the Boston Red Sox, but a couple weeks later he wasn’t so sure.
“I don’t know if it was from that or not,” Doolittle admitted. “I went back and looked at the video a couple days later, after this cropped up, and I don’t know if it was from that or not.
“But there’s a pinched nerve in my foot, higher up on the bridge of my foot between the first and second bones up here, and it got really swollen and I couldn’t — it’s your nerve, so any time it’s weight-bearing or had pressure on it it was really, really painful.”
Doolittle tried to test it in a bullpen session earlier that week, but didn’t like how it felt.
“When we tried on Monday, I threw a bullpen session and everything, it went okay, but the ball wasn’t coming out of my hand the same way,” he explained.
“I couldn’t really get into my mechanics like I needed to and at some point you have to be concerned with a lower body injury not letting your arm work the right way, so is it going to risk a shoulder injury or something like that. My mobility was also really bad if I had to cover first or field a bunt, I wouldn’t have been able to do that, so we’ve been making really good progress though. I think I’m out of the boot and I’m able to walk normal, and I played catch yesterday and it went really well, so I’m making progress.”
He told reporters on Sunday, however, that second MRI on the injured foot revealed what was described on Sunday as a “stress reaction” that will likely keep him out of action for a couple weeks.
“I really just have to let it calm down,” Doolittle said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, “and basically treat it like a bruise, let it calm down and let it heal.”
Doolittle, who’s been out of action since July 6th, and had to skip pitching in the All-Star Game in the nation’s capital, said today that it’s frustrating being unavailable while his teammates are battling.
“At this point in the season, with everything that’s going on, to not be able to help is a really frustrating feeling,” Doolittle said. “I want to be there with my guys. I feel like I’m placing a burden on the bullpen by not being with them and the challenge is going to be kind of harnessing that energy and throwing it into whatever rehab I can do, everything I can to get back as soon as possible.”
Davey Martinez told reporters that a development like this, unfortunate as it is, is the reason the Nationals acquired Kelvin Herrera in a trade with the Kansas City Royals.
“With Herrera, Madson, Kintzler, we’ll be fine,” Martinez explained. “We’re going to miss [Doolittle], but we’ve got qualified guys down there that can close.”
Meanwhile, Doolittle said he would do everything he could to stay sharp while he works his way back.
“I can do some stuff,” the closer explained. “I can be on it. I can weight-bear on it, and I can walk on it. As far as going back there, there’s a bunch of stuff I can do, lower body exercises where I’m not weight-bearing. I can still move around in the weight room, and I still feel like I’m not just going to wither away on this thing. They said I can start throwing again soon.
“Shoot, even if it’s on one leg I’ll find a way to get my throwing in so that I don’t fall behind with that as well, so we might have to get creative with some stuff I do, whether it’s single leg stuff.
“[Matt Eiden] our strength [coach] he’s like an evil genius, he’ll come up with something. We’ll find a way.”