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Posted at 01:12 PM ET, 04/20/2011

Ian Desmond to take paternity leave

Potentially as soon as today, Ian Desmond will take paternity leave for one to three days to be with wife, Chelsey, who is about to give birth to the couple’s first child. Desmond, 25, will leave whenever he receives the phone call telling him it’s time.

Major League Baseball instituted new paternity leave rules this offseason, allowing teams to call up for one-to-three days when a player becomes a father. Desmond plans to stay with his wife for one or two days, but he’ll stay longer if necessary.

“It could be today, it could be a few days from now,” Manager Jim Riggleman said. “We’re still just waiting on when that comes.”

The Nationals could play Alex Cora, Jerry Hairston or Danny Espinosa at shortstop during Desmond’s brief absence. Class AAA Syracuse utility infielder Brian Bixler seems like the logical candidate to take Desmond’s roster spot. He impressed during spring training and is hitting .318/.444/.364 in 12 games.

By  |  01:12 PM ET, 04/20/2011

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