The Nationals do not expect catcher Jesus Flores to miss extended time after he left Sunday night’s 7-2 victory over the Braves with a right hamstring injury. Manager Davey Johnson described it as “more of a mild strain” while Flores called it “minor tightness.” Neither Johnson nor Flores expect the catcher to land on the disabled list.
“I don’t think it’s a big deal,” Flores said. “But we wanted to be safe and avoid any risk of injury.”
Flores has started in 10 of 11 games at the sport’s most demanding position. The Nationals had planned to start Carlos Maldonado on Monday afternoon in Florida, anyway. Flores could play in that series.
“We’re going to take it day by day, see how it goes,” Flores said. “Hopefully, I can make it back on Tuesday or Wednesday.”
In this injury-riddled Nationals season, Flores has gone from a backup catcher to one of their most indispensable players. Starting catcher Wilson Ramos is out of the season with a torn ACL. Sandy Leon, who replaced Ramos on the roster, suffered a high-ankle sprain four innings into his major league career.
Flores first felt the injury in the top of the sixth inning, when he scored from second base on a double by Steve Lombardozzi. Flores remained in the game and singled again in the seventh. On a sacrifice bunt, Flores moved slowly to second base.
“I saw him walk to second and I said, ‘I got to go get him,’ ” Johnson said. “I can’t take a chance. But I think he’s going to be alright.”
The Nationals have already placed 11 players on the disabled list this season, and they have may to make it 12 with Chad Tracy. But it appears as if Flores will not join them.