The Nationals appear to have avoided two potential injuries to key players in Wednesday night’s 5-1 loss to the Braves. Catcher Kurt Suzuki bruised his right hand after a foul tip deflected off it, and later shortstop Ian Desmond hobbled down the first base line trying to beat out a double play. Both stayed in the game, and both said they will be fine.
Suzuki received an X-ray after the game, which came back negative. His hand was red and swollen, but he hoped to be able to play Friday when the Nationals begin a series against the Phillies in Philadelphia.
“Anytime you get hit in the hand, it’s going to swell,” Suzuki said. “We’ll see. It’s okay. It’s swollen. It’s a little sore. Just the normal stuff after getting hit.”
After the foul ball drilled Suzuki, he took three warmup tosses, the first sailing over starting pitcher Ross Detwiler and into center field. “Just trying to get the feeling back,” Suzuki said. “One of those things where you’re trying to get it back quick.”
Suzuki’s hand became more sore as the game wore on, and it hurt when he gripped his bat at the plate. As a catcher, Suzuki absorbs constant dings and dents. But “anytime it has anything to do with your hands, it’s a different story.”
After the loss, Manager Davey Johnson was more concerned with Suzuki than Desmond. When Desmond first got hurt, that wasn’t the case.
“I forgot about the game when I saw him,” Johnson said.
In the eight inning, with the Nationals trailing 2-1 and a runner on first with one out, Desmond hit a grounder to shortstop. As the Braves started a 6-4-3 double play, Desmond began hopping down the first base line. Johnson thought for sure Desmond had pulled or torn his hamstring.
But Desmond had only tweaked his knee, perhaps slightly hyperextending it, he said. A trainer tended to him, but Desmond insisted he could remain in the game, and he did.
“I think it just scared me more than anything,” Desmond said. “Something was kind of funky in there. I just went, ‘Whoa!’ I just wanted to jump off of it and make sure nothing really bad happened.”
Desmond remained in the game and said the issue would not be a problem. If it had been serious, Desmond’s injury would have led to a rare sight. Backup infielder Steve Lombardozzi had already pinch-hit and come out of the game. Without him and Desmond, the Nationals likely would have turned to Ryan Zimmerman.
“I could have played short for an inning,” Zimmerman said. “That would have been cool.”