Sandy Leon was called up to the major leagues on May 13 and the next day he made his debut, a joyous moment for any baseball player and one that brought his mother to tears upon hearing of her son’s promotion. It was a cruel debut, however, one that lasted only four innings after a vicious, but clean, collision at the plate that resulted in a high-ankle sprain for the 23-year old catcher.
Leon wasn’t sure if he would get another chance to return. On Thursday, Leon got his long-awaited second shot. The day before, after Class AA Harrisburg finished its midday game in Akron, Leon got home to Pennsylvania and received word that he was summoned back to Washington to replace catcher Jhonathan Solano, who landed on the disabled list with an oblique strain.
“I’m happy to be here again,” said Leon in Spanish, taking a break from unpacking his duffel bag of belongings at his locker. “I hope I stay healthy this time.”
Though he wasn’t in Thursday’s starting lineup, Leon quipped with a grin: “I’m here again and I hope to last nine innings this time and not four.”
Once he began playing again in Harrisburg, Leon said he felt tenuous on his ankle. But soon that feeling faded and he regained his confidence on it. The ankle, he said, is completely healthy now. It took another injury to another Nationals catcher to give Leon another opportunity this season.(Solano is the fifth Nationals catcher to miss time this season with an injury.)
“It’s tough that it was another Latino and a teammate of mine, and I don’t want anyone to get hurt, but it happened and I’m here and I hope to do a good job,” Leon said.
Asked what he would do if there was another play at the plate, Leon answered with a laugh: “Get out of the way.”
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