Making his major league debut two days after the Nationals lost Wilson Ramos for the season with a torn ACL, 23-year-old catcher Sandy Leon had to be carried off the field tonight after a severe collision at home plate. The Nationals later announced that Leon has a sprained right ankle.
In the fourth inning, Chase Headley sprinted home trying to score from second on a single. Center fielder Rick Ankiel fired to second baseman Danny Espinosa, who made the relay throw home. Leon stood in front of the plate. Headley plowed into as Espinosa’s throw skipped to him on one hop.
As Headley barreled into him, Leon’s right ankle rolled back, all of his weight on the joint. The ball bounded to the backstop. As Headley walked away, Leon remained down in the dirt by home plate. Trainers tended to him and carried him off the field, Leon putting no weight on his right leg.
Jesus Flores replaced Leon in the game. If the Nationals need to call up another catcher, which appears likely, the most likely candidate is Class AAA catcher Carlos Maldonado, who has limited major league experience. Leon would become the 10th Nationals player to land on the disabled list this season.
Leon is a highly regarded defensive catcher. He found out he was making his major league debut at about 3:30 p.m., when Manager Davey Johnson told him. Back home in Venezuela, he knew his parents, family and friends would be watching. “I feel a little nervous,” Leon said before the game. “But I feel I’m ready to play. That’s why I’m here.”