Barring setbacks, Danny Espinosa targeting Wednesday return

(Evan Vucci / AP)

(Evan Vucci / AP)

After resting four games, Danny Espinosa tested out his fractured right wrist on Monday and felt fine. On Tuesday, he did the same, taking ground balls, throwing across the diamond and taking batting practice. The swelling in his wrist has decreased and if it feels fine on Wednesday he could return to the Nationals lineup, a layoff of six days.

“The swelling is down from what it had been,” he said before Tuesday’s game. “Is it going to 100 percent? We all know it’s going to be not 100 percent for the rest of the year because there is no casting or surgery they can do to make it 100 percent. It’s just a time thing. It does feel better. They are concerned about the inflammation and the inflammation is down.”

Espinosa, who discovered Friday he had played for a month with a piece of bone chipped off his fractured right wrist when he was hit by a pitch on April 14, told Manager Davey Johnson on Monday that he was available in an emergency pinch hit or defensive situation. Johnson and Espinosa are both targeting a Wednesday return barring any setbacks, but Johnson said he would cautious because he didn’t want to erase any progress with a premature return.

If Espinosa returns, he hoped he wouldn’t have to manage the injury with frequent days off. He hoped treatment and ice baths to combat the inflammation would keep him available. Espinosa, who is hitting .163, one of the least productive batters in baseball, said the swelling put pressure on the broken bone and caused pain.

“It’s kinda like a tolerance thing,” he said. “I’m not going to do the tolerance [thing] anymore. I did it last year with tolerance in my shoulder. We didn’t know what was wrong and I think everyone thought I knew my shoulder was torn. I had no idea. And this year, the same thing, I didn’t know my wrist was broken. I’m tolerating what I thought was a bone bruise.

“I’m not going to go through pain tolerance with a broken wrist just to say that I’m out there to play every day. … I can go out there and be physically available. It’s a matter of is it affecting play or not. I’ll never make an excuse for it but I don’t think hitting the ball makes it any easier with a broken wrist.”

Espinosa has been playing all season with a rehabbed torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder. He didn’t undergo surgery this offseason, a player and team medical decision, and instead he strengthened the surrounding muscles in his shoulder. Espinosa has continued his three to four-times weekly rehab routine but said the shoulder hasn’t been an issue. “Shoulder feels great,” he said.

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