The day after he slammed into the right field wall in Turner Field and left the game with a jammed left shoulder, Steven Souza Jr. watched a replay of his scary collision. He admitted that he was “very surprised” he wasn’t more seriously hurt than just a sore neck and shoulder.
“I think because of where the pad was and my head hit the pad, there’s not much damage,” Souza said. “I just think the impact of being stopped at full speed is kinda what hurt my shoulder.”
After a night’s rest and treatment on Saturday, Souza said his left shoulder feels better. Manager Matt Williams said Souza is available off the bench.
“We did some treatment [Saturday] and looks like it’s getting better,” Souza said. “So we’ll just go from there.”
Souza said he passed concussion tests on Saturday, as well. He also passed initial tests on Friday. “Every single time, it checked out fine,” he said.
Souza said he wants to make sure his shoulder reaches a point where it’s not hindering him when swinging. This is the first time the rookie outfielder has hurt that shoulder.
He was making only his second career major league start when he slammed into the wall on Friday. It was also only the second time he had played at Turner Field, where there’s a fence in front of the right field scoreboard.
“I think you learn how to brace the impact,” Souza said. “I don’t know these parks as well maybe. You can run out there and check the wall and practice and see what it’s going to do. But until you get game speed, you don’t know how it’s going to play. I just think getting to know the walls, how you can brace and how you can plant your feet and what you can or can’t do will make it easier.”
In other news involving injured Nationals outfielders, Nate McLouth began strengthening exercises after resting his inflamed right shoulder, for which he received a cortisone shot. The veteran outfielder landed on the disabled list on Aug. 4 with an ailing shoulder that had been bugging him throughout the season.
Williams had suggested that perhaps McLouth had hurt the shoulder on July 28 in Miami when he made a diving attempt for a ball in right field. But McLouth said the pain has been around longer.
“It’s something that’s been bothering me for a while. Just wanted to get it knocked out,” McLouth said. “I didn’t notice anything when I dove,” McLouth said. “It just had been progressively getting worse all season. To the point where it was painful and not just uncomfortable.”
McLouth is hitting .173/.280/.237 with one home run in the first year of his two-year, $10.5 million contract. He refused to use the shoulder injury as an excuse but he admitted that it prevented him from hitting and preparing like he normally does before games.
“I think that just had to do more with consistency but certainly the shoulder has hampered my work and it’s not a reason for anything, but it’s something I had to get taken care of,” McLouth said.
McLouth will have to pass tests and do more exercises before he can throw and hit again, Williams said. He is still on track to return when he is eligible to return from the 15-day disabled list, Williams said. McLouth also said he didn’t think he would be out much longer than that.
“It’ll be close,” he said.