Nationals Notebook

Escobar Is Hounded By Injuries

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 27, 2006

ATLANTA, Aug. 26 -- Alex Escobar is beyond asking the question so many people in his situation would ask: Why me?

"I'm way over that," the Washington Nationals center fielder said Saturday, a day after dislocating his right shoulder against the Atlanta Braves. "I'm just looking forward."

Yet there is so much on which to look back. Escobar is chronically injured. He spent time on the disabled list this season because of hamstring problems and, just this past week, ended up in a Miami hospital with a strange infection in his left elbow. Now, his season -- in which he hit .356 with 18 RBI in 33 games for the Nationals -- could well be over.

Escobar, who suffered the injury diving back to first base in the eighth inning of Friday's 7-6 victory, was originally supposed to travel to Washington on Saturday for an MRI exam. Instead, he elected to remain with the team and have the exam Monday.

Tim Abraham, the team's head athletic trainer, said an X-ray taken Friday night showed no structural damage to the shoulder, and Escobar still holds out hope he could play this season. But either way, he is trying to remain focused on what he accomplished this year, not what was cut short.

"I learned that I'm still me," he said. "I'm still the player that I know I could be when I'm on the field. I learned that I can play at this level no matter what. Adversity is one thing that I have to overcome. . . . It's not going to be like this forever."

Zimmerman's Slump

Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said he remains unconcerned about his current slump. He is 2 for his last 24, dropping his average to .279. "I'm not getting hits," he said. "I'm not swinging at bad pitches. I feel fine with my at-bats." . . .

Friday night, in his 929th game, Alfonso Soriano became the fastest member of the 200-steal, 200-homer club. Of the 40 members, only one took more games to reach 200-200 than Nationals Manager Frank Robinson, who stole his 200th base in his 2,591st game. Kansas City's George Brett took 2,678 games.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company