Johnson Hurts Wrist, Returns For MRI Exam

By Chico Harlan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 15, 2008

NEW YORK, May 14 -- Though the Washington Nationals continue to list first baseman Nick Johnson as day-to-day, he left the team Wednesday evening to return to Washington for an MRI exam on his right wrist.

Johnson believes he strained the tendons in his wrist in his final at-bat Tuesday. Though he remained in the game, his wrist grew stiff -- and painful enough to prevent another at-bat, had the situation arisen. X-rays following the game were negative, but Johnson said he was uncertain how much time he'll need to recover.

"I hope it's nothing serious, but today it's pretty sore," Johnson said. "[Tuesday] night I couldn't really sleep, it was pretty sore, and today I can't really move it."

With Johnson out, the Nationals will use Aaron Boone, hitting .314, as their first baseman. Entering Wednesday, Johnson had batted cleanup in all but one game.

In his career, Johnson has missed time because of (in reverse-chronological order) a fractured right femur, a lumbar strain, a fractured cheekbone, an injured lower back, a right hand stress fracture, a left wrist strain and a strained muscle in right hand.

"There are people like that," Manager Manny Acta said. "He works hard, and some of that stuff you just can't control it. You feel badly, because he's such a talented guy and you always want to see him do good and be healthy for the whole season."

Bergmann Returns, Starts Today

The Nationals will start Jason Bergmann, late of Class AAA Columbus, in Thursday's series finale at Shea Stadium, and they optioned reliever Chris Schroder to Columbus. Said Acta of Bergmann: "He threw the ball well three straight starts [in Columbus]. Hopefully he's got it all in order. I think he's got the repertoire and everything, but it's about execution up here." . . .

One day after a team orthopedist diagnosed Johnny Estrada's elbow injury, the Nationals have decided to seek a second opinion. The catcher will be examined May 19 in Birmingham, Ala., by James Andrews.

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