By Mark Viera
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
In an effort to prevent one injury from multiplying into another -- something that has not been easy for the Washington Nationals this season -- right fielder Austin Kearns was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Monday because of a stress fracture in his right foot. He is expected to miss two to four weeks after an MRI exam Monday revealed the injury.
Though just 30 games remain as of today, Kearns will wear a walking boot for the next two weeks and might be able to return before season's end. The injury might have occurred Aug. 3, when Kearns fouled a pitch off his foot in a game against the Cincinnati Reds, but he said the pain he masked has worsened.
"It was something where I was really affecting myself," Kearns said. "If I felt I was really hurt and couldn't help [the team], then it might have been different. I think it just ended up being something a little more serious than we thought."
Said General Manager Jim Bowden: "He's running on his heels at times. We don't want to all of the sudden blow a knee out or something when he's trying to play with a broken foot."
The decision to shelve Kearns gives the disabled list its latest addition in a season tormented by all sorts of ailments. It also opened the door for Elijah Dukes, who last night was brought up from Class AAA Columbus, where he was rehabbing a right calf strain.
It is the second time this season that Kearns will join the disabled list; he missed 38 games after bone fragments were removed from his right elbow May 23. Since returning July 3, Kearns has hit .245 with four home runs and 16 RBI. Although his average has improved, he hasn't hit for power.
"We didn't want this to get any worse," Manager Manny Acta said, "because we don't have anything to gain out of him coming out there, taking a chance of fouling another ball off that foot or hitting the bag a wrong way. This guy's tough. It took a lot of talking and convincing just to do this."