Second baseman Danny Espinosa will go through a workout tomorrow to test his fractured right wrist with the hope of returning to the lineup Tuesday or Wednesday, he said this morning. Espinosa will miss his third game today since he learned before Friday’s game he had been playing with a bone chip floating in his hand.
With Espinosa on the bench, Steve Lombardozzi has taken over as the Nationals’ second baseman. Lombardozzi has gone 4 for 8 with a double in two games, raising his slash line for the season to .242/.265/.313. The Nationals called up Jeff Kobernus from Class AAA Syracuse to provide more infield depth.
Espinosa, hitting .163/.196/.291 this year, could still land on the disabled list depending how his wrist responds to a few days of rest. Espinosa said he does expect surgery will be an option, but the wrist may require more rest to heal completely. In an unrelated injury, Espinosa has been playing all year with a tear in his left rotator cuff, which he suffered late in 2012.
On April 14, Braves left-hander Paul Maholm hit Espinosa with an 88-mph fastball on the right wrist. Espinosa left that game, then returned after he missed four games.
The revelation that Espinosa had broken his wrist created the perception that he willingly played through a debilitating injury. That wasn’t actually the case. Espinosa underwent X-rays after Maholm’s fastball drilled his wrist. They showed no break, and trainers told Espinosa he would play through stiffness and discomfort. When the pain still had not subsisted a month later, Espinosa asked for another look. Only then did Espinosa know he had the break.
The Nationals will find out soon whether Espinosa will require more rest. They should have some good news Tuesday regardless. Today, left-hander Ross Detwiler participated in fielding drills as a final test of his slightly strained oblique. He remains on track to make the start Tuesday.
Detwiler will have missed 13 days, which raises the question of whether the Nationals should have placed on the 15-day DL and used the roster spot for another player. But in the end, Detwiler will have missed just one start. Detwiler returning Tuesday will also allow the Nationals’ rotation to function without any starters throwing on short rest.