Less than a week after sustaining a minor left ankle injury, Adam Eaton was a late scratch for the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night with a bone bruise on the same ankle, and after the game admitted he expects to land on the disabled list. Nationals Manager Dave Martinez stopped short of declaring Eaton needs a DL stint, but the Nationals plan on calling up outfielder Moises Sierra from Class AAA Syracuse on Wednesday, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. He would presumably replace Eaton on the roster.
Eaton is slated to undergo an MRI exam on the ankle Wednesday. He isn’t sure exactly when he aggravated the injury, which is to the same ankle he injured last April when he also tore his anterior cruciate ligament, but he felt discomfort shortly after an awkward slide in Thursday’s home opener.
“We don’t really know when or how,” the 29-year-old Eaton said. “The slide is definitely a focal point but the way my leg bent or whatever happened, it doesn’t really give us the answer of how it happened, weirdly enough. But we’re really going to concentrate on strength and the process of getting it better. And get my quad correct and everything. And work on things we kind of ran out of time in spring training so this might be a little blessing in disguise. So that’s kind of how we’re looking at it going forward.”
After missing Saturday’s game, Eaton returned to play all 12 innings in Washington’s loss on Sunday, but didn’t play on Monday. Martinez removed him from Tuesday’s lineup following a conversation with him.
“He hurt it [Thursday],” Martinez said. “Next day, he said he felt good. And then he said it started bothering him. We want to be very, very cautious with him right now.”
Eaton said it only hurts when he walks or jogs. He can sprint, lift, hit and throw without a problem. Though he will miss time, he insisted the injury isn’t significant. He said he was told it’s part of the process of returning from a torn ACL.
“However long we take for it to heal, it’s going to be a great thing,” Eaton said. “I really, truly believe that. Like I said, we’re going to work a lot of strength in the quad, my hamstring and continue to work on my knee as well and increase mobility through whatever has happened. Again, kind of a question mark. It’s going to be a good thing in the long run.”
The Nationals must create a spot on the 40-man roster for Sierra, who was also a late scratch for Syracuse’s 5:35 p.m. game on Tuesday in Rochester N.Y. The 29-year-old Dominican last appeared in the big leagues in 2014 with the White Sox and Blue Jays. He has a .243 batting average and .679 OPS in 449 career plate appearances.
He joined the organization as a nonroster invite to spring training, and batted .321 with an .874 OPS and two home runs in 30 exhibition games. He then went 4 for 12 in four games with Syracuse to start the season.
In other outfield injury news, Nationals top prospect Victor Robles, who left Syracuse’s game on Monday after landing awkwardly diving for a ball in center field, has a hyperextended left elbow, Martinez announced Tuesday.
Robles traveled to Washington to undergo further evaluation Tuesday. Martinez said he will remain in the city for another evaluation on Monday after the swelling diminishes.
“I thought he broke his elbow,” Martinez said. “Until the swelling goes down, they really can’t tell, I don’t think, what is really going on. But it is a hyperextension. If you want to say that’s good news, he’ll be missed for sure, but hopefully it is good news.”