ATLANTA — Steven Souza Jr. jammed his left shoulder, but otherwise appeared to avoid serious injury on a scary collision with the right-field fence at Turner Field during the second inning of Friday night's 7-6 loss to the Braves.
"I'm OK. I'm doing fine," the young Nationals outfielder said. "I was just running full-speed, had a full-on collision. But it seems to be nothing serious. So that's a good sign, good news to hear."
Souza hit the wall square as he leaped to try to rob Freddie Freeman of a 2-run homer. In his first career start in right field, the rookie tried to climb the fence by planting his right foot, but the chain link that guards the out-of-town scoreboard offered little assistance. Souza's shoulder hit that fence while the side of his head hit the yellow padding at the top of the wall, providing cushion, then fell to the ground and lay motionless for a couple of seconds as teammates, manager Matt Williams and head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz ran to check on him.
"That's what kind of scared me, the impact with the speed I was running at," Souza said. "My head's fine. Everything's fine. Just jammed [the shoulder] pretty hard. Give it a couple days rest, and I'll be OK."
Williams also said there was no concern of a head injury, and Souza passed initial tests that allowed him to remain in the game. But after lining out to short the following inning, he realized the shoulder pain was preventing him from taking good swings.
"I was hoping it would go away, just keep going away, try to play through it," he said. "Once I got to swinging, that aggravated it a little bit. So I didn't want to start giving away ABs just to be a prideful player. I'd rather have someone in there ... who can give quality ABs."
Souza will be evaluated again Saturday, but he doesn't appear to need more than a couple of days off.
"We'll have to see how he reacts to everything," Williams said. "It's pretty good impact. So we'll see."
Souza found himself in the lineup after starting right fielder Jayson Werth took a rare night off to deal with his own nagging shoulder and ankle injuries. The Nationals are hopeful Werth will be ready to return Saturday night.