The Nationals will place Ian Desmond on the 15-day disabled list with a tear of his left oblique muscle, an injury the All-Star shortstop had been playing through but will now require an extended period of rest.
Manager Davey Johnson couldn't put an exact timetable for Desmond to return to the Nationals lineup, but these type of injuries generally take at least a month -- often two months -- to heal.
Desmond has been dealing with the injury since at least mid-June but had been playing the best all-around baseball of his career, hitting .286 with 17 homers and 53 RBI in 89 games.
"That just shows you how tough he is," Johnson said following today's 9-2 win over the Braves.
Desmond's loss will force the Nationals to shift Danny Espinosa to shortstop and Steve Lombardozzi to second base for an extended period of time. Johnson said veteran utilityman Mark DeRosa would become the backup infielder.
The Nationals will promote a player from Class AAA Syracuse before tomorrow's game in New York. Outfielder Corey Brown is the most likely choice, Johnson said.'
More to come...
Bryce Harper struggled by his standards in 2016 and he says he know why it happened last year. While it was rumored last season that he was playing through injuries, Harper never really missed significant time, nor did he really say that his injuries were the reason for his disappointing numbers.
Speaking with the media today at spring training, Harper hinted at his injuries from last season as he said he was just trying to stay in the lineup every day.
Although Harper's statistics dropped off dramatically from his MVP season in 2015, his numbers weren't entirely awful last year. He still hit 24 homers, drove in 86 runs and he had an .814 OPS.
With a full offseason to heal up, Harper will be a prime bounce-back candidate as he looks to help the Nationals win their third NL East title in the last four years.
Related: Sorry D.C. sports fans, Bryce Harper is a Dallas Cowboys fan
The Nationals aren't certain to have ace Max Scherzer ready to pitch for Opening Day. Scherzer, 32, was unable to compete in the World Baseball Classic this summer due to a stress fracture in his right ring finger.
When he spoke to the media today at the first bullpen session of spring training, he said that the fracture has healed but the symptoms continue.
Scherzer also said he'd just started throwing again this week. Manager Dusty Baker confimed that the Nationals don't know whether Scherzer will be ready to start the season.
Any time a team's star pitcher suffers an unusual hand injury, it's cause for concern for the club and fans.
Scherzer won the NL Cy Young Award last season and posted a 20-7 record as a starter. He also led the MLB with 284 strikeouts.
Scherzer is an especially vital part of the Nationals rotation considering the injury history of Stephen Strasburg, who landed on the DL twice last season, once with soreness in the elbow that needed Tommy John surgery in 2010.
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