Ian Desmond was likely excited when he was told last Sunday that he’d made the National League All Star Roster for the first time in his career, but thanks to a nagging oblique injury the shortstop is going to be skipping Tuesday night’s game – much to the dismay of many fans and members of the media – according to an announcement by the team yesterday afternoon. Desmond reportedly met with team doctors before the decision was made.
Desmond has been coping with the injury since early June, though he has not received any sort of medical treatment or cortisone shots to alleviate the discomfort. He also has continued to appear in the lineup nearly everyday, showing minimal signs that he is indeed hurting. His production at the plate, meanwhile, would leave zero questioning his health. Desmond is batting .282/.314/.506 on the year with 16 HR and 49 RBI. He’s already set career highs in some statistical categories and is on pace to break franchise records for shortstops by year’s end.
While Desmond has not shown that he’s hurt on the field of play and has not missed significant time because of it, some are questioning whether it’s right that he is choosing to skip the game in order to rest for the season’s second half. However, this has become a growing trend across baseball for many of the past few seasons and Desmond is far from the worst offender with such behavior. That has not stopped many members of the media – notably ESPN’s Buster Olney on Twitter – from openly criticizing the decision.
However, it’s hard to fault Desmond for essentially putting the Nationals first. He easily could have kept his mouth shut, gone to Kansas City, and participated in the game. But with the Nationals comfortably in first place and above .500 this deep into the season for the first time in franchise history, some things just simply became more important.