Catcher Down! Leon Hurt in MLB Debut


Less than four innings into his first major league game, Nationals catcher Sandy Leon was being helped off the field with an ankle injury.

A day after joining the Nationals, the rookie got the start behind the plate in Monday night’s home game against the San Diego Padres. But in the bottom of the fourth inning, he was bowled over in a play at the plate and appeared to fall awkwardly on his right ankle.

Manager Davey Johnson said after the game that Leon suffered a high ankle sprain and was placed on the 60-day disabled list. The Nationals called up Carlos Maldonado from Triple-A Syracuse to serve as backup catcher.

With one out and men on second and third in the top of the fourth, San Diego’s Orlando Hudson singled on a line drive to center field. Rick Ankiel tossed to to the cutoff man Danny Espinosa as Chase Headley barreled around third, trying to score from second. Espinosa’s throw the the plate came in on one and Headley put down his left shoulder and plowed into Leon, who was blocking the plate. Leon got up and limped toward first base before collapsing in obvious pain. Trainer Mike McGowan and bench coach Randy Knorr helped him from the field. Jesus Flores replaced him behind the plate.

Leon had struck out looking in his only at-bat. He had just been called up from Double-A Harrisburg after Saturday night’s game to replace Wilson Ramos, who tore his right ACL against Cincinnati.