Injury Roundup: Strasburg Hopes To Avoid DL, But Davis Called Up


Obviously, the headliner from last night is that Stephen Strasburg strained his right oblique. He has stated a hope to make his next start, but his situation seems eerily similar to Ross Detwiler‘s.

Detwiler had the same injury and hoped to make his next start, but is about to miss his third start and is currently on the disabled list. Surely everyone hopes that Strasburg’s situation will be different, but with him now flying back to D.C. to be looked at by team doctors, it seems unlikely that he will be starting June 6th against the Mets. Davey Johnson has said that he is not being placed on the DL right now, but there are questions about that given our next news point.

Mar 9, 2013; Melbourne, FL, USA; Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson (5) hands off the ball to relief pitcher Erik Davis (55) during the top of the fourth inning of a spring training game against the Miami Marlins at Space Coast Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Late last night, Nats prospect Erik Davis tweeted that he was being called up to the majors. In 24 innings at AAA Syracuse this season, he has a 3.00 ERA and 3.38 K/BB ratio. His joining the Nats is heavy with implications since no corresponding move has been announced. It almost certainly indicates that someone is being placed on the DL, but who?

The most likely candidate is Bryce Harper, who looked likely to hit the DL before tonight’s game. Perhaps Craig Stammen‘s pitching four innings tonight made the bullpen a more pressing need with Nate Karns likely not going deep into the game on Sunday, and the team decided to go ahead and put Harper on the DL in order to have an extra bullpen arm in case of emergency. If this is the case, it means Davis would probably go back to Syracuse at the end of this series and the Nats would call up an outfielder to take Harper’s place, such as Corey Brown or Eury Perez.

Another candidate for having been DL’d would be Strasburg himself. That would indicate that something has changed since Davey announced he would not immediately go on the DL, and not for the better. His being placed on the DL would mean that he felt more pain later in the night, and in addition to hinting that his DL stint might be longer than expected, almost certainly would result in Stammen’s being placed in the rotation as his replacement. However, it seems unlikely that Strasburg’s condition could have worsened to the point where he’d be placed on the DL shortly after a press conference was held in which the manager said that was not yet happening.

May 31, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla (26) attempts to turn a double play over Washington Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa (8) in the second inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The dark horse candidate is Danny Espinosa. He has been playing through a fractured wrist, and if he somehow aggravated it, it would make sense to see him go on the DL. The logic for adding Davis would be the same as for if Harper is injured: to provide bullpen insurance after Strasburg’s short outing. His absence would move Steve Lombardozzi to the top of the 2B depth chart, and put Jeff Kobernus as his primary backup. An even more interesting aspect of this scenario is Anthony Rendon‘s recent callup to AAA. If Espinosa is out for a long time, Rendon could be at AAA to start playing second base in preparation for a major league callup whenever his defense is ready. Given his injury history, it may not be wise to have him playing second, but the Nats are in dire need of his bat in their lineup and they have had no offensive production from their second basemen this year.

Perhaps more news will have broken by the time you read this post and all will be made clear. However, if it doesn’t, this covers just about everything we know from last night, and more will surely be forthcoming.