Washington Nationals Rapid Reaction: Ian Desmond, Yunel Escobar Bright Spots in Nats Loss

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Jul 22, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Yunel Escobar (5) reacts as trainer Lee Kuntz exams his wrist as manager Matt Williams (9) looks on against the New York Mets during the second inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Yunel Escobar Makes a Cameo

When Yunel Escobar exited Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Mets with an apparent wrist injury, Nationals fans could only sigh, shake their heads, and wonder how much worse things could really be. After all, the team had already lost for the better part of the year almost all of their other starting infielders. Desmond was the only other regular to remain healthy for the better part of 2015.

Nats fans could only wonder how bad the injury was. Escobar went down without contact, which almost always means something catastrophic. The fact that the X-rays and scans came back negative felt like only temporary reliefs. Surely the news of Escobar’s extended stay on the disabled list was coming.

But on Friday night, Nationals fans received confirmation of an even more encouraging sort. Escobar, in full uniform, stepped into the on-deck circle late in the game. While he never made an official plate appearance, the fact that he was available at all should come as welcome news to Nats fans who have suffered more than their fair share of misery at the hand of the injury bug this season.

Escobar, acquired during the offseason in a trade, has been one of the biggest additions to the Nationals lineup. Playing third  base while filling in for Rendon, Escobar has hit for a slash line of .321/.366/.420. More importantly, he’s been able to slide in behind Bryce Harper, the team’s biggest offensive threat, as protection against the intentional walk. His contribution to a Nats offense that’s been plagued with inconsistency can’t be measured.

Which is why his appearance on Friday night was so important. Even if he never saw a pitch, the fact that he’s able to step into the on-deck circle rather than sitting on the disabled list should be music to the ears of Nats fans everywhere. Hopefully, his appearance is a sign of even bigger things in the near future.

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