Washington Nationals: Top five storylines heading into the second half

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 09: Bryce Harper
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 09: Bryce Harper /
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3. When and how will Trea Turner return?

On June 29, Trea Turner fractured his wrist after being hit by a pitch. This was a huge blow for the Nats, as they lost their starting shortstop and leadoff hitter. Luckily, he is expected to return around late August or early September, so he will be back in time to tune up for the playoffs.

Braves infielder Freddie Freeman suffered a similar injury and returned after seven weeks. Not only has he returned, he has returned and made a huge impact. The Nats know this well since he recently hit .389 with two homers in a four-game series at Nationals Park.

The Nats lineup is among the most dangerous lineups in the league, so they can stay above water for now with Brian Goodwin and Michael Taylor at the top of the lineup, but it will be huge to get Turner back for the playoffs. Wilmer Difo, Stephen Drew, and Adrian Sanchez have done a nice job at shortstop but, again, Turner will be a huge upgrade.

When Turner was called up last season, he provided an instant spark and transformed the offense. Upon his return, he will be able to make a similar impact. It will be as if the Nats acquired a superstar right before the playoffs.

The time off could also be beneficial for Turner. He is still very young has never played this many games in a season, so some time off could ensure that he is fresh and at his best for the playoffs.

Although the Nats have undoubtedly felt the loss of Turner, he should be back in time for the playoffs and the injury actually has a few possible benefits. His progress through rehab and his return to the lineup will be something interesting to keep an eye on towards the end of the year.