The Washington Nationals have several players whose spring training routines have been altered by injuries. However, there’s no need to worry.
The Washington Nationals have had a fairly productive spring training thus far. Established major leaguers have gotten their work in, roster hopefuls have gotten exposure with the major league coaching staff, and everyone has remained relatively healthy.
Unfortunately, the Nats have several players who are coming off of injuries or suffered a minor injury this spring.
Obviously, Adam Eaton missed most of his debut season in DC. He got off to a great start in April, but quickly suffered a season-ending knee injury. Now, after a year of rehab, he is ready to return.
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Despite the fact that he has been cleared to return, Eaton has not yet played in a major league spring training game. He has been participating in team workouts, but has not gotten into a major league game.
However, there is no need to worry about Eaton. Instead of playing with the big league club, he has been playing in minor league spring training games, where he is in a much more controlled environment.
Major league spring training games are essentially meaningless, but minor league spring training games mean even less. If Eaton wants to, he can leadoff every inning and only play defense every other inning.
For a player coming off of a major injury, this is a perfect scenario.
Unlike Eaton, Ryan Zimmerman has played in a major league game this spring. He only received two at-bats, but he has made an appearance.
Like Eaton, Zimmerman has been playing in minor league games. He has been exceptionally injury-prone in the past, and was dealing with general soreness earlier this spring, so the Nats are proceeding with caution.
There is no need to rush Zimmerman back. He is a professional in every sense, and he knows exactly what he needs to do in order to be ready for Opening Day. We have hardly seen him this spring, but, barring any unforeseen circumstances, he will be in the Nats’ lineup on March 29.
Similar to Zimmerman, we have not seen much of Michael Taylor. He suffered a minor side injury early in the exhibition schedule, and has not played in a major league game since March 5.
However, in an interview during Tuesday night’s game, hitting coach Kevin Long said that Taylor has been playing in minor league games with Eaton. Long also mentioned that Taylor is playing well, going 8-for-15 over the last few days.
The final significant Nat battling an injury is Daniel Murphy. The star second baseman underwent knee surgery last October, which required extensive rehab.
Murphy is still working his way back, but is making great progress. He recently began taking batting practice on the field with the rest of the team and fielding ground balls during defensive drills.
While Murphy is making progress, he is unlikely to be ready for Opening Day. He is still being eased back into baseball activities, and Opening Day is right around the corner. This should not be cause for concern, however, because the Nats have Howie Kendrick and Wilmer Difo, who can fill in during Murphy’s absence.
It can be concerning when several projected starters are not visibly participating in spring training, but there is no need to worry for Nats fans. Dave Martinez and co. have a handle on every player in camp, and everyone other than Murphy is expected to be ready for Opening Day.