Injuries Plague Already Struggling Nationals

When Trea Turner injured his wrist back on April 2, Nats fans were torn up about it because his speed on the base paths had already proven to be effective this season and he was on pace to have an incredible year. Then they had Anthony Rendon head to the IL with a foot injury (perhaps days later than he should have) and Ryan Zimmerman won’t be available due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Things have now gotten worse as the organization announced before yesterday’s game that Juan Soto will be heading to the injured list for back spasms.

The Nats had some more reason for concern during last night’s game as both Matt Adams and Michael A. Taylor left early on due to injury. Taylor, who was going to be filling in in center while Soto’s out, jammed his left wrist while trying to make a diving catch in the outfield and Adams jammed his shoulder while making an incredible play in the infield (which he arguably wouldn’t be doing if Ryan Zimmerman was healthy and playing).

While initial x-rays were negative for both players, Matt Adams will be heading to the 10 day IL after an MRI showed a shoulder strain. Jake Noll will be called up from Triple-A Fresno in the meantime, but it’s still rather devastating to be missing so many of the organization’s big league infielders. Their Opening Day starters at first, short stop, and third are now out, after all, as is their top utility infielder.

All of these injuries come at a time when the Nationals are trying to deal with a struggling bullpen and put together a stretch of wins that could prevent them from falling out of playoff contention just over a month into the season. That could have proven rather difficult, however, even if the team wasn’t facing all these injuries.

In the month of May, the Nationals will only have three scheduled days off as they have 28 games, 16 of which are against NL East opponents. A solid streak of wins could go a long ways in keeping the Nats in the swing of things as they’re only four games behind the first place Phillies and a few wins could also help them catch the Mets and Braves.

But among their opponents this month, only the Reds and the Marlins have a record that’s worse than the Nationals. Even those games aren’t guaranteed victories for Washington. The Reds have the same number of wins as the Nationals, but one more loss, and the Nats struggled against the Marlins while losing a three game series against them a couple weeks ago.

With all of the uncertainly among position players, it could potentially add some extra pressure on a pitching staff that’s already facing some struggles this year. The bullpen, for example, has the second worse ERA in the league and there have been some light hearted stories that the starters have been asked to do some unusual things for the team. Max Scherzer, after all, almost had to make an appearance in right field and did end up pinch hitting. While the former Cy Young winner seemed excited about the opportunity, it can’t be great to consistently be having to ask starters to do so much.

The good news is that some folks could make their way back to the playing field relatively soon. Rendon is eligible to return on Tuesday and there are reports that Trea Turner has been making progress in his rehab work. But there’s certainly a long ways to go before the Nats have their desired roster on the field again.

About Bryan J. Scrafford

Bryan Scrafford grew up in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC and stayed in the region for both college and his professional life. An avid baseball and hockey fan, Bryan's also involved with several advocacy organizations fighting for economic justice, LGBT rights, and other issues. You can follow him on twitter at @bscrafford and Instagram at @bjscrafford
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