Surgery possible for Kearns

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I don’t want to take too much attention away from our new in-game thread Ben’s running tonight, but there are several pregame items to report. So check this out and then head back over to the other thread if you like…

Austin Kearns, who was placed on the 15-day DL earlier today with a right thumb contusion, will be examined in Baltimore by a hand specialist. Dr. Thomas Graham’s exact course of action won’t be determined until he gets a better look at the injury, but there is a chance Kearns could need surgery, which would keep him out a while.

“It’s a possibility, but I really don’t want to speculate,” Nationals team doctor Weimi Douoguih said. “For Austin’s sake, we’ll leave it in the hands of Dr. Graham, who has the most experience with this kind of thing. … There’s a lot of different things that it could be, but we don’t want to speculate. The issue is that it’s something that was kind of benign that kind of crept up on him, and we felt it was best to send him up to our hand specialist.”

Interim manager Jim Riggleman said Kearns is likely out at least seven-to-10 days. But, “if they see that they’ve got to do some scraping or other stuff to the thumb area, I would say it would be a lot more than that.”

— In other injury news, Jordan Zimmermann admitted he felt some elbow tightness after making his 3 1/3-inning rehab start for Potomac last night. Whether that’s actually a sign of something serious is unknown. It doesn’t seem to affect his pitching. It might simply be the after-effects of pitching a full season in the major leagues, something Zimmermann hasn’t done before.

The plan from here to have Zimmermann throw a bullpen session in a couple days, then decide whether he should start: 1) Sunday against the Diamondbacks, 2) Tuesday at the Braves or 3) again in the minors somewhere.

— Finally, there’s no one happier to be in uniform tonight than Jorge Padilla, who spent the last 12 years in the minor leagues waiting for this opportunity. The 29-year-old outfielder, owner of a .289 average, 90 homers and 544 RBI in 1,165 career minor league games, could barely sleep last night when he got the news he was being called up from Syracuse. He’ll have some family members in attendance tonight, ready to celebrate something they’ve all waited a long time for.

“I really thought it was going to come, but after a while you probably start thinking: ‘Oh my god, is it coming? What do I got to do?’” Padilla said. “But we’re through that and I’m here. I’m living in the moment now.”

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Mark Zuckerman

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