The Washington Times - March 15, 2011, 11:02PM

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla — Danny Espinosa was walking in the clubhouse without a noticeable limp Tuesday night, putting to rest fears that the talented young second baseman would miss significant time with a foot injury after fouling a ball flush off the top of his right foot in the seventh inning.

“I’m not worried about it at all,” Espinosa said.


He will get precautionary X-rays on Wednesday but both he and Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said that, if needed, he could probably play tomorrow. However, Riggleman said he will not be in the lineup.

“He really hit it down on there hard but he and the trainer both feel like he’s probably fine and ready to play tomorrow,” Riggleman said.

It was a dramatic scene immediately after he fouled the pitch off, as Espinosa was helped into the clubhouse by two people and wasn’t putting any weight on his right foot. It wasn’t as dire as it looked though. Espinosa was simply cautioned by the trainer not to put weight on the foot but said he felt like he could have stayed in the game.

“At first, it hurt real bad,” Espinosa said. “I wasn’t able to take a step on it out there because they told me just to stay off it. They just wanted to make sure, but if I had to play, I could play.”

I didn’t think anything of it at first,” Riggleman said. “Then the more weight he put on it, he wasn’t feeling good at all. I was just concerned that if he happened to hit another one down on there the next pitch, it would be excruciating.”

If the injury is indeed not serious, it will be the second close call in three days for Espinosa, who was hit by a pitch in the head on Sunday by Marlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco but suffered no ill-effects.

Espinosa immediately put to rest any ideas of taking it easy on the foot the next few days because it is spring training.

“There’s still a job to win,” he said. “I’m going to get back as fast as I can and be there.”