ATLANTA — Laynce Nix was pulled from the Nationals 5-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves in the bottom of the third inning Thursday night, tweaking his groin and admitting that he’s going to be down for a few days.
Simultaneously, Roger Bernadina was pulled from Triple-A Syracuse’s game in Buffalo, N.Y., in the fifth inning. While the Nationals made no official announcement, Bernadina didn’t waste time revealing his expected call-up to the major leagues by writing “De Haai is terug!” on his official facebook page. The line, which is Dutch, means “The Shark is back!” Bernadina, who fans often refer to by the nickname “The Shark,” is from Curacao where Dutch is the most prominent language spoken.
With roster expansion allowed once the calendar turned to September, the Nationals have no reason to take a chance with a short bench knowing that Nix will be out for a few games. Bernadina was expected to get the call back to the big leagues shortly after the Triple-A season ended, anyway. In 71 games for the Nationals this season, Bernadina hit .247 with a .312 on-base percentage, five homers and 20 RBI.
While the Nationals will lose Nix, who has hit .257 with 16 homers and 43 RBI, for an undetermined amount of time, they’ll be re-gaining the man who patrolled center field for them almost exclusively from May through July.
Nix walked to leadoff the second inning against Braves right-hander Tim Hudson and was booking his way down to second base when Chris Marrero sent a high pop up to short. Nix was going full speed in an attempt to beat the anticipated throw from Braves shortstop Alex Gonzalez or at least break up a potential double play when the ball dropped behind Gonzalez. That forced Nix, who was in the process of slowing down, to ramp back up quickly and hustle to third base. Somewhere in there, he tweaked his groin.
“I’ve pulled my groin before and I don’t think that’s what it is,” Nix said. “I don’t think it’s that severe. It’s just sort of tender. I don’t anticipate it being too long.”
Nix remained in the game to play the bottom half of the second inning in right field but was removed before the Nationals took the field for the bottom of the third inning.
“I thought I did something but I wasn’t too sure,” Nix said. “Davey (Johnson) tried to discourage me from going back out there but it was a little tender and I did feel it taking off running fast. I figured i’t’d be better to miss a couple of days than the rest of the season. It’s frustrating but I don’t think it’ll be too serious.”