The Washington Nationals already survived almost a month without All-Star shortstop Ian Desmond. They don’t want to have to experience another absence.
So when Desmond grounded into a double play in the eighth inning Tuesday night, it didn’t even matter much to manager Davey Johnson in the grand scheme that he could’ve beaten the throw had nothing gone wrong.
Desmond wasn’t able to go full speed to the bag and appeared to be favoring his right leg afterward. He reported being fine even though he thought he might have hyperextended his knee.
“I forgot about the game when I saw him,” Johnson said. “I though for sure he pulled a hammy.”
The end result, according to the manager, was nothing terribly serious. Desmond stayed in the game.
Desmond scared himself, as well as his manager.
“I’m not really exactly sure. I think it was a little bit of maybe I hyperextended my knee a little bit or something like that. I think it was just one of those things, I was running down the line and felt something,” he said. “My first reaction was to jump off of it before something bad happened. Once that happened, I ran down the line, it felt fine and I was able to stay in the game.
“I could’ve done anything. I wouldn’t have taken myself out to hit. If my at-bat came up, I would’ve hit, no doubt. I think it just scared me more than anything. It was something kind of funky in there and I just went, whoa! and jumped off it and made sure nothing really bad happened.”
He didn’t require an X-ray and thought he could’ve beaten out the grounder and kept the inning alive.
“Anytime you feel something awkward in your body, obviously it’s at first a little startling. I think that’s the majority of what it was,” Desmond said. “I was just kind of running and maybe tried to run too hard. I did not want to hit into another double play and not score another RBI.”
The 26-year-old missed over three weeks with a strained oblique. A hamstring injury would have been another blow, even with the Nats up six games over the Atlanta Braves in the National League East.
Much earlier in the game recently acquired catcher Kurt Suzuki gave Johnson and the Nats a scare of his own, taking a foul tip off his exposed right hand.
“I was really worried about Suzuki. He got it right between those two knuckles on the right hand,” Johnson said, pointing to the area between his middle and ring fingers. “And it’s awful swollen. But the trainers didn’t think it was broken. If it was broken, it would’ve started getting really painful. So I don’t think there’s a problem there.”
Even after a few tosses back to the mound that were off the mark, Suzuki remained in the game. He had an X-ray on the right hand, which was negative.
“It’s OK. It’s swollen, but it’s just a little sore,” Suzuki said. “Just the normal stuff after getting hit.”