TORONTO — Roger Bernadina slid into third base Monday night, taking two free bases on a wild pitch, and grimaced as soon as his body stopped moving. He walked gingerly into foul territory and leaned over.
The pain, coming from a strained right hamstring, was so great Bernadina felt he couldn’t even bend his knee as the Nationals’ trainers attempted to help him off the field. But manager Davey Johnson said the strain is not believed to be a “severe pull.” The Nationals will wait and see how the outfielder is doing on Tuesday before deciding on any sort of roster move.
“I hope it’s not bad,” Bernadina said. “But I’ll see how I feel tomorrow. I hope I feel good. I’m ready.”
The injury comes at an unfortunate time for Bernadina, who had been swinging the bat better of late and whom Johnson had singled out as a candidate to get more playing time as the Nationals’ AL East tour continues. Bernadina entered Monday 4-for-his-last-7 at the plate.
If the Nationals do require a roster move, they have two relatively easy ones at their disposal. If veteran utility man Mark DeRosa is ready to be activated, the Nationals could go that route. If DeRosa, who is recovering from a strained left oblique and is also dealing with an extremely ill father, is not ready, the Nationals could choose to summon Corey Brown from Triple-A, as well.
Brown played all nine innings in Triple-A Syracuse’s game Monday night but the game was already in the bottom of the eighth inning when Bernadina’s injury diagnosis came out. Syracuse, of course, is just over a four-hour drive from Toronto.