The Washington Nationals unbelievable run of injuries appears to have taken yet another unfortunate turn. Not even 48 hours after catcher Wilson Ramos tore his right anterior cruciate ligament fielding a passed ball, his replacement on the Nationals’ roster, Sandy Leon, had to be helped off the field.
Update: The Nationals announced that Leon left tonight’s game with a high RIGHT ankle sprain. (The team first announced it was a sprained left ankle.) He will be placed on the disabled list on Tuesday and Carlos Maldonado is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Syracuse. Maldonado is not on the 40-man roster so the Nationals would need to clear space for him, but they have a host of candidates to be transferred to the 60-day disabled list to do so. Leon left the clubhouse late Monday night with his foot encased in a boot up to his knee, his leg resting on a wheeling stool.
“Such an outstanding young man,” said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. “His first big league game, all pumped up, and have to get hurt in his first game. That’s tough.”
Leon, who was called up from Double-A on Saturday night when Ramos went down, was making his major league debut on Monday night at Nationals Park. Orlando Hudson hit a single to center field with two runners on and Leon was in position to field the cutoff throw from second baseman Danny Espinosa when Padres third baseman Chase Headley plowed into him at home plate.
The ball skipped beneath Leon’s glove just before Headley’s impact and Leon immediately came up limping. He fell to his knees to the right of home plate where the Nationals trainers ultimately helped him off the field. It appeared that Leon’s right ankle was hurt in the collision.
“I thought it was a clean play and I’m sorry it resulted the way it did,” Headley said. “When I was coming in, I was intending to slide. I was even looking to to slide to the inside. But there was nowhere to go. He had the plate totally blocked and the ball wasn’t there yet.”
Jesus Flores immediately replaced Leon at catcher.
Leon will be the 10th Nationals player to go on the disabled list this season, joining Michael Morse, Drew Storen, Jayson Werth, Ramos, Brad Lidge, Mark DeRosa and Chien-Ming Wang there currently. Ryan Zimmerman and Rick Ankiel have also spent time on the DL this season.
It’s a run of injuries that seems to get crueler and more gut-wrenching by the day. Leon played four major league innings before his injury. When he will return to a major league field is now in question.
“What can I say?” Flores said, alone at his locker after the game. “It’s really frustrating to watch my teammates going down. Getting run over and then Wilson, (tearing) his knee. It’s like something going on. Hopefully it stops happening.”
“Man, it’s tough,” said veteran Chad Tracy. “You feel for them because you see how much hard work all of them put in everyday and it’s unfortunate. And it hurts us as a team. I’ve been the guy who’s gotten hurt before and it’s no fun. You work your butt off to get back and hopefully you get your opportunity back. It’s tough to watch, especially young guys. Ramos is young, (Leon) is young. It’s tough. There’s no other way to put it, really.”