ATLANTA — The Nationals are in wait-and-see mode with bench player Chad Tracy, who pulled up with a groin issue on a pinch-hit, RBI-double in the sixth inning Saturday.
The Nationals plan to wait a few days before making any decisions on a possible disabled list stint and corresponding roster move, though, as they’re unsure right now what the issue might be. Tracy had surgery to repair a double sports hernia this past offseason and the hope is that he might have just felt some scar tissue breaking up and not something more severe.
“I’m pretty sore right now,” Tracy said. “We’ll see what happens tomorrow. Not quite sure exactly what (it is). It could be a couple different things… We’ll get a better understanding tomorrow and eventually probably get (an MRI) of it and go from there.”
The Nationals have already consulted with the doctor who performed Tracy’s offseason surgery and he too recommended waiting a few days before making any decisions on his ability to play.
“He’s so valuable I hate to overreact and make a roster move when, maybe, he’s going to be all right in two or three days,” said Nationals manager Davey Johnson. “I’ve done the same thing, broke some scar tissue, and then I was fine. We’re going to just hold off on doing something and, hopefully he’ll be back earlier than if it’s something more serious.”
Tracy has been the most productive pinch hitter in the major leagues this season, knocking in more RBI as a pinch hitter (nine) than any other player in baseball. So with the chance to face a right-handed reliever and the lead just lost, it was no surprise to see Johnson turn to Tracy with one out in the sixth and Ian Desmond on second.
And Tracy made the move look good, too, doubling off Kris Medlen to bring home what would stand up as the winning run in the Nationals’ 8-4 victory. But as he made his way to second base, Tracy pulled up and was clearly dealing with pain in his right groin area.
If the Nationals do indeed require a roster move, one possible call-up could be outfielder Corey Brown, who has been on a tear at Triple-A. Brown, who is not on the 40-man and would require his contract be purchased, did not play in Triple-A Syracuse’s 9-6 loss to Columbus but had hit home runs in five straight games before that.
Brown, who broke a Chiefs record with his fifth home run in five straight games on Friday, has also reached base safely in each of the last 14 games he’s played. He’s hitting .297 with 12 home runs, a .399 on-base percentage and a .584 slugging percentage.
The Nationals were high on Brown after his showing in major league spring training and his performance in the International League has done nothing to dissuade them from those feelings. When the team sent Brown to minor league camp this spring, Johnson went so far as to say “if he keeps doing the things I think he’s capable of doing right on into the season, we don’t have to look for a (long-term) center fielder.”
Tracy will be re-evaluated on Sunday and the Nationals will have a better idea of what they’ll need in terms of the roster.