In his stead, the Nationals will move Espinosa to short and use Steve Lombardozzi at his natural position, second base. Mark DeRosa, the veteran utilityman who dealt with an oblique injury this season and needed six weeks to recover, will be the primary backup at both positions.
“He’s been our MVP all year,” DeRosa said. “Big hit after big hit. He’s basically been the captain of our infield for all of the first half of the season so to lose him is tough.
“I think he’ll feel this until the offseason. I know he’s a lot younger than me but. I still feel it. You’ve just got to get to the point where you can trust that you can let your swing go. You can tell that he’s been fighting it for a while, so you hate to lose him, but at the same time you’d like to have him healthy out there when we need him most.”
In the few games he’s played there since the All-Star break, Espinosa has looked comfortable at shortstop, and he’s been steadily improving at the plate since an early-season slump. In 11 games since the All-Star break, Espinosa is hitting .381 with four doubles, a triple, a home run and six RBI. The Nationals also have rebounded offensively, and Desmond hasn’t had to be one of the main hitters.
Johnson said this would most likely not speed up the return of Jayson Werth to the active roster because “that wouldn’t be wise,” but there certainly was a sense of loss that the Nationals, as close as they were to having their most of their expected roster healthy and together, were being dealt another setback.
“Hopefully, after these two weeks Desi will be ready to go, this oblique will really calm down and he’ll be ready for the rest of the season,” Espinosa said. “But there kind of is that sense that we almost had our whole team back.”
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Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals and comes to The Washington Times from the Cape Cod Times and after stints with MLB.com and the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder. A Massachusetts native and 2008 graduate of Boston University, Amanda can be reached at email@example.com and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.
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