Nate McLouth's first season in Washington came to an early and disappointing end Tuesday afternoon, when the Nationals announced he will have right shoulder surgery and miss the rest of the year.
McLouth was placed on the disabled list Aug. 2 with what was initially described as shoulder inflammation. Manager Matt Williams said the 32-year-old outfielder has since been diagnosed with a torn labrum. He will have surgery Thursday and is expected to be ready for spring training in 2015.
"It's something that he's been dealing with all year," Williams said, "but the symptoms really got bad after that game in Miami [on July 28] when he dove for that ball. It just hasn't gotten any better since."
The Nationals signed McLouth to a two-year, $10.75 million deal in the offseason to bolster their depth in the outfield, but he struggled at the plate all season. He hit .179 in 79 games, including 33 starts, with one home run and seven RBI. As a starter for the Baltimore Orioles in 2013, he hit .258 in 146 games with 12 homers, 36 RBI and 30 stolen bases.
When asked if the shoulder might have influenced McLouth's ineffectiveness as a hitter, Williams said the outfielder hadn't talked with him about it.
"No player will ever say," Williams said. "You're never going to admit to something bothering you to [explain] a lack of production. But you also look at last year, and he played pretty regularly with no complications and no issues, and he did well."
Williams said that because of the nature of McLouth's position, he will likely have a smoother rehabilitation process than a pitcher or an infielder.
In the meantime, the Nationals will continue to lean on recent call-up Michael A. Taylor or veterans Scott Hairston and Kevin Frandsen to fill the fourth-outfielder role. Washington also signed longtime Giants outfielder Nate Schierholtz to a minor league contract Monday. He is expected to join the team when rosters expand on Sept. 1, if not sooner.
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