Continued from page 1

He wishes he’d known the full extent of his injury sooner, but that is no guarantee his season would have turned out differently.

A bruise is not going to keep him from playing. A broken bone?

“I shouldn’t have” been playing, Espinosa said. “At the time time, I’m not the doctor reading the film. Yeah, I shouldn’t have been playing on a broken wrist the whole year. Like I said, you’re told you have a bruise, you’re going to play through a bruise. Everyone plays through bumps and bruises. If I would have known it was a broken wrist, I wouldn’t have been playing at all.”

Espinosa wasn’t recalled when the rosters expanded in September. He said he’s OK with that, his performance didn’t merit a return. Time has healed more than the physical wounds. If there’s any lingering bitterness, he’s doing what he can to keep it well hidden.

Given his versatility, a utility role would work for Espinosa. He’s not thinking along those lines now. His only thought is to become the Nationals’ second baseman again.

“If I don’t win my job, that [utility role] could be something I could fall back into,” Espinosa said.

Williams also isn’t ready to pin a utility label on Espinosa. He watched him from across the diamond while serving as a coach in Arizona. He saw the exceptional glove, the range, the power at the plate.

“I just think there’s great potential there and I’m not alone,” Williams said. “There were multiple calls from teams throughout baseball this offseason, so I know I’m not the only one thinking that and the Nationals aren’t the only team thinking that.

“Now, he has to put it together. He has to play and he has to play well and be effective. So that’s the objective going in.”