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The swelling in Bryce Harper's left knee isn't getting any better, so the Washington outfielder will see a specialist next week and won't be coming off the disabled list when he is eligible.
As the Nationals arrived at Tuesday as a 28-29 baseball team, their clubhouse was a flurry of action before they opened a three-game series against the New York Mets. The Nationals made made sweeping changes to their bullpen, welcomed back a team leader, added a top prospect and placed one of their most embattled players on the disabled list.
More than two months into the season, the Nationals finally placed Danny Espinosa on the disabled list Tuesday. It was one of a flurry of moves the team needed to make, mostly with its pitching staff, as it attempts to regain some of its luster that's been lost in a 28-29 start.
This time last year, the Nationals were 34-23, hardly having looked back after a 14-4 start to the season and on their way to a major league-best 98 wins. This year, despite the predictions and the expectations, the Nationals have not performed up to the standard they set in 2012.
Yocum, who died over the weekend at age 65, saved the careers of countless professional athletes — including many pitchers who underwent Tommy John surgery and rehab under his care.
Sunday afternoon, Espinosa was 0-for-4. It was his sixth hitless game in the last seven, a stretch that has now featured only one hit in his last 28 at-bats with 13 strikeouts and no walks.
The Nationals' slow offensive start has been concerning to some, worrisome to others and downright nerve-fraying to certain factions of the fanbase. For plenty, it's been maddening to watch them strike out, swinging or looking, so often. To see them come up small in large situations. To hit the ball on the screws, and right at a waiting fielder.
Tyler Moore hit a three-run homer and Danny Espinosa homered and drove in three runs, leading the Washington Nationals over the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-2 Sunday.
The impetus behind a lineup switch, manager Davey Johnson said, came back to the idea that the Nationals are still searching for a lineup that works and has someone who can get on base in front of Bryce Harper in the No. 3 spot. Steve Lombardozzi may be the guy who can do that
"I met a guy today who had been through 49 surgeries," said Chad Tracy. "I've been through four of five myself, just to imagine a guy going through almost 50 surgeries, to see he was still a driven, confident, leader of a man really touched me."
Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa has a very vivid memory from his major-league debut. It was Sept. 1, 2010 and the Nats were playing in Florida against the Marlins. Espinosa drove in a run with a double. That isn't the memory.
Over the course of the three-game sweep, the Nationals were outscored 18-5. In the series' final 26 innings, they mustered a single, solitary run.
At least Washington came out of Friday's disappointment in good physical health. Not so Saturday, as catcher Wilson Ramos injured his left hamstring trying to beat out a ground ball in the eighth.
When it comes to early series, during that period in the baseball season when it's far too soon to read much into results though still fun to try, the Washington Nationals' clash with the Cincinnati Reds was billed as one of the best. What came out in the Nationals' 6-3 loss, though, was one of the worst starts of Stephen Strasburg's career.
On a team with a lineup that requires few pinch hitters and even fewer defensive replacements, the Nationals' bench players, Chad Tracy, Steve Lombardozzi, Tyler Moore and Roger Bernadina, are faced with a difficult transition.
Espinosa said in February he wanted to avoid surgery when the injury was discovered because doing so would have cost him the first month of this season.
"It's tough to hear of his passing," Espinosa said. "I know how much he's helped the baseball community with what he's done for so many pitchers and so many players. You never want to hear the passing of anybody. It's not easy to take. The last thing I knew of him was that he helped me out. He got me right. He got me to his best physical therapist and in a position where he could get me going again. It's sad and a big loss for the baseball world."