Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki left in the sixth inning of Game 3 of the World Series with a right hip flexor injury, and it’s uncertain how much time — if any — it will cause him to miss.
Suzuki felt something pull when he attempted to block a Fernando Rodney pitch in the dirt. Manager Dave Martinez and head athletic trainer Paul Lessard came out to check on Suzuki, but after a short visit, he remained in the game for the rest of the half-inning.
But when Suzuki was due up to bat in the bottom of the sixth, Gerardo Parra pinch-hit in his place, and Yan Gomes entered the game at catcher in the seventh.
The severity of the injury is still unknown, and Martinez said he didn’t know if Suzuki would require an MRI.
“I just felt a little thing in my hip on that block. Felt like I would be doing a disservice to the team if I was still playing,” Suzuki said. “One of those things where you try to fight through it, but I couldn’t have and I wouldn’t have been helping the team.”
Because the Nationals will start Patrick Corbin for Game 4 Saturday, it’s presumed his usual catcher, Gomes, would have gotten the start behind the plate either way. But with the Nationals losing Game 3, 4-1, the Houston Astros grabbed their first win of the series and guaranteed the need for at least a Game 5. Washington could start Max Scherzer or Stephen Strasburg in Game 5, and Suzuki usually catches both of those aces.
Suzuki told reporters this is no time to play it conservatively.
“It’s not like you can wait until the next series, you know?” he said. “You’ve got to come back as soon as you can.”
In Game 2, the 36-year-old from Hawaii belted a home run that gave Washington a 3-2 lead over Houston. It was the opening score that spurred on a six-run inning for the Nationals on their way to a runaway win.
Suzuki missed much of September with an elbow injury but returned just before the postseason began. Then he left Game 5 of the National League Division Series after a pitch hit him in the wrist and ricocheted up into his face and missed the opener of the NLCS.
His resilience could help him get back on the field on a quick turnaround, though that will be determined in part by the extent of this current injury. Suzuki’s teammates expressed confidence in his ability to bounce back.
“I have no clue what’s going on with him, but if anyone will be ready, it’ll be Kurt,” Ryan Zimmerman said. “He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever seen.”
Gomes went a step further.
“Hey man, that dude’s Hawaiian,” he said. “Hawaiians have a crazy thing about them and I love him for that. He definitely brings out the spirit in everyone in here. I know he’ll fight back and whenever he’s ready he’ll be ready to play.”