Nationals' second baseman Danny Espinosa underwent hand surgery the day before Thanksgiving to remove the hamate bone and is recovering nicely.
"My right hand feels good," reports Espinosa. "I can move my fingers and my wrist. The stitches are still in place, but I do not need pain medication."
Espinosa says the injury occurred while playing winter ball in Puerto Rico, but he doesn't remember the exact moment because the pain was never intolerable.
"I actually don't know when I hurt the hand," says Espinosa. "I felt pain previous to hitting for the cycle, but it was the fourth to last game of season when I started to feel something and that was the final straw.
"When my hamate broke, I felt it during an at-bat. I finished the at-bat, finished the season and it didn't really bother me. It wasn't anything I thought I couldn't play with. My hand did not swell up and I didn't feel excruciating pain."
Espinosa said Derek Norris went through the same surgery but had a complication when he returned to playing because he hurt his wrist in a game and that made recovery a little slower.
"I am not worried about this at all because a lot of guys break their hamate bone and every one of them comes back fine," says Espinosa.
"I know quite a few guys that have had the surgery and it seems to help the guys after they get it removed. The pain is gone and they have no problems ever again."
Espinosa had an outstanding extended season in Puerto Rico, highlighted by his first hit-for-the-cyle game if his career.
"It was a great experience," says Espinosa. "I had a lot of fun. It was a really long season for me but I enjoyed meeting the new guys and playing with all the guys. It was an important experience to have to start my career."
He also was thrilled to see roommate Chris Marrero make the Nationals' 40-man roster alongside Adam Carr and Cole Kimball.
"It was great to see Chris make the 40-man," remembers Espinosa. "I was really excited for him. It was a really cool moment."
Right now, Espinosa is working on other areas as his right hand heals. "I am doing cardio based stuff and leg work, no lifting with my right hand," says Espinosa.
He says physical therapy begins Dec. 8 and then he will be able to lift weights with the hand by the middle of December.
"They said I should be swinging the fifth or sixth week after surgery. I will work on getting hand strength back after the stitches come out.
"They will need to desensitize the scar to make sure it is not too sensitive to everything it touches, especially when you get back to swinging a bat."
Espinosa says he is right on schedule as he would be in any other off season.
"My plan is to start swinging in early January and that's what I would have done anyway."