Espinosa going for MRI on injured left shoulder

ATLANTA - Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa will spend part of his off-day tomorrow going for an MRI on his left shoulder, according to manager Davey Johnson.

Espinosa has apparently been dealing with left shoulder discomfort of some kind for about a week. Johnson, who used a pinch hitter for Espinosa in the ninth inning tonight, said the injury will likely keep Espinosa out of the Nationals’ three-game series against the Dodgers, which begins Tuesday.

“I’m a little worried about Espinosa,” Johnson said. “I pinch hit for him because he doesn’t have any strength. He’s been checking with (Adam) LaRoche about what was wrong with his (shoulder). But my little iron man at second’s under the weather and trying to play through it.”

Johnson added that he’s “very concerned” about Espinosa. The shoulder injury could explain Espinosa’s rough offensive series; he went 0-for-11 with nine strikeouts and grounded into a double play in the three games against the Braves.

“Yeah, he’s hurting,” Johnson said. “I was going to hit for him and he mentioned to one of the coaches, Rick (Eckstein), that he was underwater and he was hurting the team. For him to want to come out ... he’s my little iron man. Hopefully we’ll know more tomorrow, but he’ll probably for sure miss the Dodgers series.”

Espinosa has had an up-and-down season, but he’s appeared in all but two games the Nats have played thus far. He’s batting .250 on the year with 16 home runs and 52 RBIs.

“Anytime one of your everyday guys that’s been a big part of this team offensively and defensively ... hopefully it will just be something little and he’ll get it checked out,” Ryan Zimmerman said. “I’m sure it’s more precautionary than anything. But hopefully it’ll be nothing and he’ll be ready to go, maybe he’ll take a couple days or something, but having the day off tomorrow I’m sure helps.”

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