Davey Johnson joked today that the Nationals’ roster is starting to resemble a M*A*S*H unit.
It’s not far off.
Reporters met with Nationals medical director Dr. Wiemi Douoguih and head trainer Lee Kuntz for about eight minutes earlier this afternoon, getting briefed on the latest medical details involving Bryce Harper, Danny Espinosa, Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos.
You already know what’s going on with Harper, so here’s the rest.
Today will mark the fourth straight game that Espinosa has missed with a broken right hand. He’s been on anti-inflammatories the last five days to try and get the inflammation down in his hand, and said he felt better today when taking some swings in the cage under the watchful eye of medical personnel.
“Warming up, I wasn’t feeling the stiffness or the clicking in my wrist, and as I kept going, I started being more aggressive with my swings. I wasn’t thinking about it,” Espinosa said. “I was able to go kind of loosely, naturally. ... We’re going to try to aim for Wednesday or Thursday, see if the swelling comes back tomorrow and see if there’s pain tomorrow and see if there’s pain Wednesday.”
Dr. Douoguih reiterated that surgery is not an option in Espinosa’s case. If the wrist flares up again, Espinosa will need to sit for a more extended period to rest the wrist and let the bone knit.
“How much rest really depends on his body and how his body responds to the different stresses we put him through,” Dr. Douoguih said. “If he’s able to go, he’s able to go. It’s something that might be sore for while, but we’re hoping it clears up and just doesn’t bother him after a couple of days.”
Dr. Douoguih said that the initial X-ray on Espinosa’s wrist, which was taken after Espinosa was hit by a pitch by the Braves’ Paul Maholm on April 14, did show something unusual, but it was away from where Espinosa was sore. When Espinosa started feeling pain in a new location around where a bone chip was, Dr. Douoguih said, that’s when the Nats started becoming more concerned.
Now on to the two hamstring issues the Nats have been dealing with lately - Werth’s right hamstring and Ramos’ left hammy.
Werth has been out since May 3 because of a lingering hamstring issue that continues to pop up when the Nats right fielder feels he’s getting close to returning. Werth has run sprints the last two days and is progressing, but the Nats are moving him along slowly.
“He is getting better, and we anticipate that he’ll be on track for coming back sometime next week, but again, we can’t tell,” Dr. Douoguih said. “We’ll have to take it one day at a time. Yesterday, he looked good. We’re going to go to the next phase and then hopefully get him out to some rehab starts in the next few days.
“He’s been running sprints. He’s been working on strengthening it, hasn’t really had any pain. Was having some pain in other sites away from where the actual hamstring was and I think that was just from the training and the other exercise he was doing. But he looked good yesterday and we’ll just have to take it one day at a time.”
The Nats are also being very cautious with Ramos’ hamstring, especially because he reinjured it after returning from a DL stint in April. Ramos played in seven games after coming off the DL before aggravating the hamstring May 15 against the Dodgers.
“The hamstring, we put a timeline on it, but each person’s different and you can have a terrible hamstring on an MRI and you can recover more quickly, and you can have a minor hamstring on an MRI and it takes longer,” Dr. Douoguih said. “So we don’t really know. We do know that both of those guys, Wilson and Jayson, are progressing according to our schedules and we hope that they’ll be back as soon as possible.
“When (Ramos) came back, he was pain-free and had gone through a standard regimen of hamstring rehabilitation and met all his milestones and we felt he was ready. And when there’s a setback like that, we tend to be more conservative and give it more time.”
Meanwhile, manager Davey Johnson was still not ready to announce his starter for tomorrow’s game just yet. Ross Detwiler was scheduled to pitch tomorrow, but he was officially placed on the DL today with a back strain, so the Nats will need to look at alternate options.
Johnson said the Nats are considering guys that aren’t currently on their 25-man roster. Right-hander Chris Young was pulled from his start yesterday after just one inning yesterday at Triple-A Syracuse. He allowed three runs on three hits with two walks, and would seem to be a candidate to get the ball tomorrow.
The Nats could also choose to go with either Zach Duke or Craig Stammen, both of whom are in their bullpen.