Espinosa to be shut down for 4-5 days

The Nationals tried one five-game shutdown period with Danny Espinosa a couple weeks ago in an attempt to allow the second baseman’s fractured right wrist to heal and his offensive performance to improve.

That period of rest didn’t seem to help too much, at least based on the numbers that Espinosa put up after his return to the Nats’ lineup (2-for-17 over five games with no walks and seven strikeouts).

Espinosa was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with the wrist injury, and after getting another MRI on his right wrist and getting checked out by a hand specialist in Baltimore, another four-to-five-day shutdown period has been recommended.

Espinosa has also been playing through a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder all season, and he underwent an MRI on that shoulder, as well. Doctors injected a dye into Espinosa’s shoulder to try and get clarity on the full extent of the damage there.

“It revealed a little injury into his rotator cuff. But that doesn’t bother him too much,” manager Davey Johnson said. “He got a (cortisone) shot in his hand, so he’ll probably be down for about four or five days before he can start doing baseball things. All that was kind of to be expected.”

The Nats don’t plan to take any medical action on Espinosa’s shoulder at this point, and while they had given some indications that Espinosa might need a longer period of rest to let his wrist heal before he got back on a field, the plan now is to let the cortisone take effect and then have Espinosa go on a rehab assignment next week.

“He should be good to go in five days,” Johnson said.

Position players can go on rehab assignments of up to 20 days before the team has to make a decision on whether to active them and bring them back to the 25-man roster or option them down to a minor league affiliate.

Meanwhile, Johnson still wasn’t ready to announce Saturday’s starter yet, saying that information will officially be released tomorrow. Johnson did say, however, that he won’t go with someone currently on the 25-man roster (see: Craig Stammen) as his starter for Saturday against the Twins.

Left-hander Xavier Cedeno was brought up to fill Stephen Strasburg’s spot on the active roster today, and he could stay tomorrow, as well, giving the Nats another option in the bullpen.

Veteran righty Ross Ohlendorf still appears likely to be the guy that will get called up to start Saturday. Ohlendorf was scheduled to start Tuesday for Triple-A Syracuse, but he had that start skipped.

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