Of all the interviews that were conducted at NatsFest yesterday, if I was asked which was the most interesting, I’m pretty sure Danny Espinosa’s 10-minute chat with reporters would take the cake.
We got a lot of updates on throwing programs, a lot of offseason workout updates. But as always, Espinosa was brutally honest in his session with reporters, and provided some interesting information on his 2013 season and what he expects in 2014.
Espinosa says that he’s been told he’ll be able to compete to win his job back and clearly has faith that he’ll be the Nationals starting second baseman this season, which is totally understandable for someone in his spot. But beyond that, Espinosa made a couple of interesting comments yesterday about what he believes to be the Nationals’ role in his disastrous 2013 season.
The second baseman says the Nationals originally misdiagnosed his right wrist injury, suffered April 14 against the Braves, which he says played a large part in his struggles last season. The injury was originally diagnosed as a bone bruise, which caused Espinosa to try and play through the discomfort, which he felt he could do. But the injury was later revealed to be a fracture in the wrist, which better explained the pain that Espinosa was feeling.
“There were times that I couldn’t pick my bat up with one hand,” Espinosa said. “So my wrist was in a bad place. I shouldn’t have been playing on it, but I made a choice to try and play on it.”
So why did he play on it?
“Initially, I was told it was a bone bruise,” Espinosa said. “I said it before, if someone tells you it’s a bone bruise, you’re going to try wait until the swelling and some of the pain goes down and you’re going to try and play again through a bone bruise. No one feels 100 percent. It’s like hitting a ball off your shin. It’s a bone bruise, you’re going to try and play through it. But not finding out until four or five weeks later and then them saying, ‘Oh, it’s never going to be 100 percent until the offseason until you actually give it time.’ Yeah, they gave me 15 days on the DL, tried to do what I could, they took me off the DL after 15 days, and I tried to play through it. I tried to see what I could do. It just didn’t work out (last) year.
“I shouldn’t have” been playing, Espinosa added. “But at the same time, I’m not a doctor reading the film. So, yeah, I shouldn’t have been playing on a broken wrist the whole year. But when you’ve been told you got a bruise, you’re going to play through a bruise. Everyone plays through bumps and bruises. I’m not going to play through a broken wrist. If I would have known it was a broken wrist, I wouldn’t have been playing at all.”
Espinosa says that he’s now probably as strong as he’s ever been in his life. He’s hired a personal trainer and has been working hard this offseason, and says that he’s ready to put 2013 behind him. In his mind, having a healthy right wrist is a major part of that.
“I just wasn’t healthy to play (last year),” Espinosa said. “... I knew I couldn’t do much. I knew my wrist wouldn’t allow me to do much, but I still did everything that I could to prepare to do the best that I could.”
Espinosa isn’t going to try to ignore last season, because he knows how poorly he played. But he is going to look toward the future with optimism, knowing that he’s now completely healthy and ready to compete for a job in spring training.