WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Michael A. Taylor plans to take batting practice today, play catch from long-toss range and run on the synthetic agility field that sits outside the Nationals’ spring training complex. He’ll be doing this exactly one week after he sprained both his left knee and hip making a diving catch, an injury and diagnosis that prompted manager Davey Martinez to declare that Taylor was likely to “miss a significant amount of time.”
All of this seems to be catching everyone around here by surprise. Everyone except for Taylor.
“I’m really not surprised with where I’m at right now,” the center fielder said this afternoon.
Taylor can say that because of the dramatic progress he made in the first few days after sustaining the injury. That afternoon in Fort Myers and the following morning in West Palm Beach, he was noticeably limping around the clubhouse. And when the MRI came back showing the sprained knee and hip, Martinez conveyed the club’s medical opinion that suggested Taylor would need significant time to recover.
Taylor, though, noticed significant improvement right away, and that boosted his spirits.
“The very next day, I felt better,” he said. “Obviously not 100 percent, but I was happy with how I felt. They told me I could wake up the next day and my knee be like a balloon. But I woke up, there was very little inflammation ... and I felt like I was walking better and everything.”
Taylor has been progressing ever since, adding more substantive workouts each day as his leg allows it. He began by playing catch and taking one-handed swings off a tee. Over the last two days he took things up a notch, hitting soft tosses from the cage, throwing from a longer distance and running on the Nationals’ underwater treadmill.
But he knows he still has several more hurdles to cross before he knows he’s good to go.
“I feel good right now,” he said. “I haven’t run bases or anything where I change directions. Everything’s been a straight line. But I’m happy with where I’m at, and I feel good.”