Let's give some credit to Carlos Maldonado. He is one tenacious guy.
Carlos, 31 this year, is a native Venezuelan who began his pro career in 1995 in the Seattle organization when he was 17. Since then he's made multiple stops around the country with six organizations before signing with the Nats on March 20. He's spent a total of 21 games in the big leagues with the Pirates, batting .163 in 43 at-bats. He has 7 hits, of which 2 are home runs. He's a .257 career hitter in the minor leagues. He's even pitched a couple of times in the minors.
This year at Syracuse he was hitting .218 in 26 games with one home run and 9 RBI.
It's his defense that has allowed him to continue his career. He's a .990 career defender behind the plate, and at 6'1", 250 pounds, he gives the pitchers a huge target and baserunners a huge roadblock at the plate.
Maldonado became the Nationals' best in-house option for a backup catcher when Ivan Rodriguez went on the 15-day DL. Wil Nieves will carry the load while Pudge is out, and Carlos will likely start 2-3 games during that stretch.
The loss of Pudge comes at a bad time for the Nationals, when they're starting a western road trip and have a lack of experienced receivers in the system.
I-Rod has been a pleasant surprise for Washington with the bat and has done a solid job behind the plate. The early plan of him playing only 75-85 games this year went by the board when it became apparent that Jesus Flores was a long way from being ready to play. Pudge was on track to catch 130-140 games before the back injury.