The Nationals officially put Josh Willingham on the 15-day disabled list this morning with a torn medial meniscus, making a move that will likely lead to season-ending surgery for the left fielder.
Willingham had played through pain in his left knee all season, and an MRI done in April showed an issue with his meniscus, though doctors weren't sure at that time if it was torn.
He aggravated the injury at the end of last month while sliding into second base and finally bowed to the pain earlier this week.
The injury clearly affected Willingham as the season wore on, even as he said the problem was only in the field. He hit 14 homers in the first three months of the season, playing himself into the fringes of the All-Star picture. But Willingham homered just once after July 2, in what would turn out to be his third-to-last at-bat of the season on July 15.
With Willingham out, the Nationals will likely use Roger Bernadina in left field on a regular basis and continue to give Michael Morse playing time, particularly against left-handed pitchers, in right field.