Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa will have surgery in Baltimore tomorrow to remove the hook of hamate bone in his right hand, becoming the latest Nationals player to have the operation done. Ryan Zimmerman had the surgery on his left hand before the 2008 season, and Ian Desmond missed all of the 2008 season with a stress fracture in his left hamate bone. Catching prospect Derek Norris also broke the hamate bone in his left hand last October.
According to an e-mail from a team spokesman, Espinosa began feeling pain last week while playing winter ball in Puetro Rico. He was hitting .354 with an .894 OPS in 87 at-bats for the Leones de Ponce, playing for former Nationals third base coach (and new Cubs bench coach) Pat Listach. The infielder, who will see Dr. Ken Means at the Curtis National Hand Center, is expected to make a full recovery in six weeks and be ready for the start of spring training. It's a big spring for Espinosa, who is likely to head into Nationals camp as the favorite to start at second base.
Zimmerman got off to a slow start in 2008 after having the surgery, and it gave Norris lingering problems at the start of this season. It remains to be seen if Espinosa, a switch-hitter who hit six homers in a September call-up, will regain his power right away, but he'll have the entire spring to heal.