SAN DIEGO – The Nationals lost another bat from the middle of their lineup today when outfielder Yadiel Hernandez was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left calf strain, leaving them scrambling to put together a batting order from a roster that has been ravaged by physical ailments and trades.
Hernandez had to come out of Thursday night’s series opener against the Padres when his lower left leg cramped up. He sat out Friday’s game, then underwent an MRI to determine the extent of the injury. When that test came back showing a calf strain, the Nationals placed him on the IL (retroactive to Friday).
“It’s a strain, so he’s going to work really hard to get back as soon as possible,” manager Davey Martinez said. “There’s no saying how long it’s going to take. He’s kind of frustrated, but I told him you’ve just got to work hard to get back. There’s nothing you do. He’s been playing well, has helped us in the middle of the lineup. Hopefully we get him back soon.”
Hernandez is hitting .269 with 16 doubles, nine homers and 41 RBIs in 94 games this season, starting in left field most nights against right-handed pitchers. He batted third in Thursday’s game, evidence of the current state of the Nationals’ depleted lineup.
Hernandez’s injury comes at the same time Luke Voit has been unable to play due to back spasms. The veteran first baseman sat out Friday’s game, and though he was initially in tonight’s lineup, he was scratched again about two hours before first pitch with the issue still lingering.
“Yesterday he had them really bad,” Martinez said. “Today he said it was a lot better, but he was still getting them. I’d rather have him available to pinch-hit than him go out there and all of a sudden after one or two innings have it tighten and we have to take him out.”
All of this leaves Martinez fielding a lineup tonight that includes 27-year-old rookie Alex Call leading off, slumping second baseman César Hernández batting second and 30-year-old rookie Joey Meneses batting third.
The Nationals recalled outfielder Josh Palacios from Triple-A Rochester to take Yadiel Hernandez’s roster spot. The 27-year-old had debuted in Washington just after the trade deadline, appearing in eight games before he was demoted back to Triple-A. He was still making his way from Worcester, Mass., to San Diego this afternoon, but the club expected him to arrive at Petco Park shortly before first pitch.
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