Kieboom suffers bone contusion in left hand, listed as day-to-day

In the bottom of the sixth in tonight's 5-1 Nationals win, third baseman Carter Kieboom was hit by a pitch on his left hand from a 95-mph sinker by Phillies starter Zack Wheeler.

Kieboom went down holding his hand. He then walked over to the top steps of the Nats dugout with assistance from Nats director of athletic training Paul Lessard. Kieboom appeared to be attempting to flex his hand and Lessard checked the bones on the back of his hand. Manager Davey Martinez told his third baseman to take the rest of the night off. He was replaced in the game by pinch-runner Josh Harrison.

Kieboom-C-Swings-Blue-Sidebar.jpgWith the way Kieboom looked, the injury appeared to be serious. Fortunately, Martinez said after the game that Kieboom suffered a bone contusion and x-rays were negative. He is listed as day-to-day.

"Yeah, we saw him go down like that," Martinez said during the postgame Zoom video session with reporters. "It was loud. You don't want to ever assume anything, but he was hurt pretty good. Talked to him after the game and he said he felt OK. He is going to be sore for at least a day or so. We will see how he feels tomorrow."

Wheeler had struck out Kieboom twice before hitting him on a 3-2 count.

Designated hitter Brock Holt had singled in front of Kieboom and was standing on second base when he saw him get hit by the pitch.

"He got hit in the hand," Holt said. "Any time you get hit in the hand it's kind of a scary spot to get hit. A lot of little bones there. You never know what it's going to hit or what it's going to do to the area that it hit. I don't know what exactly happened, but he was pretty positive in the clubhouse, so hopefully everything is good with him. I'm sure he will be sore tomorrow. Hopefully, he will be able to be back out there at some point."

Kieboom did make some quality plays on defense during the game, moving his feet well. He made a wise decision on Alec Bohm's infield grounder with one out in the fourth, eating the ball instead of making a risky throw to first base.

The conservative decision worked out to be a smart play for the Nats. The Phillies followed up the Bohm infield single with a base hit by Didi Gregorius, but then starter Aníbal Sánchez pitched his way out of the threat.

"He definitely made some improvements playing defense," Martinez said. "We saw that. Every day he goes out there he looks a little better. He's getting comfortable. Even his positioning is getting a lot better, which is something that (third base coach) Chip Hale has been working on with him as well. He is getting better out there.

"He's working good at-bats. For me - and I talk to him all about it - is I just want to see him move the baseball, and he's done well with that. He's worked deep counts. I told him, 'Don't worry about hitting home runs. Just get up there and play situational baseball,' and he has done that."

This season, Kieboom has hit .202 with one double and nine RBIs in 33 games. He has struck out 33 times and drawn 17 walks. It has been an up-and-down year for Kieboom at the plate. He slumped in August, hitting just .146. On Aug. 25, Kieboom grounded into a pair of double plays after swinging on the first pitch. The next day he was sent to the alternate training site in Fredericksburg to concentrate on his swing.

"For me, those pitches were two good pitches to hit," manager Davey Martinez said Aug. 26 during his pregame Zoom session with reporters, which occurred before the roster move was announced. "He was just a little tardy on them. We want him to be aggressive in those situations, get a ball we feel like he can drive. And those were two balls I really felt that he should've hit hard. One of them was almost down the middle. We've got to get him going somehow. We'll see what happens here."

Upon Kieboom's return Sept. 5, Martinez said he was pleased with the progress the coaching staff said Kieboom had made in his work at the alternate site. In his first four games back, Kieboom connected on three hits, including his first extra-base hit of the season on Sept. 8 against the Rays. But so far in September, his average has been just .213.

During pregame today, Martinez said he will talk to Kieboom about the possibility of playing winter ball.

"I am going to suggest that he maybe go and get some more at-bats this year, but we will see," Martinez said during today's pregame Zoom video session. "Winter ball is not for everybody. Guys love doing it, (and some) guys would rather take the time off and get on a good regimen, workout program. We will see after I speak to him, and we will go from there."

Coming into Monday's series opener against the Phillies, the Nats have had 13 players placed on the injured list, 10 of them pitchers.

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