Lile gets best-case scenario results after scary injury (Nats-Marlins rained out)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Last night was nerve-wracking for the Nationals as the team awaited an update on the injured Daylen Lile, who was carted off the field at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers after flipping over the right-center field wall and taken to a local hospital.

Manager Davey Martinez had a look of relief on his face as he provided the good news this morning that the outfield prospect is going to be OK after being released from the hospital and returning to West Palm Beach.

“He went to the hospital last night, took all the tests and everything,” Martinez said in his office before today’s Grapefruit League game against a Marlins split-squad. “Everything came back negative. He's got a lower back contusion. I mean, he's hurting. But he's gonna be OK, which is great news. We lucked out.”

In the bottom of the seventh of yesterday’s 4-2 loss to the Red Sox, Tyler Miller led off with a long drive off Cole Henry. Playing at “Fenway South” – the Red Sox’s replica field of their iconic ballpark back in Boston – means there’s a 3-foot wall in right-center field in front of the home bullpen.

Going back to try to rob Miller of a home run, Lile flipped over the short wall and landed on his back in the Red Sox ‘pen. The moment immediately turned frightening when Boston relievers called for trainers instead of celebrating the homer.

Paul Lessard, the Nats director of athletic training, Martinez and a member of the Red Sox’s medical staff, jogged out there to attend to Lile before he was put on a stretcher with a neck brace and taken to the hospital for a CAT scan. The 21-year-old had movement on both his arms and legs, and gave a thumbs-up to the crowd as he was carted off the field.

“I watched it last night about 10 times and he really did luck out,” Martinez said. “I mean, the fact that he was able to flip all the way there, I know it's still painful, but it could have been a lot worse. So we're grateful.”

Lile, the Nationals’ No. 11 prospect per Baseball America, is not only highly regarded as a player throughout the organization, but as a person among his teammates and the coaching staff.

The second-round pick in the 2021 Draft out of Trinity High School in Louisville missed all of the 2022 season after Tommy John surgery and was just happy to be back playing baseball in 2023.

“Definitely blessed and I'm glad to be back out here, especially missing the whole season,” Lile said in spring training last year. “I mean, it was devastating. But it helped me work on the right body parts to be able to come back out here and have a healthy season.

“It felt like something was taken away from me that I love. It was so hard.”

Lile bounced back to hit .269/.355/.452 with 27 doubles, 10 triples and nine homers in 106 games between Single-A Fredericksburg and High-A Wilmington.

Yesterday was another yet unfortunate incident in Lile’s young career, which was felt throughout the organization.

“It got really quiet,” Martinez said of the players’ mood on the bus ride back from Fort Myers. “That's the way the kid plays. He plays hard. He's all in. But he's gonna be OK.”

The Nationals aren’t sure when Lile will be able to return to camp. They are just happy he’s going to be able to return at all.

“It's gonna be day-to-day,” Martinez said. “We just want to make sure we get him back healthy. But it's good.”

* Today’s game between the Nats and Marlins has been rained out.

Fans can visit the CACTI Park of the Palm Beaches website for ticket information.

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