Wieters departs with apparent knee injury (Nats win 2-1 in 11)

PHOENIX - A Nationals club that already has dealt with long-term injuries to multiple key regulars this season just saw another one go down to a potentially serious injury.

Matt Wieters appeared to injure his left knee after taking a wide turn around first base on his second-inning single tonight at Chase Field, leaving a Nats organization woefully thin on catching depth in a possible jam.

With one out in the top of the second, Wieters singled through a hole on the left side of the infield made possible by the Diamondbacks' infield shift. Given the unusual defensive alignment, Wieters decided to take a wide turn at first base and perhaps consider trying to stretch the hit into a double, but his left leg buckled and he came to an abrupt stop before limping back to the bag.

Matt-Wieters-catchers-gear-sidebar.jpgWieters immediately called for a trainer from the dugout, and after a short conversation walked off the field, under his own power but with a significant limp, as Pedro Severino emerged to pinch-run for him.

The Nationals, sticking with their typical policy, did not provide an immediate reason for Wieters' departure.

If Wieters, hitting .231 overall but .300 over his last seven games, needs to go on the disabled list, the Nats will be confident enough in Severino to turn over No. 1 catching duties to the 24-year-old. Their depth beyond Severino, though, is awfully thin.

Veteran Miguel Montero (who happens to live in the Phoenix area) opened the season as Wieters' backup but was designated for assignment and released after going 0-for-11. Prospect Raudy Read continues to serve a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a performance enhancing drug. Veteran Jhonatan Solano is on the 60-day DL with bone chips in his right elbow.

Neither catcher currently playing for Triple-A Syracuse is on the organization's 40-man roster. Spencer Kieboom, 27, is batting .213 with a .308 on-base percentage in 24 games. Tuffy Gosewisch, 34, who was signed to a minor league contract last month, is hitting .242 with a .333 on-base percentage in 13 games and owns a .190 batting average in 137 career big league games with the Diamondbacks and Mariners.

Update: Playing with a depleted lineup, the Nationals have been shut out through six innings by Zack Greinke. The Arizona right-hander allowed a single to Bryce Harper to begin the game, then Wieters' single in the top of the second. Since then, he has retired 14 in a row. And he drove in the evening's only run as well, lacing a two-out RBI single to left in the bottom of the fifth. Adding insult to injury, Greinke then stole second off Tanner Roark, who has otherwise pitched very well so far. Nonetheless, the Nationals trail 1-0 in the sixth.

Update II: The Nats tied the game in the top of the eighth, in most unusual fashion. After Michael A. Taylor led off with a double, Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo made the decision to pull Greinke (whose pitch count was 91) and bring in Archie Bradley. Wilmer Difo got a nice bunt down to advance Taylor to third, at which point Bradley had a major brain cramp. He went to try to pick off Taylor, but with nobody actually covering third, he paused before throwing to Daniel Descalso, and thus was called for a balk. That made it a 1-1 game, where it still stands heading to the bottom of the eighth.

Update III: Who's ready for some extra innings? Both teams had chances to plate the go-ahead run in the eighth and ninth but couldn't get the job done. Ryan Madson did a very nice job recording the final out of the eighth and then pitching the ninth in his best performance in a while. So we go to the 10th in a 1-1 game.

Update IV: Brandon Kintzler got himself into a two-out jam in the bottom of the 10th, walking David Peralta and then giving up a double to Descalso (I know, I know). That left him to face Paul Goldschmidt with the game on the line. And Kintzler came through, getting Goldschmidt (who admittedly hasn't been his usual self so far this season) to ground to third. We go to the 11th ...

Update V: Matt Adams, ladies and gentlemen. Where would this team be without him? The big guys delivered yet again, lashing an opposite-field RBI single off left-hander Andrew Chafin to score Trea Turner in the top of the 11th and give the Nationals a 2-1 lead. Adams continues to come through when the Nats need him, and thanks to Sean Doolittle's scoreless bottom of the 11th - after he rode in on the bullpen cart! - Washington emerged from a long night with an extra-inning victory over a first-place opponent. Now we wait for the update on Wieters' knee.

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