Dizziness lands Drew on disabled list; Difo recalled

CLEVELAND - The illness that made Stephen Drew unavailable to the Nationals for six days last week has now landed him on the disabled list.

Drew was placed on the 15-day DL this morning after a recurrence of the dizziness that plagued him last week while he was out with what the club initially called “flu-like symptoms.” The veteran infielder no longer has those traditional symptoms, but he continues to feel dizzy, so the club is now referring to his ailment as “vertigo-like symptoms.”

Drew will be sent home to Washington for further examination.

“Whenever you feel woozy and dizzy and don’t get any better, that’s a pretty good indication that something’s wrong,” manager Dusty Baker said. “At first we thought it was the same bug that everybody else had, but that was like a two-day bug. This has been like a week now. So we decided we couldn’t play (down a healthy player) any more for the team, and also try to find out what’s wrong with him so he can get back. Because he’s a big part of our team.”

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Infielder Wilmer Difo was recalled from Double-A Harrisburg to take Drew’s roster spot, arriving at Progressive Field about 90 minutes before first pitch of today’s matinee series finale.

Drew was unavailable for four games last week while feeling ill with what club officials believed was the same ailment that kept teammate Anthony Rendon sidelined for two days. He did return to take one big at-bat Saturday night, connecting for the RBI triple that gave the Nationals a walk-off win over the Padres, but he has been unavailable since then.

“He said in (batting practice) it was tough because he had to really, really concentrate - like, five times more than usual - to focus and hit,” Baker said. “We’re all subject to playing hero, since we were kids, most of the guys in that room in there. But it gets to a point where a hero is not being very smart. Because if a ball had come at his head, there’s no way he could have gotten out of the way.”

The Nationals don’t know yet what exactly is causing Drew’s condition, but it’s worth noting he was diagnosed with a “vestibular concussion” last fall that caused dizziness and loss of equilibrium and prevented him from making the Yankees’ postseason roster.

Drew was struck in the face by a hard groundball last September, which doctors eventually determined caused a concussion. He also suffered a concussion in 2013 after getting hit by a pitch in the head.

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