Nationals Baseball: Injury Update!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Injury Update!

With Shawn Kelley going down yesterday officially but a week ago unofficially it seemed like a good time to go over who currently in the Nats MASH unit and what is there status. 

Adam Eaton - bone bruise
What you wanted to see - Adam Eaton was put on the 10 day DL so the hope was he'd be out for 10 days and then be back. That was Friday. It did not happen.
What you saw - Eaton has been gradually upping his activity. He's taken BP. He's played catch. He maybe has run?  There was talk about him being available to PH but he hasn't been activated yet. Nationals maintain he won't be back until they can be sure the ankle won't bother him again.
What adjustment - When you miss enough time it starts to be a question on whether you can jump right back into the majors or need a couple minor league games to get your rhythym back. I'm not sure what the time frame for that would be but obviously the more time he misses the more than becomes a possibility. Still I don't think we're there yet. I tend to adjust in series and stands chunks for things like this so I'll kick him down the road until the Nats are back home
What you want to see now - Eaton in the OF on the 27th to face the Diamondbacks

Anthony Rendon - fouled a ball off his big toe
What you wanted to see - There was no structural damage to the toe, and Rendon said he was going to be right back so you wanted to see him in the lineup within a couple days
What you saw - Instead he lingered on the bench, unavailable for action while the Nats played short-handed for 8 days. Finally the Nats put him on the 10-DL a couple days ago. It's backdated the max allowed meaning he won't have to sit out 10 more days but 7 more is given.
What adjustment - I'm completely flummoxed by this one. A week of rest wasn't enough to heal his toe.  Will another week due the trick? Presumably so, but you would have said that for the first week. At this point we have to accept what we're told but I don't like it 
What you want to see now - Talk later this week about how Rendon is ready. Rendon in the line-up as soon as he can be (Mon vs Pirates?)

Daniel Murphy - recovering from knee surgery
What you wanted to see - Murphy progressing to the point where he'd be ready for some minor league action soon after those games started (April 6th) which would put him back in the majors right around now.
What you saw - Lost in the shuffle of the new season and the slow start was a slower recovery than hoped for Murphy to the point he could do nothing really in Spring Training to prepare for real game action. Instead, he progressed to extended Spring Training* around the 16th, where he's currently playing what barely qualifies as Spring Training ball taking a few "real" at bats a day and fielding a couple dozen ground balls.
What adjustment - He's gotta be ready here and then go on a minor league assignment. If he were ready by the end of this week then maybe he's back before the mid-point in May but that's the earliest you can put him. I've since re calibrated and put his return date at Memorial Day.
What you want to see now - Continued progression - more at bats and groundballs taken, confirmation of playing fully in a live game. Then a minor league assignment sooner rather than later. Before the end of the month would be ideal, but don't count on it since we haven't heard much right now. I'm hoping for one before the week of May 13th.

Those are the big ones.  Now the rest :

Shawn Kelley -nerve issues
What you saw - After basically sitting out a week to rest, Kelley came in, gave up a homer then couldn't get any extension on his arm and out of the game he went. Afterwords we heard it was ulnar nerve pain
What adjustment -It's almost certain he'll spend time on the DL. Given the choices are 10 and 60, expect 60.  They aren't going to rush him back because hurt Kelley is bad Kelley and does no one any good.
What you want to see now - A clean MRI and Kelley to sit out for a while.

Brian Goodwin  - wrist bruise
What you saw - Goodwin hurt his wrist diving. Gave it a couple days but then went on the DL. Talk was they needed the spot with Rendon out and Goodwin could have been back sooner than that.  However yesterday Martinez told everyone Goodwin was still sore after taking some cuts back in Florida.
What adjustment - Technically none. He wouldn't be ready until Friday anyway, but given how they talked about it you'd have expected him to be 100% by now.
What you want to see now - You want to see him back at the same time Eaton will be - the 27th versus the Dbacks, but keep a close eye on this. This isn't as fuzzy an injury as Eaton's or Rendon's which could explain some missed deadlines. They had a good handle on this and something went wrong. If they don't say he'll be with the team as they leave SF be concerned.

Koda Glover  - shoulder pain
What you saw - You wanted to see him on a mound before Spring was over. You didn't. He still hasn't gotten on the mound as far as we know and was working on long tosses last we heard. 
What adjustment - Given we know nothing it's hard to put a timeline on him other than "weeks" At this point June looks very unlikely so let's just go ahead and say the All-Star Break and consider that optimistic until we hear some news that sounds like progression.
What you want to see now - Any update would be nice. Glover throwing off a mound would indicate he might be a couple weeks away from a minor league assignment. So hopefully we see that sometime before May is over. If not then the ASB becomes iffy.

Joaquin Benoit - forearm strain
What you saw - In early Spring while getting into playing shape Benoit hurt his arm. That meant he wouldn't have the time needed to join the team to start year and he'd stay in extended Spring Training, but as of a couple weeks ago he wasn't throwing 
What adjustment - You ever see Major League? Remember when the owner tells them to cross the dead guy off the list of potential players. I'm not saying do that but sharpen your pencil.He's months away I'd imagine if he's not throwing now and had limited Spring action to start. I'll just throw ASB out there too but it's pretty meaningless
What you want to see now - Anything that suggest Benoit will be able to pitch this year. So he needs to start throwing before the end of May.

Matt Grace - groin strain
What you saw - Grace hurt himself on Saturday and went on the 10-day DL. Nats say this has been bothering him for a while.
What adjustment - He just went out. No adjustment needed.
What you want to see now - Nats to say by end of the week that he's on track to be back whenever he's supposed to be back.

So in short new "expected back" timeline for the hopeful

April 27th : Eaton, Goodwin
April 30th : Rendon
May 1st : Grace
May 28th : Murphy
July 19th : Glover, Benoit? 

*What is extended Spring Training? More time in Florida (or AZ I guess) doing drills for anyone not assigned to minor league camp. This is a motley mix of injury recovery guys - both major league and minor league, late signed FAs, and young players hoping to fill out whatever holes exist in short-season A-ball rosters after the draft. The quality and effort aren't ST quality but it's something. 


Huzzah! said...

Good post, I was checking RotoWorld this morning and got way less info.

In other news in the ESPN article today about “clubhouse DJs” around the mlb, the author mentioned that Strasburg outfitted the Nats locker room with its stereo! Strasburg?! Really?! I never imagined him as a big music guy. Thought of him as more of a silence guy, at most ambient sound playlists.

Steven said...

I thought given the last two years of arms troubles, Nats should have parted ways with Kelley. Unreliable injury guy that can and has hurt the team - Sunday being just the latest example. That's all on management style and not parting ways with players they owe money, I think.

Jonathan Edge said...

Hey Harper - Awesome write-up and thanks for the updates. Can you do the same analysis for Robles? Him being hurt right now when he most certainly would be getting daily play in the Majors is a real dent on his development that no one seems to be talking about...

blovy8 said...

How about the Yankees taking on Cole? That might be good for mlb tv ratings because as a mop-up guy he can make those 8-1 games into 8-5 really quick!

Anonymous said...

Goodwin hurt his wrist diving for a ball. Robles hurt his shoulder (or wrist, can't recall) diving for a ball.

Eaton originally hurt his ankle on a bang bang play to first last season. Eaton aggravated the ankle on a slide this season.

Harper hurt himself on a bang bang play to first last season. He wasn't out long but he wasn't at 100% in the post season.

The Nats didn't benefit from Goodwin and Roble's dives. The players saved a hit but than lost the player for multiple games. Given Eaton's vulnerable ankle at the time, the idea of him sliding seems ridiculously risky.

Radical suggestion, thinking out loud, would teams be better off if the players toned down the hustle. You give up short term benefit, preventing a hit (if on defense) or out (if on offense), but you preserve player health.

Fries said...


There's no real way of knowing that threshold, though. Much of the "hustle" in baseball is bang-bang, split-decision type stuff. Vast majority of the time, diving for a ball won't risk injury since your taught how to dive properly in little league. Vast majority of the time, lunging for a base won't result in injury because you have professional athletes who are conditioned for that. Vast majority of the time, a "hustle" play is just going to make you tired.

Teaching players to not go all out will hurt the team on the whole far more than it would help them. Especially since so much of it is instinctual

Chuck Hustle said...


A lot of what people love about MLB are hustle plays. There's a lot of standing around and then, bang - hustle. Bang bang - hustle plus. Take away the hustle and it's not much more than a corporate softball league with a few guys that can mash the ball. I don't want that.

Ole PBN said...

Sammy Sosa once went on the DL for sneezing. Sprained a ligament in his lower back. Approximately two violent sneezes, to be exact, which brought on back spasms.

Some things are just unpredictable and to play the game your body encased in bubble wrap won't help anyone.

Also, doesn't all this injury stuff just make you think Cal's record is all the more impressive?

Harper said...

Huzzah - A person's music taste can vary greatly. You might think as a soulless automaton I like electronic music but I listen almost exclusively to dogs barking the hits.

Steven - well I think the team thinks he has talent to help if healthy andyes, given the $, wanted one more year of trying but at this point there isn't any harm in 60 day DLing him so it's kind of moot now.

Jedge - I can dig into it - but last I remember it was kind of a "not good - but could have been terrible" situation where Robles is still going to be out a couple months.

blovy8 - I know he's just going to be thrown out there to suck up innings until he's DFAd again or a miracle happens but there has to be a better option out there

Anon @ 8:53 - I don't know if you can and I think the combined effect of a team toning down hustle would be negative. You might save a couple injuries but you are probably giving up one of your own hits in a game, not taking multiple extra bases, allowing a couple extra hits for the other side. It's a strategy for a team who can safely win 90% of the games they would going all out and I don't think the Nats have that cushion this year.

I think the crux would be you don't know who is going to get injured (Eaton, Robles - Bad! Goodwin - Eh!) and you are going to have some injuries during normal play as well. So I'd imagine if every team tried this and you compared it to some alternate "normal play" dimension, like 5 teams would be helped a lot 20 teams would see almost no change and 5 teams would actually lose a bunch more. Where would the Nats fall? I don't know. Not enough here to take that risk.

(And I haven't even gotten into Hustle's talk which represents the media firestorm that would surround a not hustling team. They'd better win in that case)

sirc said...

I would like to see the Nats promote Yadiel Hernandez. I'm not sure why others are ahead of him in line. Maybe he's a poor fielder, I don't know, but they had Matt Adams in left last night.

Bjd1207 said...

It's frickin 2015 again

Jay said...

Don't the Lerners get most of the blame here? They fired Dusty Baker to bring in a guy that has never managed. They treated the NL East division title like it was a forgone conclusion and didn't improve the team in any appreciable way. The "window" may well have closed a year early bc of it.

Anonymous said...

Mike here--problems with my Google account, so posting "anonymously." I agree with Jay. Last year a very good Astros team became positively overwhelming by adding a Cy Young quality starter in Verlander. It helped them for the post-season and this year as well. A huge acquisition, and then they went right back out and got ANOTHER excellent starter in Cole. I felt the Nats needed to do something like that--I wanted them to really load up for a big push this year, instead of assuming they had it made already. I would have gone after Arrieta and kept Albers and also done something at catcher. Standing pat assumes that the other teams will not progress and that no one on the Nats will regress. But we've seen a worse case scenario with the Mets, Braves, and Phillies improving a lot, Taylor regressing, Eaton and Murphy not being ready, Zimmerman throwing away almost three weeks by not being ready for game conditions with his silly spring training, the BP being thinner than thought (esp. without a relatively cheap Albers not coming back), and the black hole at catcher continuing to hurt. Trea Turner is not turning out to be a superstar (he may still be, but he isn't close yet, so the idea that the team improves just from having him be a year older, has not panned out). Rendon's injury hurts, too. Robles isn't available to add a spark. The team is looking fragile and undisciplined at times. Dusty probably would have won two more games than Martinez at this point, maybe three. And fifth starter? Still a work in progress; but if they had added a legit #3 starter instead of patching at #5, then it's a great rotation, instead of a good one with a big hole.

The Lerners hate adding payroll during the season, but to right the ship and progress in post-season, they probably have to make a big acquisition of some sort--a Cespedes or a Verlander--at the trade deadline. Right now, this feels worse than 2015, because we have three teams to deal with. I doubt all three will be there in September, but I bet two of them are.

And having a rookie manager having to deal with all this is not optimal.

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