WASHINGTON -- Nationals shortstop Trea Turner has a non-displaced fracture in his right index finger, the result of a hit-by-pitch during a bunt attempt in the first inning of Tuesday’s 8-2 loss to the Phillies. The injury put a damper on what was already a tough night for Washington, which
WASHINGTON -- Nationals shortstop Trea Turner has a non-displaced fracture in his right index finger, the result of a hit-by-pitch during a bunt attempt in the first inning of Tuesday’s 8-2 loss to the Phillies. The injury put a damper on what was already a tough night for Washington, which dropped the first meeting of its reunion with Bryce Harper and is now prepared to play without its starting shortstop for an extended period of time.
“It’s never fun,” Turner said. “Doesn’t matter if it’s the first game or the last game of the year -- injuries aren’t fun. Takes you out of the lineup, takes you out of the game and you just want to be out there competing. Not fun, but it is what it is.”
Neither Turner nor manager Dave Martinez offered any specific timetable for Turner’s return. Turner was placed on the 10-day injured list prior to Wednesday's game against the Phillies. Infielder Adrian Sanchez was recalled from Triple-A Fresno.
Turner, who appeared in all 162 games last season, is one of the anchors of the Nationals' lineup at the top, a five-tool player and one of the few Nats players who was off to a hot start at the plate. He started the season 5-for-14 (.357) with three extra-base hits and four stolen bases. Among his two home runs on Sunday afternoon was a walk-off drive in the ninth inning to catapult Washington to a 6-5 victory over the Mets. Turner’s absence creates a bit of a hole in the Nationals' lineup that is not easily replaced.
Wilmer Difo will get a chance to fill in as the starting shortstop for now, Martinez said following the game, and the Nats were hopeful they'll be able to get a player to D.C. in time for Wednesday's 1:05 p.m. ET series finale at Nationals Park. Difo has been an elite defender in the infield, especially at shortstop, but he also owns a career 75 OPS+. Washington seems likely to promote an extra infielder to provide depth off the bench, perhaps Adrian Sanchez, but not Carter Kieboom, the club’s No. 2 prospect and No. 25 overall, according to MLB Pipeline.
“Any time you lose your starting shortstop for an extended period of time, especially a player as talented as Trea, it's just tough to swallow,” first baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. “But the season doesn't stop for anybody, so we've just got to keep going. Difo's capable of playing great shortstop -- he did it when Trea broke his wrist [in 2017]. We've got some guys capable to fill in, but you can't really replace a guy like Trea.”
Turner squared to bunt for a hit off Phillies starter Zach Eflin, but his finger wrapped around too much of the bat, and when the ball ran inside, he didn't have enough time to pull back his finger. Turner remained on the ground for several moments following the injury, unable to move his finger as Martinez and head athletic trainer Paul Lessard emerged from the dugout to check on him. Because Turner had squared to bunt, the ball was ruled foul, leaving Difo to enter the game and finish the at-bat with an 0-2 count. Turner was charged with Difo's strikeout.
“I couldn’t move it,” Turner said. “I've never had anything dislocated, so I figured that’s what it was. I think it might have been a combination of that. Also, with a break, I’m not really sure, but I couldn’t move it, so I knew something wasn’t good.”
• The Nationals also lost first baseman Matt Adams, who was removed for Zimmerman in the fourth inning due to back spasms. Adams flipped over the first-base railing while attempting to catch a first-inning foul pop hit by Rhys Hoskins. Martinez said Adams is day to day and would be re-evaluated on Wednesday.
Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.