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Nationals lose Taylor to oblique strain

Playing through injury for weeks, center fielder aggravates it on swing; Heisey coming up
MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals' outfield sustained another injury blow in Thursday's 5-2 loss to the Braves, when center fielder Michael Taylor suffered a mild right oblique strain that forced him to leave the game in the fourth inning. Taylor's injury will require a stint on the disabled list, and Washington plans to recall Chris Heisey to take his place.

Taylor missed a few games at the end of June with an injury the Nationals never revealed, saying instead that he was banged up. But Taylor said after Thursday's game that he had been managing this oblique strain for a few weeks and aggravated it during his last at-bat in the third inning, when he grounded out to third base.

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WASHINGTON -- The Nationals' outfield sustained another injury blow in Thursday's 5-2 loss to the Braves, when center fielder Michael Taylor suffered a mild right oblique strain that forced him to leave the game in the fourth inning. Taylor's injury will require a stint on the disabled list, and Washington plans to recall Chris Heisey to take his place.

Taylor missed a few games at the end of June with an injury the Nationals never revealed, saying instead that he was banged up. But Taylor said after Thursday's game that he had been managing this oblique strain for a few weeks and aggravated it during his last at-bat in the third inning, when he grounded out to third base.

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"Just the way I feel, it's not getting any better," Taylor said. "It was actually getting worse. Instead of having it drag out longer, just take the time now to try to get back closer to 100 percent."

Taylor sat through a three-hour, five-minute weather delay before Thursday's game, but he did not believe that was a cause for his injury.

"I've been dealing with it for a while. I had plenty of notice," Taylor said. "I did everything that I normally do to try to get it hot and get it ready for the game. I felt pretty good. Obviously not 100 percent, but starting the game I felt OK. But just that swing, it got worse."

The Nationals hope that by sidelining Taylor now, he can rest during the All-Star break and return sometime shortly thereafter, because Washington was already thin on outfielders.

Two-thirds of the club's Opening Day outfielders are currently on the DL. Adam Eaton tore his ACL in late April and Jayson Werth suffered a left foot contusion in early June. Getting Heisey back will be a boost, although he was struggling before he went to the DL with a right biceps rupture and he has been most successful in a pinch-hitting role in his career.

Video: ATL@WSH: Goodwin belts a solo homer to center field

Brian Goodwin will likely take over in center field, while Ryan Raburn and Heisey split playing time in left field. But the Nationals hope they will not be without Taylor for long. Since taking over for Eaton as the everyday center fielder, he has been very successful, with a slash line of .291/.336/.549 and 12 home runs in 56 games entering Thursday night.

"That's tough, he's an everyday guy for us," Goodwin said. "He's a big dog out there in center field. And losing a main guy like that, it's always tough. Especially because he's swinging a hot bat. His production's been good lately. That's a guy that we're definitely going to miss."

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals, Michael Taylor