WASHINGTON -- The sting of the Nationals' 5-4 loss to the Cubs on Thursday grew when the team announced that sparkplug Trea Turner had suffered a nondisplaced fracture in his right wrist during the seventh inning.There is not yet a timetable for Turner's return, but it will almost certainly be
WASHINGTON -- The sting of the Nationals' 5-4 loss to the Cubs on Thursday grew when the team announced that sparkplug Trea Turner had suffered a nondisplaced fracture in his right wrist during the seventh inning.
There is not yet a timetable for Turner's return, but it will almost certainly be an extended period of time. Turner mentioned the Braves' Freddie Freeman, who suffered a left wrist fracture on May 17. Freeman hopes to begin a Minor League rehabilitation assignment this weekend, a little more than six weeks after he suffered the injury. Turner was placed on the 10-day disabled list Friday, with the Nationals calling up infielder Adrian Sanchez from Triple-A Syracuse. Pitcher Sammy Solis (left elbow inflammation) was also transferred to the 60-day DL.
"I'm trying to have a good at-bat right [there] and you wish it hit you in the back or arm or something," Turner said. "Not the hand or the wrist, which is never fun. I thought about Freddie Freeman earlier in the year and that's no fun. But it is what it is and you have to roll with it."
Following this weekend, 13 weeks remain in the regular season. The Nationals hold a nine-game lead over Atlanta and 10 1/2 games over the Mets in the National League East.
Turner was hit in the wrist by a 96.3-mph fastball from Cubs reliever Pedro Strop, but stayed in the game until the top of the ninth when he was replaced by Stephen Drew in a double switch. Postgame X-rays revealed the fracture.
"You see guys every once in awhile try to stay in there and have a tough at-bat -- breaking balls, whatever it is," Turner said. "They stay in there too long -- Giancarlo Stanton when he got hit in the face. It [stinks] because guys are throwing so hard now, you have very little time to get out of the way. When you get hit in little bones, little parts of the body, it's hard to come away unscathed."
Turner was starting to hit his stride since returning from a hamstring injury in late April. Turner was slashing .298/.370/.404 in June and became the fifth player since 1994 to steal more than 20 bases in a month. He has been successful on 33 of his 37 stolen-base attempts this season -- including a franchise-record four steals in the Nationals' 6-1 win over the Cubs on Tuesday.
And now, he'll likely spend significant time on the bench.
Without Turner, the Nationals will likely turn to Drew and Wilmer Difo. Drew is hitting .333 this season as mainly a pinch-hitter and can play shortstop. Difo is batting .196 in 45 games and played some shortstop when Turner and Drew were hurt earlier this season.
The Nationals will also need a new leadoff hitter. Jayson Werth, the usual two-hole hitter, is on the DL with a left foot contusion. Washington has a nine-game lead in the National League East, but will have to maintain that edge for now without Turner.
Turner said he suffered a bone chip in college, but otherwise hasn't dealt with wrist or hand injuries since he was younger. In April, Turner went to the DL for 11 days with a right hamstring strain.
"Broken bones are a little bit better for me at least," Turner said. "It's not a muscle. You don't have to get it working properly again really. You just have to give it time to heal. It may take a little bit longer but for me, but for the long haul, might be a little bit better."
Kyle Melnick is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington.