The Nationals tried to nurse Ian Desmond through his oblique injury. Unsurprisingly, it ultimately didn’t work.
An MRI has revealed a torn left oblique muscle, an injury that has finally sent the All-Star shortstop to the disabled list. The Nationals haven’t put a timetable on when he’ll come back, but return in the latter part of August is probably a best-case scenario.
It puts Desmond’s pursuit of a 20/20 season in serious jeopardy, as he’ll need to knock off the rust and hit three bombs and steal five bases whenever he returns to the lineup. It’s also obviously a big blow to the Nats’ lineup, as Desmond’s .503 slugging percentage and .825 OPS are easily the best marks in baseball this season for a shortstop.
To fill the void at shortstop, the Nats will slide Danny Espinosa to the other side of second base, while Steve Lombardozzi will take over as the starter at second. Espinosa made his sixth start of the season at shortstop Sunday, and he came up through the minors primarily playing that position, so Washington should be fine defensively. Veteran Mark DeRosa will now act as the primary backup middle infielder. He hasn’t played either position a single time this season, and he’s started just four games at second and zero at short since 2009.
Texas Injury Two-Step
Over the last month, the Rangers have gotten Derek Holland and Colby Lewis back from the disabled list and added Roy Oswalt from the minor leagues. Their depth will be tested again, though, as Lewis is still having forearm issues, and Oswalt’s back is giving him problems again.
Both pitchers have already been scratched from their next scheduled starts, and it’s certainly possible, and likely in Lewis’ case, that a trip to the disabled list is in order. Lewis had been scheduled for Tuesday, but he hasn’t done any throwing since leaving his last outing, and he’ll visit Dr. Keith Meister on Monday in Arlington. The righty sounded resigned to the fact that he’ll be out for a while when he spoke to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
"I'm not going to sit here and push the situation," he said. "I've got to think about a career and not a month."
As far as Oswalt goes, the Rangers are hopeful that he’ll only have to miss one start. He’s left the team for Houston, where he’ll see his regular back doctor and possibly receive a cortisone shot. The veteran right-hander seems to think it’s just a minor flare-up and he’ll be able to get back on track after a shot, but it’s hard to be too confident that that’s the case after the ongoing back issues he had last year.
For now, the Rangers will go with Scott Feldman and either Martin Perez or Justin Grimm (Perez is looking like the preferred option) to fill out the rotation. The Rangers should get Neftali Feliz (elbow) back soon, though. The hard-throwing right-hander made a second rehab start this past Friday and will likely only need one or two more before being ready for activation. He had been looking likely to return to a relief role, but the recent injuries probably mean he’ll be put in the rotation.
National League Quick Hits: Most expected Carlos Quentin to be one of the biggest bats moved at the trade deadline. Instead, the Padres signed him to a three-year extension that includes a mutual option for a fourth year. The Pads are also looking to lock up closer Huston Street … Matt Garza left Saturday’s start against the Cardinals with a triceps injury, but he’s already feeling better and might not even miss a start … Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen isn’t convinced that Hanley Ramirez (hand) will make it back during the team’s upcoming six-game homestand. Ramirez’s right hand is infected, an injury that occurred after he punched a cooling fan in frustration … Jaime Garcia (shoulder) is throwing from a mound without any issues and is expected to begin a rehab assignment in 10-14 days. He’s on track to rejoin the Cardinals’ rotation in mid-August … Jason Kubel followed up his three-homer game Saturday with a 3-for-4 performance Sunday that included another homer and a triple. He now has an NL-leading 71 RBI … The Mets will call up Matt Harvey to start on Thursday in Arizona. He’s getting a shot following injuries to Johan Santana (ankle, shoulder) and Dillon Gee (shoulder).
American League Quick Hits: Jon Lester suffered through the worst start of his career Sunday, as he was pounded for 11 runs on nine hits and five walks over just four innings in a loss to the Blue Jays. The lefty’s velocity has been fine, but something is clearly wrong, as he’s been knocked around for a whopping 21 runs over his last three outings … The Blue Jays are saying that Jose Bautista (wrist) is recovering faster than expected, though he’s still yet to swing a bat. Joey Bats is expected to skip a rehab assignment and should return not far into August … Erick Aybar is dealing with a contusion on his right big toe, and the Angels are contemplating placing him on the disabled list. Top prospect Jean Segura has been called up as insurance … Adrian Gonzalez homered Sunday for the third time in eight games since the All-Star break. He’s also hitting .438 in the second half … Roberto Hernandez has finally received his U.S. visa and is expected to rejoin the Indians’ rotation around August 11 following a three-week suspension for falsifying his identity. He’ll either bump Zach McAllister or Josh Tomlin from among the starting five.