The Nationals have placed outfielder Adam Eaton on the 10-day DL, as Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post reported was likely to occur. Eaton will be replaced by outfielder Moises Sierra, whose promotion required some other roster machinations.
Eaton is not dealing with any new problems in his surgically-repaired left knee, but rather has been diagnosed with a bone bruise in his left ankle. That joint was also damaged last year, though it seems the new problem is not expected to pose any major new obstacles. Just how long he’ll be out remains to be seen and will likely be dictated both by how he responds to treatment and by how the roster shakes out in the meantime.
While it unquestionably hurts the Nats to see Eaton go back on the shelf, the veteran noted there are some silver linings here. “[W]e’re really going to concentrate on strength and the process of getting it better,” he said of his left leg. “And get my quad correct and everything. And work on things we kind of ran out of time in spring training so this might be a little blessing in disguise.”
As for Sierra, the 29-year-old hasn’t tasted the majors since back in 2014. But he has performed well since joining the Nationals on a minors deal, turning in a strong spring performance and opening the season well at Triple-A. In all likelihood, Brian Goodwin will take the bulk of the time in left, with Sierra supplementing him as needed. The club could have turned to Andrew Stevenson, who is already on the 40-man, but he has scuffled early at Syracuse after a reasonably promising spring.
Of course, the open spot might have gone to top prospect Victor Robles, who could well have commanded a MLB job to open the season had it not been for the full mix of outfielders already ahead of him. But Robles left a recent game after a cringe-inducing effort at a diving catch.
Fortunately, x-rays on Robles’s arm were negative, as Castillo reports (Twitter links). He has only been diagnosed to this point with a hyperextended elbow, though ligament or other damage has yet to be ruled out since a complete examination will not be possible until the swelling in the joint has subsided. The Nats organization, which no doubt views the much-hyped Robles as an excellent insurance policy and potential mid-season roster addition, is undoubtedly hoping that he has escaped a significant injury.