Matt Wieters sustained a leg injury when rounding first base after hitting a single and will undergo an MRI this morning, writes Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. It’s not clear if the damage is specific to his hamstring or something in his knee. Wieters told reporters that he felt something “behind [his] knee, kind of go a little bit.” The veteran switch-hitter has been more productive so far in 2018 than he was in 2017, hitting .231/.342/.385 through his first 76 plate appearances. While he’s still not the hitter he was in his best years with the Orioles, the loss of Wieters for any period would put the Nationals in a bind. He’s one of just two catchers on the 40-man roster now that the Nationals released Miguel Montero last month and placed Jhonatan Solano on the 60-day DL (depth chart). Either journeyman Tuffy Gosewisch or longtime Nats farmhand Spencer Kieboom seem likely to have his contract selected from Triple-A this weekend, as Janes notes that Wieters has already been deemed unavailable for tonight’s game and will “almost certainly” land on the DL for a second time this season.
More on the Nats…
- Outfield prospect Juan Soto, perhaps the quickest rising star of any prospect early in the 2018 season, was bumped from Class-A Advanced to Double-A yesterday. The 19-year-old Soto opened the year in Class-A and was moved to Class-A Advanced after just 16 games. His stay in High-A only lasted another 15 games though, as Soto obliterated pitchers there before somewhat incredibly homering and hitting a double in last night’s Double-A debut as well. Soto has raked at an otherworldly .373/.477/.817 clip across three levels so far, belting 13 homers, nine doubles and four triples while walking more often than he’s struck out (26-to-21 BB/K ratio).
- Janes also writes that the Nationals don’t expect to make a splashy move to acquire an outfielder in the wake of yesterday’s ankle surgery for Adam Eaton. Skipper Dave Martinez said that Matt Adams and Howie Kendrick will platoon for the majority of left field at-bats, listing Andrew Stevenson and a mending Brian Goodwin as additional options for the organization. Soto won’t be rushed to the big leagues, Janes notes, and fellow top outfield prospect Victor Robles is still working his way back from a hyperextended elbow. But Eaton could be closer to returning by the time clubs are willing to start selling off legitimate outfield upgrades, and the Nats have some depth right now as it is. Janes suggests within her column that the Nats may even subtract outfielder Moises Sierra from the roster at some point to open a spot for Mark Reynolds to come up from Triple-A. (It’s worth noting that jettisoning the struggling Sierra would also represent a means of opening a spot for a catcher to be added to the 40-man roster tonight.)