Good news for the Nationals – relatively speaking – as X-rays came back negative on Victor Robles’ injured wrist, per Todd Dybas of NBC Sports (via Twitter). He incurred a wrist contusion in last night’s ballgame when Cole Hamels hit him with a pitch in Robles’ second at-bat. It is not yet clear whether Robles will spend time on the injured list, though it seems likely.
Robles – whose 22nd birthday is tomorrow – joins a long list of injured Nats this season, most notably Anthony Rendon and Trea Turner, who also missed time this season after being hit by pitches. As a team, Washington has been plunked 22 times season – or about once every other game – tied with the Twins for 4th most in the league.
The timing is a particular bummer for the Nationals, who just got Turner back from injury last night for the first time since the season’s first week. Robles has been one of the more consistent performers for a disappointing Nats offense, hitting .255/.302/.465 with a team-leading eight long balls and eight stolen bases. The approach is lacking at times, he continues to be frustratingly bunt-happy, and more than once mental mistakes on the basepaths have demonstrated his youth and put him on the wrong end of the highlight reel. Still, the Nationals need Robles healthy if they are going to turn things around this season. Michael A. Taylor can replace him defensively, but Michael A. is lost at the plate and there’s not another natural replacement on the 40-man roster (not with Andrew Stevenson also on the IL). The Nats could use Adam Eaton in center with Gerardo Parra and Howie Kendrick seeing more time in the outfield.
Further adding to the injury ledger, Justin Miller appears headed to the injured list for the second time this season with a rotator cuff strain (per Dybas). Miller has pitched well in stretches across 17 appearances this season, going 1-0 with a 4.02 ERA. The ERA may be buoyed by a .256 BABIP, as FIP paints a decidedly different picture for the bearded righty (7.01 FIP). His fastball has been down a tick at 92.2mph from 93.9 mph last year, though his back pain early in the season – and the current shoulder strain – certainly deserve consideration as part of that story. More to the point for Miller, he has struggled to keep the ball on the ground or in the park (2.87 HR/9, 19 GB%), as was the case last night when he surrendered the first of Kris Bryant’s three home runs.
Despite continued struggles from the bullpen ahead of Sean Doolittle, major personnel changes do not appear in the offing, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. With Erick Fedde likely ticketed for the rotation at least for a start, they’ll need another arm in the bullpen as early as before tonight’s game. In a perfect world, Trevor Rosenthal would be ready to contribute, but as Collier notes, his wildness has continued during a rehab stint with Double-A Harrisburg, and it’s hard to imagine trusting him with major league innings at this juncture. Per Mick Reinhard, the host of @MinorConvsPod (via Twitter), Rosenthal pitched on third of an inning in his last outing, giving up one hit, walking one, and throwing two pitches to the backstop. Austin Voth, Tanner Rainey and James Bourque are the most likely 40-man candidates to take Miller’s roster spot.