The Nationals have announced a series of roster moves, led by the return of shortstop Trea Turner from a lengthy stint on the injured list. Fellow infielder Wilmer Difo was optioned to create space for him.
As expected, starter Anibal Sanchez was placed on the 10-day injured list after suffering a hamstring injury yesterday. Righty Kyle McGowin will head onto the active roster to take the opening and provide the club with some innings in a swingman capacity.
Despite a forgettable opening quarter of the season, the Nats are hardly fully buried in the postseason hunt. They’ll need Turner to get back to his high-flying ways if they’re to overcome some other areas of concern and make up the six-game gap separating them from the Phillies (in addition to leap-frogging the Braves and Mets).
The 25-year-old Turner got off to a great start to the season, but was injured in only his fourth game of action. At his best, he’s among the better all-around shortstops in the game. It remains to be seen whether the fractured finger will have any lingering effects in the field or at the plate, but it shouldn’t prevent him from resuming his torrid stolen-base pace (four in four games after swiping more than forty in each of the past two seasons).
As for Difo, 27, he has had his chances over the past few campaigns but just hasn’t been able to provide enough offense. This year represented a new low, as he’s carrying only a .231/.301/.298 slash through 134 plate appearances. Without Difo, the roster lacks a true shortstop reserve, though Brian Dozier could slide over from second when Turner needs a rest.
McGowin may or may not end up getting a shot at taking a start in place of Sanchez. It’s also possible the club could give the ball to Erick Fedde, though he has been working in a relief capacity. Odds are the Nats will utilize both of those pitchers as needed in the coming days and wait to reassess when Sanchez’s turn comes up again on Tuesday.