The Nationals announced a host of roster moves, the most notable placing Kyle Schwarber on the 10-day injured list. Catcher Alex Avila also heads to the 10-day injured list because of bilateral calf strains. Humberto Arteaga was designated for assignment. In terms of additions, the Nats selected the contract of Alcides Escobar, recalled Yadiel Hernandez and catcher Tres Barrera.
Nats fans have been expecting the news on Schwarber since he was pulled from yesterday’s game. Still, there’s plenty of uncertainty in regards to how long he’ll be out. Schwarber himself said he didn’t think this injury would keep him out as long as the 2016 injury that sidelined him for a full season, per Todd Dybas of Inside the Clubhouse (via Twitter). Manager Dave Martinez said it’d definitely be more than 10-day IL stint. Full accounting, then, puts Schwarber’s timeline somewhere between ten days and six months, which doesn’t exactly clue us into the severity of the strain.
The headline, however, is that Schwarber doesn’t need surgery. He’ll be resting until the swelling subsides and doctors can decide what kind of treatment he needs moving forward, per The Athletic’s Maria Torres (via Twitter).
In the meantime, Hernandez returns to the roster after a very successful 14-game, .309/.367/.618 stint with Triple-A Rochester. He’ll likely take over the everyday job in left, as he did in right field to cover for Juan Soto’s injury earlier this season. The 33-year-old Cuban rookie hit .370/.438/.481 from April 20th until May 4th while Soto was out. Gerardo Parra will spell him from time to time, but it should be Hernandez’s job to lose.
The other headline here is that Escobar is back in the Majors for the first time since 2018. The 34-year-old was an All-Star and Gold Glove winner for the World Champion Royals in 2015, but it’s been a long time since he provided positive value to a big league team. With Trea Turner dealing with a day-to-day injury, the window to impress might be very small for Escobar. That said, with Jordy Mercer out, Escobar is currently the only backup infielder on the Nats’ roster.
Such was the case for Arteaga, who has been designated for assignment after one game with the Nats. He went 0-for-3, though he did drive in a run with a sac fly.
Avila’s injury comes as somewhat of a surprise, as the backup catcher was well enough to make a spot start at the keystone the other night. Regardless, the switch-hitting backstop will be on the shelf for a bit after slashing .167/.345/.288 in 85 plate appearances.
Barrera will be Yan Gomes’ backup until Avila is healthy. Barrera served an 80-game suspension last July for violating the league’s PED program. The glove-first catcher has long been one of the Nats’ higher-rated catching prospects, but this will be his first opportunity at real playing time.