MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Difo singles in first MLB at-bat; Werth to DL

Infielder ranked No. 7 among club's prospects; outfielder nursing bruised left wrist

Difo singles in first MLB at-bat; Werth to DL

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals on Tuesday called up infielder Wilmer Difo from Double-A Harrisburg and placed outfielder Jayson Werth on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Friday.

Difo came into a tie game with the Yankees during the seventh inning and singled in his first Major League at-bat. He said he wasn't nervous because he knows how to hit. Washington ended up winning the game, 8-6 in 10 innings.

"I was very excited. It was my first hit in the big leagues. That is always an exciting thing," Difo said through his interpreter, bullpen catcher Octavio Martinez.

Werth suffered a left wrist contusion last week against the Padres after being hit by a pitch. Werth learned Monday that he doesn't have any ligament damage or fractures in the wrist. He does, however, have swelling and a lack of range of motion.

Werth's hit-by-pitch

"I wish it felt better," Werth said. "I'm optimistic. I don't feel like I'm out of the woods yet. Hopefully, in a couple of days, it will respond a lot better and we get going. But, right now, I'm pretty banged up. The tests were good. I feel we got a ways to go."

Before the promotion, Difo was having a productive year, hitting a combined .315 with three home runs, 18 RBIs and seven stolen bases for Class A Advanced Potomac and Harrisburg.

Difo learned of his promotion during the off-day Monday, when Harrisburg manager Brian Daubach gave him the good news. Difo then called his mother, "who was very happy and very excited."

Top Prospects: Difo, WSH

"I was surprised it was so soon, but I felt I was prepared. That's what I work for," Difo said through bullpen catcher Octavio Martinez.

Once he arrived in Washington, Difo took early infield and batting practice. He is expected to come off the bench in the late innings and become an extra infielder.

"He gives us a lot of options," manager Matt Williams said. "He is another middle infielder without moving Yunel [Escobar] potentially. It allows us to utilize Dan Uggla a little more than ordinary because he would be the middle infielder. Difo provides a lot of things for us. He can certainly hit a fastball, provides speed, he is a good baserunner. He plays both positions in the middle of the diamond."

Difo was also impressive during Spring Training, playing all the infield positions except for first base and hitting .318 (7-for-22). Difo could be the second baseman of the future, although he said during Spring Training he prefers playing shortstop.

"The thing I liked was that he was aggressive. He was in big league camp to play. He was eager to play," Williams said.

Last year, Difo -- the Nationals' No. 7 prospect, according to MLB.com -- set career marks in nearly every offensive category, hitting .315 with 14 home runs, 90 RBIs, 37 walks and 91 runs scored in 136 games for Class A Hagerstown. He was named the South Atlantic League's Most Valuable Player after leading the league with 176 hits while ranking second in total bases (263), second in stolen bases (49), fourth in RBIs and fourth in runs scored.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.