MLB.com Columnist

Bill Ladson

Scherzer lines out in rare pinch-hit at-bat

Escobar's injury leaves bench shorthanded

Scherzer lines out in rare pinch-hit at-bat

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals felt they had no choice but to use right-hander Max Scherzer as a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning of Friday night's 10-3 loss to the Brewers.

With one out and the Nationals down, 5-1, manager Matt Williams was short on the bench because of a first-inning neck injury to third baseman Yunel Escobar. With first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and rookie shortstop Trea Turner available off the bench, Williams decided to replace left-hander Gio Gonzalez and have Scherzer face right-hander Jimmy Nelson.

"We're short anyway," Williams said. "Many times you are short and you lose a guy [Escobar] that early, you are a man down at that point. It's easier when your starter goes long and he is deep into a game, but that didn't happen tonight. We got through it. We had enough guys."

Scherzer took a good swing and lined out to first baseman Adam Lind for the second out of the inning. Scherzer is 10-for-51 [.196] at the plate for the season. Scherzer became the third Nationals pitcher -- joining Doug Fister and Joe Ross -- to pinch-hit this season.

Entering Friday's game, the Nationals had a four-man bench, excluding catcher Wilson Ramos. When Escobar injured himself in the first inning, Danny Espinosa entered the game, leaving the Nationals with a three-man bench.

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.