CLEVELAND -- The Nationals initially believed Stephen Drew was just battling a bad case of the flu, however, his condition barely improved during the past week. His body and stomach had improved, but his head continued to feel dizzy.
Drew initially feared a concussion, although he had not suffered any shots to the head lately. The Nationals finally placed Drew on the disabled list Wednesday, retroactive to Sunday, with vertigo-like symptoms. He will not join the club in San Francisco, but instead travel back to Washington for further evaluation.
"At first we thought it was the same bug that everybody else had, but theirs was like a two-day bug. This has been like a week now," manager Dusty Baker said before Wednesday's 4-1 victory over the Indians. "So we decided we couldn't it play short anymore for the team and also try to find out what's wrong with him, so he can get back because he's a big part of our team."
Wilmer Difo, the club's No. 6 prospect as rated by MLBPipeline.com, was recalled from Double-A Harrisburg to take Drew's place. He was hitting .255/.320/.343 in the Minors and Baker says he plans on using him as a defensive replacement in double switches and as a pinch-hitter.
"I just told him stay ready," Baker said.
Drew is batting .262/.319/.563 with seven homers in his first season in Washington and has emerged as a valuable option off the bench. As a pinch-hitter, he is 6-for-20 with a triple and three homers, tied for second in the Majors.
Considering the circumstances he has been dealing with, it makes Drew's pinch-hit walk-off triple to defeat the Padres, 3-2, on Saturday night that much more impressive.
"He said in batting practice it was tough because he had to really, really concentrate like five times more than usual to focus and hit," Baker said. "We're all subject to playing hero, since we were kids, most of the guys in that room in there, but it gets to a point where a hero is not being very smart because if a ball had come at his head, there's no way he could have gotten out of the way.
"But at the time that he hit, we just thought that it might have been some flu-like symptoms or allergies or something other than what it is that we don't know about."
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.