Espinosa to rest broken wrist; Kobernus promoted

Espinosa to rest broken wrist; Kobernus promoted

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals received some surprising news Friday, learning that second baseman Danny Espinosa has a broken bone in his right wrist. Espinosa hurt the wrist on April 14, when he was hit by a pitch thrown by Braves left-hander Paul Maholm.

Espinosa did not report there was a problem with the wrist until the team was in San Francisco a couple of days ago. He went to Baltimore for X-rays on Friday morning, and that is when he learned about the wrist problem. As of now, Espinosa is not going on the disabled list. Manager Davey Johnson is hoping that rest can ease the pain in Espinosa's wrist.

"No hitting, no throwing," Johnson said. "I'm hopeful [that] by rest, the bone will knit and repair itself. That's the plan with him."

Espinosa is also dealing with a torn left rotator cuff, but he has not missed a game because of it.

"I like the heck out of him, but he reminds me too much of me. He plays in pain," Johnson said about Espinosa. "I looked at the film and he has a little chip in his wrist. The report I got from the trainer was that if he can stand the pain, it shouldn't get any worse."

The switch-hitting Espinosa is off to a slow start this season, going 23-for-141 (.163). Espinosa is having a tough time swinging from the right side of the plate.

"Well, when you initially find out and they do the X-ray and say there's no break, there's nothing wrong, as a player you go, 'OK, it's going to take a few days for the pain to go away,' and especially in a spot like that," Espinosa said. "You know you're going to have to deal with some discomfort for two to three weeks, just until everything goes away. But at a certain point, when I felt that nothing was getting better -- it wasn't hurting, it wasn't excruciating, dying pain, but it was a discomfort every single day -- I knew I just wanted to get a second opinion. Now that the inflammation is gone, just to make sure there's nothing wrong. Like I said, they found out today that there was."

With Espinosa out for a few games, Steve Lombardozzi will be the everyday second baseman. On Friday, Lombardozzi went for 3-for-4 with two RBIs in the team's 5-2 victory over the Phillies.

"You don't want anybody to get injured, but they are calling on me to be ready. It's also good to get some consistent at-bats," Lombardozzi said.

After the game, the Nationals purchased the contract of infielder/outfielder Jeff Kobernus from Triple-A Syracuse and designated right-hander Yunesky Maya for assignment in order to put Kobernus on the 40-man roster.

Kobernus, ranked as the Nationals' No. 16 prospect, can play the infield and outfield and is off to a great start, hitting .333 with a home run and 20 RBIs. Last December, the Tigers selected Kobernus in the Rule 5 Draft, but he was sent back to the Nationals in March.

The Nationals were thinking about bringing Kobernus to the Major Leagues last summer, but shortstop Ian Desmond was able to recover from a left oblique strain, and Kobernus remained in Syracuse for the rest of the season.

As for Maya, he struggled since signing with the Nationals for four years, $8 million in 2010. In 16 career games for Washington, Maya was 1-5 with a 5.80 ERA. He last pitched Tuesday and allowed the game-winning home run to Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval.

Most of Maya's time was spent in the Minor Leagues. In four seasons, he was 17-25 with a 4.41 ERA.

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