WASHINGTON -- Stephen Drew injured his right hamstring in Tuesday's 8-3 victory over the Cardinals, another blow for the Nationals, who were already trying to get by without their starting shortstop.
Nationals manager Dusty Baker did not sound encouraged after the game when he described Drew's status as so-so, and noted Drew was probably further behind than Trea Turner, who was placed on the disabled list Monday with a right hamstring strain. So a stint on the 10-day DL appears almost certain for Drew, a key member of the Nats bench who was going to be the primary replacement for Turner.
Now the team is left with just shortstop Wilmer Difo, who regularly shows off flashes of talent but also comes with moments of inexperience. For instance, he double clutched and took too long to throw to first on a grounder from first baseman Jose Martinez in the fourth inning Tuesday. Martinez was initially ruled out, but after a 34-second review the call was overturned.
"It's a big setback when you got two out of your three shortstops that are down," Baker said. "The shortstop that took Trea's place is now injured, so they're both injured. We just got to do whatever we can, hopefully score as many runs as we can to try to offset that until Trea comes back."
Drew had actually started this game at third base, in order to give Anthony Rendon a breather after his slow start to the season. But in the fifth inning, Drew's cleat got caught while running out of the batter's box on a grounder back to the pitcher. He slowed up before he crossed the first base bag and grabbed the back of his leg in pain, and was removed from the game to begin the sixth inning.
"I didn't really see it but I could tell by the look and the grimace on his face that he hurt it pretty badly," Baker said.
A day prior, Drew had gone 3-for-4 with four RBIs while filling in at shortstop for Turner in one of the best games in his Nationals tenure.
The Nationals have the luxury of having Adam Eaton to slide into the leadoff spot in the order while Turner is down, but they do not have another shortstop on their 40-man roster. They do have an open spot and are likely to promote another middle infielder to fill it, but for now, the onus of replacing Turner -- who is eligible to return from the DL on April 19 -- falls on Difo.
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.