Lobaton relieved that ankle injury isn't serious

Lobaton relieved that ankle injury isn't serious

WASHINGTON -- Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton was relieved Friday afternoon at the condition of his left ankle a day after getting struck with an errant slider in the second inning of the Nats' 5-2 victory against the Braves on Thursday.

Lobaton said he feared the worst for about 10 minutes after getting hit, but eventually the pain subsided and he was able to walk. Although he had not tested his ankle yet, he was confident he would be able to run soon.

"He was walking without a limp today," manager Dusty Baker said. "I'm sure it's sore. We dodged a bullet that it's not fractured or cracked or anything, so that was big."

That Lobaton will not miss any significant time could be key as he stands to serve as the team's backup catcher for the postseason.

However, Lobaton has struggled this season with a .500 OPS in 45 games. But he does provide a veteran presence behind the plate to back up starter Matt Wieters, and the pitching staff also enjoys working with him, so perhaps the Nats will opt to keep Lobaton on the postseason roster instead of young catchers Raudy Read (Nats' No. 14 prospect) and Pedro Severino (No. 15).

Severino would likely be the leader ahead of Read in that competition considering he has more Major League experience. In addition to his ability at catcher that the team raves about, Severino also runs well, which could provide an extra boost off the bench.

"He's one of the guys that's big in our future," Baker said. "This guy can catch. He calls a good game. The umpires have told me that he receives the ball well, gives them a good look. He throws well. He runs well. You saw him beat out a double play last night. Yeah, his future is big."

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.