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Nationals' Danny Espinosa leaves game after getting hit by pitch on hand

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Sports,MLB,Nationals,Brian McNally

Second baseman could miss a game or two

The pitch caught Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa on the right hand and left him steaming as he made his way to first base during Sunday's 9-0 loss to Atlanta.

Braves left-hander Paul Maholm isn't the hardest thrower around, but his second-inning pitch had enough juice on it to leave Espinosa yelping in pain. By the top of the fifth inning, the hand was swollen and still throbbing. That's when a player known for fighting through pain decided he had had enough and left the game for reserve Steve Lombardozzi.

The good news for Washington is that X-rays on Espinosa's hand were negative. Manager Davey Johnson thought his second baseman would miss a game or two during a three-game series in Miami starting Monday. Espinosa said afterward he would rather wait and see how things felt in the morning before deciding whether he needed to miss any games at all. He knows from experience it could have been worse. Espinosa had the hamate bone surgically removed from his right wrist after the 2010 season.

"You get hit in the hand, hit in the wrist, you can easily break something," Espinosa said. "So when I first got hit, wasn't thrilled about it. And I'm relieved to find out that it's just hopefully bruised and a lot of inflammation."

Earlier on Sunday, the Nationals placed catcher Wilson Ramos on the 15-day disabled list with a pulled left hamstring. He was injured in Saturday's loss to the Atlanta Braves while running out a ground ball in the eighth inning. That's a short-term blow to a team that was effectively using co-catchers with Ramos and Kurt Suzuki. Ramos was 6-for-20 in six games with three home runs and two walks. He appeared fully recovered from the ACL tear in his right knee sustained last May 12.

Suzuki was scheduled to catch anyway Sunday for good friend Gio Gonzalez. He had two more hits and is now 5-for-16 with a home run, four walks and three RBI. His backup for the next two weeks will be Jhonatan Solano, who was recalled Sunday from Triple-A Syracuse. Solano, 26, appeared in 12 games for the Nats last season in a similar role and batted 11-for-35 with two homers.

bmcnally@washingtonexaminer.com

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