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Danny Espinosa is in The Best Shape Of His Life, regrets playing through injury

Jan 25, 2014, 4:18 PM EST

Danny Espinosa AP AP

We have a new member of the BSOHL club and his name is Danny Espinosa.

During an appearance at NatsFest today, Espinosa told Chase Hughes of CSNWashington.com that he hired a personal trainer this offseason and feels stronger now than he’s ever felt. However, there was an interesting quote among the typical offseason hyperbole, as Espinosa also said that he regrets playing through a broken wrist last season:

“I shouldn’t have [played]. But at the same time, I’m not the doctor reading the film. So yea, I shouldn’t have been playing on a broken wrist the whole year. Like I said, if you’re told you have a bruise, you play through a bruise. Everybody plays through bumps and bruises. I wouldn’t have played if I knew I had a broken wrist. I shouldn’t have been playing at all.”

Espinosa injured his right wrist when he was hit by a pitch in mid-April last year, but the Nationals kept putting him out there and he hit just .158/.193/.272 with three homers and a 47/4 K/BB ratio through 167 plate appearances prior to landing on the disabled list in early June. The 26-year-old returned to game action within two weeks with Triple-A Syracuse, but he struggled to the tune of a .216/.280/.286 batting line in 75 games and wasn’t recalled when rosters expanded in September.

Now that he’s apparently back to full health, Espinosa has been told by general manager Mike Rizzo and new manager Matt Williams that he’ll have a chance to win the starting second base job back during spring training. Anthony Rendon, who hit .265/.329/.396 in 98 games as a rookie last year, will obviously have something to say about that.

  1. karlkolchak - Jan 25, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    And yet Espinosa still, as far as is publicly known, hasn’t addressed the shoulder injury he had PRIOR to the wrist injury and which he attempted to but shouldn’t have played with either.

    Unless Rendon craters in ST, his starting job ought to be pretty safe.

    • Reflex - Jan 25, 2014 at 6:30 PM

      Rendon has excellent upside as well.

    • recoveringcubsfan - Jan 25, 2014 at 6:57 PM

      Danny isn’t going to play 2B for the Nationals this year; the job is clearly Rendon’s, even if he hits poorly in the spring. At the Nationals’ fan day today, a panel of front office guys were talking about depth and when it was mentioned that the team was very lucky to have “a guy like Danny Espinosa as a fifth infielder,” it all kind of made sense. Lombardozzi got traded and Danny can play SS and 2B easily, and he has the guts and arm to play 3B if necessary. As a switch-hitter, if he can stay healthy then he could be a good bench guy who garners something like 300 PA with above-average pop for that kind of player. That’s very optimistic considering how rotten he was last year, but at he’s probably an upgrade over Chad Tracy, et al.

      • kinggw - Jan 25, 2014 at 7:30 PM

        I don’t think Rendon has a stranglehold on the position. Williams is new and doesn’t have ties to any of the players, let alone Rendon. He was decent last year, he wasn’t great. The job may be his to lose, but I wouldn’t etch it in stone just yet.

        Espinosa is still a better defender and has more pop in his bat. What’s funny about the whole situation is that a few years ago lots of Nats fans were clamoring for Danny to move to short and wanted to get rid of Desmond.

      • Reflex - Jan 25, 2014 at 11:59 PM

        Rendon is a 23 year old top prospect with plus power and good defense. The job is his to lose. The only reason Rendon is not the regular 2B next season is if LaRoche gets hurt and the Nats move Zimmerman to first base ahead of schedule as a result. In that scenario Rendon would move to third.

  2. stoutfiles - Jan 25, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    This guy goofed off all last winter, when they got swept early by the Braves he insisted that the Nats were still the best team in the division giving the Braves great bulletin board material all year, and then comes up with this excuse why he was awful for the whole year. “It was everyone else’s fault, not mine.”

    The Nats should give him just enough at-bats to build trade value. Rendon should be the 2B going forward, not this choker.

    • recoveringcubsfan - Jan 25, 2014 at 7:01 PM

      Espinosa’s walkup song last year was Pantera, “Walk.” Nothing bad can be said about this fellow. And “choker” is a bit harsh – did you have money riding on him for some reason?

      Re…Spect!

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jan 25, 2014 at 8:23 PM

      Yeah, what team would want a guy who tries his hardest to play through adversity and keeps a positive attitude when he’s down?

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