MIAMI -- A Nationals club already plagued by countless injuries added another key player to the disabled list today: Chad Tracy.
The veteran corner infielder and baseball's best pinch-hitter so far this season was placed on the 15-day DL with a right groin strain and will travel to Philadelphia tomorrow to be examined by the doctor that performed double sports hernia surgery in the same area in November.
Thus, the Nationals have another new player in uniform for today's series opener against the Marlins, having purchased the contract of outfielder Corey Brown from Class AAA Syracuse. (Because Brown needed to be added to the 40-man roster, the Nationals transferred outfielder Jayson Werth from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL to clear space.)
Tracy hurt himself running out a double during Saturday's game in Atlanta, then revealed that he had the hernia surgery during the offseason. The 32-year-old is 6-for-18 with an MLB-leading nine RBI as a pinch-hitter.
The Nationals are hopeful Tracy won't need another surgery in the area, one that would sideline him for several months, and that he merely broke up scar tissue. "But he's another one that's valuable you don't want to lose," manager Davey Johnson said.
Brown, meanwhile, joins the big-league roster after going on a hitting spree at Syracuse. For the season, he hit 12 home runs with 30 RBI and a .297 average, but five of those homers have come over his last five games.
The 26-year-old flew down to Miami yesterday to be in place in case Tracy needed to go on the DL. He can only hope this big-league stint goes better than his brief debut with the Nationals last September, when he went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and then had to be shut down with a knee infection that required surgery.
"I really try not to dwell on last year and everything that happened," he said. "Kind of just look forward from spring on, and I think with that just looking at the positives it's helped me throughout the year. I just want to continue to do what I've been doing."
Though Brown was leading off and playing center field every day for Syracuse, he figures to come off the bench for Washington, as has been the case for another player who was an offensive roll at Class AAA before his promotion: Tyler Moore.
"I've got Tyler Moore, who was tearing it up down there, and I haven't been able to play him on a regular basis," Johnson said. "I need to get [Rick] Ankiel, he's been showing of really coming around, he's been swinging the bat good. It's a question of getting all 25 going, and then you figure out what's the best scenario."