Monday, May 14, 2012

Leon sprains ankle, Maldonado coming up

Associated Press photo
Sandy Leon is helped off the field after injuring his right ankle.
Updated at 11:55 p.m.

What should have been the proudest day of Sandy Leon's baseball career instead turned into a nightmare.

Leon, the 23-year-old catcher making his big-league debut for the Nationals, suffered what appeared to be a serious right leg injury after getting barreled over at the plate by the Padres' Chase Headley in the top of the fourth inning of Monday's game at Nationals Park.

Summoned straight from Class AA Harrisburg after starting catcher Wilson Ramos tore the ACL in his right leg Saturday night, Leon got his leg caught underneath him as Headley crashed into him on a play at the plate. He remained on the ground for a minute before being helped off the field by assistant trainer Mike McGowan, unable to put any weight on the leg.

The Nationals initially announced the injury as a sprained left ankle, then later amended it to say the sprain was to his right ankle. After the game, manager Davey Johnson described the injury as a high ankle sprain and said Leon had already been placed on the 60-day disabled list, with veteran Carlos Maldonado called up from Class AAA Syracuse to take his spot. (Though a team spokesman said no roster move has been made yet and suggested Leon won't immediately land on the 60-day DL.)

Jesus Flores, forced into the everyday catching job now with Ramos out for perhaps the rest of the season, had to take over for Leon on what was supposed to be his night off. He's expected to start Tuesday afternoon's series finale, with Maldonado racing to get to Washington after joining his Class AAA teammates on an evening bus ride from Syracuse to Columbus, Ohio.

"I mean, what can I say?" Flores said. "It's really frustrating to watch my teammates going down after getting run over with the other guy and then Wilson, torn in his knee. It's like something going on, and hopefully it stops happening."

Maneuvering around the Nationals' clubhouse after the game with his right leg in a brace and propped up on a rolling cart, Leon declined to speak to reporters. Earlier in the afternoon, he talked about his excitement playing in his first big-league game and about how his family would be watching on television back home in Venezuela.

That debut wound up lasting less than four innings, with Leon striking out in his lone plate appearance.

"Such an outstanding young man," Johnson said. "His first big-league game, all pumped up and have to get hurt in his first game. That's tough."

The Nationals had no problem with Headley's decision to run over Leon, calling it a clean play. Leon was blocking the plate before he had the ball in his possession, and Headley told reporters he had no choice but to try to take out the catcher.

"I thought it was a clean play, and I'm sorry it resulted the way it did," Headley said. "When I was coming in, I was intending to slide. I was even looking to to slide to the inside. But there was nowhere to go. He had the plate totally blocked, and the ball wasn't there yet."

Maldonado, 33, is hitting .224 in 20 games with Syracuse and has 25 games of big-league experience with the Pirates (2006-07) and Nationals (2010). He might well have been the Nationals' final catching option, because Chiefs teammate Jhonatan Solano is on the DL.


SCNatsFan said...

My first thought is this sucks for the Nats but it really sucks for Leon

Anonymous said...

Looked like the right ankle was everted, which can be just as bad as a knee injury.

One of the beat writers tweeted that he hadn't seen Solano in the Syracuse clubhouse in several days, so Maldonado is the more likely candidate. His illness/injury remains a mystery.

The most likely sequence of events: Maldonado to WAS, Ivany from HBG to SYR, Seabury from POT to HBG, Palace off POT DL.

Anonymous said...

oh for f's sake.

Gary said...

Hey Pudge, put that golf bag down. It's time to
Play some ball!!

Kevin said...

Looked a lot like the Buster Posey play. I feel for the kid.

JaneB said...

I feel awful for Leon. And I am trying not to wish ill on Chase Headley. Not succeeding.
There needs to be an exorcism or something.

DL in VA said...



But still, I hope Riz has pudge on speed dial.

Mr Baseball said...

Next year lets get in the blue uniforms and not red. Only red trim around blue. Then our luck will change and we won't be the Washington Red Cross. Come on Mark Lerner get your act together.

Joseph said...

Man I think players will fear being traded to the Nats... what, 12 players on the DL now?

Holden Baroque said...

Didn't somebody just post in here that Solano is on the DL?

natsfan1a said...

I was actually relieved that it wasn't worse. Looked horrible when it happened. I thought there might be a break and torn ligaments. Poor kid.

I'm with you, Jane. I'll get a live chicken and bring it to the park tomorrow.

Doc said...

What about Freitas? Doesn't he head for The Burg??

Holden Baroque said...

Seriously, Theo posted that Solano was on the DL, but he's not listed there, from what I can see.

What's the Straight Dope?

NatsLady said...

Mark, thanks for the late report. I feel really bad for Leon, hope he recovers quickly.

peric said...

Apparently, according to Carfardo, the Nats are checking out BoSox catchers.

peric said...

Seriously, Theo posted that Solano was on the DL, but he's not listed there, from what I can see.

He's on the 7-day minor league DL and he's listed there by Syracuse.

mj compton said...

Please be kinder to Carlos Maldonado than you have to your other catchers recently. We'll miss him in Syracuse.

ehay2k said...

Very sad for Leon. He was so excited to get his MLB first start. I really hope he makes a speedy recovery and also that he gets a second opinion on his injury. For the team, way to grind out a win.

I believe Kilgore wrote that Lombardozzi was warming up as catcher? Has he ever done that?

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