Aug 18, 2010, 2:23 PM EDT
Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
A knee injury may prematurely end Josh Willingham's season.
The Nationals' lineup, while hardly the most-fearsome unit in the majors, has had one notable thing working for it most of this season: a potent heart that features three guys who possess the rare combination of a high on-base percentage with power.
Plenty of teams — contending ones — would happily take a 3-4-5 of Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham. Each of those three had a legitimate case for All-Star consideration back in July, and though none of them was selected, few would have argued had any of them made the roster.
So the latest development with regard to Willingham's ailing left knee — Adam Kilgore of the Post reported yesterday the 31-year-old is likely going to have season-ending surgery next week to repair meniscus damage — certainly doesn't bode well for the remainder of 2010 in NatsTown.
If Willingham's knee has regressed to the point he's hurting the team — and his .225 batting average, .326 slugging percentage and lack of speed on the bases and in the field since the All-Star break certainly suggest he is — surgery right now is the right call. Get it taken care of. Give him as much time as possible to recover and rehab in advance of 2011.
But Willingham's absence from the Nationals' lineup will be noticeable. All of a sudden, that potent 3-4-5 is down to only Zimmerman and Dunn, both of whom have benefited from the protection the "Hammer" offers behind them. Without Willingham, who bats fifthRead more »
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