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Espinosa to have hand surgery

Nov 24, 2010, 12:59 AM EDT

Danny Espinosa will have surgery tomorrow to remove the hook of the hamate bone in his right hand, a procedure that will sideline him six weeks but gives him ample time to recover before spring training.

Espinosa had been playing winter ball in Puerto Rico, where he was hitting .281 with two homers, eight RBI, 11 extra-base hits and nine stolen bases in 22 games. According to the Nationals, his hand began bothering him last week. Doctors concluded he needed to have the hook of the hamate (which is actually an unnecessary bone near the wrist) removed.

It’s a fairly common injury and procedure, especially for the Nationals. Ryan Zimmerman, Ian Desmond and Derek Norris all underwent the same surgery in recent years, all ultimately returning to full strength.

Espinosa’s surgery will be performed by Dr. Ken Means at the Curtis National Hand Center in Baltimore.

Espinosa, 23, was one of the organization’s top-rated prospects when he made his big-league debut in September. Though he wound up hitting only .214 in 28 games, he impressed with six homers, 15 RBI and stellar defense, convincing team officials he should enter 2011 as their starting second baseman.

  1. NatBiscuit - Nov 24, 2010 at 1:53 AM

    The Nats want Espinosa to dial it down and raise his on-base average next year anyway, so perhaps the loss of power that usually comes in the first year following such a surgery could be muted by the change in approach.

  2. Anonymous - Nov 24, 2010 at 2:14 AM

    Is this the hand surgery that cost Norris his power during the summer?

  3. Anonymous - Nov 24, 2010 at 3:01 AM

    On a completely separate note, while we have a no-talent coaching staff save for Steve McCatty, Buck Showalter's has revamped the Orioles staff to include former managers and top notch coaches: Willie Randolph as Bench Coach & John Russell as 3rd Base Coach. Mark Connor is Pitching Coach. Unfortunately our northern neighbor is beating us in the rebuilding department! :(

  4. NatBiscuit - Nov 24, 2010 at 3:48 AM

    New Third Base Coach Bo Porter is by all accounts a very good and highly respected coach. Rick Eckstien is a very good batting instructor. Randolph, Connor, and Russell have all been fired multiple times. How is that a recommendation for excellence?

  5. JaneB - Nov 24, 2010 at 4:34 AM

    Randolph didn't deserve to be fired. I hope he makes it as a skipper somewhere again soon. Maybe, like, in DC. Sending all good vibes for Danny to heal fast fast fast and with grace and ease.

  6. Doc - Nov 24, 2010 at 5:06 AM

    Rick Eckstein probably has as much or more respect as any batting coach in MLB.

  7. HabsProf - Nov 24, 2010 at 7:55 AM

    Hey, guys, here's a note from an unusual place for sports news.Dave Cameron of the Wall Street Journal writes:Zimmerman Should Get A Little LoveJoey Votto won the National League MVP Award on Monday, but Washington's Ryan Zimmerman gets the unofficial trophy for least-appreciated great year. He finished 16th in the voting, but advanced metrics such as Wins Above Replacement—he ranked behind only Mr. Votto and Albert Pujols—suggest he was among the league's best players. A .300 average, 25 home runs and terrific defense at third base aren't worth what they used to be, apparently.

  8. NatsJack in Florida - Nov 24, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    81 days till pitchers and catchers report. Fangraph has Zimmerman listed as the 6th most valuable commodity with Strasburg as the 3rd most valuable.

  9. Mark Zuckerman - Nov 24, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    Anonymous said…Is this the hand surgery that cost Norris his power during the summer?No, Norris said his problems last season were the result of a different hand injury that occurred while sliding into second base. The hamate bone didn't bother him at all after he had that surgery last winter.

  10. Feel Wood - Nov 24, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    Independent of Norris's other hand problems, there is pretty good anecdotal evidence that even though a player is not "bothered" by the hamate surgery it still takes upwards of a year for them to get their pre-surgery power back. It would seem that this happened with Zimmerman's hamate surgery. Probably contributed to Norris's power drop as well.

  11. JD - Nov 24, 2010 at 3:44 PM

    JaneB, With all due respect; I followed Randolph's career as the Mets manager; he is not great and I am being charitable. IMHO most manager's effect on W/L records is negligible with some notable exceptions: I really consider Tampa Ray's Maddon as an 'out of the box' thinker; Bud Black seems very sharp and Girardi, Francona, Scocia and Showalter are very good as well. Ron Washington was badly out managed by Bochy in the WS and you really don't want Dusty Baker if you have any young pitchers (beware Reds; hide your Volquez and Cuetos).

  12. Alan_A - Nov 24, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    JD -With all due respect, I agree with JaneB. I was born and raised in New York and rooted for the Mets from the mid-sixties through 2007, when I left for DC. I watched Randolph close up and liked him as a manager. I can't fault him for the '07 collapse or early '08 – he was done in by a perverse, indifferent clubhouse and a dysfunctional front office. The Mets are a mess and have been ever since Nelson Doubleday stepped out as owner and left the Wilpons in charge. True, Willie was driven into a sort of catatonia by the end but nearly anybody would have been. And having been through it once, I think he'll handle the stress better next time around. I'd love to see him manage in DC.

  13. NatBiscuit - Nov 24, 2010 at 5:52 PM

    I was just being playful when I fired my shot at Randolph and the other Oriole hires. He is probably a very fine coach. I'm not sure he was a great manager. He did have a dysfunctional clubhouse, and it was unfair how he was fired but I think great managers overcome bad clubhouses. Baltimore has a history of trying to bring in big name coaches instead of talented players. Mazzone, Miller, Perlozza, Showalter, etc…. So far that has not worked for them. The Nationals can't exactly point to success either, but bringing in big name coaches does not fix anything. Of course bringing in novice managers like Manny Acta doesn't fix anything either when you have a clubhouse full of Felipe Lopez, Rafael Belliard, etc…. Apparently, you can't fix stupid.

  14. BinM - Nov 24, 2010 at 6:30 PM

    Biscuit: No, you can fix stupid – It's called the bench. What you can't fix is player arrogance – Sit an arrogant player, and he eventually poisons the bench & the clubhouse. Players like Olsen, FLop, PLoD, & Guillen & others have proven that over the years, imo.

  15. Phil dunn - Nov 24, 2010 at 6:49 PM

    So what else is new? The Nats have the same injury curse as the Wizards. Sure, he will be good as new in six weeks. Norris was hurting all of last season because of that exact same injury.

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