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Rizzo, Davey on board with Espinosa

Feb 13, 2013, 9:21 PM EDT

USA Today Sports Images
Danny Espinosa is attempting to play with a torn left rotator cuff.

VIERA, Fla. — Both Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson said today they’re on board with Danny Espinosa’s plan to play through a torn left rotator cuff and were part of the decision to let the second baseman avoid offseason surgery.

“We meet with him, his representatives, doctors, trainers, everybody, and we say what’s the best course of action to take,” Rizzo said. “And we make a decision with it.”

Espinosa battled through shoulder pain last September, but an initial MRI performed by team orthopedist Wiemi Douoguih revealed only a bone bruise. Espinosa received a cortisone shot that relieved the pain, though his offensive production nosedived down the stretch and through the National League Division Series.
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  1. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    Count down to the JayB barrage. 10….9….8….7…….

  2. phil dunton - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    Espinosa had a ton of strikeouts last September and now we know why. Didn't Rizzo learn anything from the Laroche shoulder injury in 2011?

  3. phil dunton - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    God bless JayB. He doesn't wear rose colored glasses.

  4. Section 222 - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    From the article on CSN: Rizzo said, "I think he's come through all the stress tests that we give him, the strength tests, and he feels good. He's a ballplayer. He knows what he can take and what would hurt his performance, and he feels good about entering the season."I'll bet he felt good about entering the last month of the season too. But apparently, he didn't know what would hurt his performance then. What makes them think he knows now.Sorry about this NJ, but JayB is not alone in thinking that the Danny and the Nats messed up here. He'll be on the DL by June. It's a shame.

  5. Tcostant - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:41 PM

    I'm on record as sayinh I wish Danny would have had it repaired with surgery. Just shortsighted IMO.

  6. upperdeck4 - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    I'm just wondering, assuming that the Nationals medical staff had the equipment, why they didn't do the enhanced MRI in the first place. I hate to say it, but historically I have not been impressed with their medical staff.

  7. D'Gourds - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:44 PM

    Dr D. has missed a bunch of diagnoses. Baseball is a game of dealing with failures. Medicine is NOT! Maybe it's time to change docs.Thank goodness we have Lombo as backup.I can't understand why they didn't do the surgery for a "major" cuff tear. I forsee a repeat of the ALR lost year.

  8. Taino in DC - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    Here we go again , Laroche all over again . Of course Espi said he is ok , he dont want to see Lombo on the field. Unless you are Straburg , Rizzo will let you go out there day after day and play hurt no matter what .This is not your 48 wins team anymore . We got no place in the lineup for a one arm player . Ridiculous

  9. sjm308 - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    upperdeck4 – I actually asked about the test Dr. Youcum administered and it is quite envasive which is why he had it done after the season. I have not been happy with the misdiagnoses either but I do understand not wanting to do a test that would put Danny out of action even for a couple of games. I am also in the camp of having the surgery after a major tear was diagnosed. Can we also please not call it a complete tear anymore, I knew that if it was he would have definitely had surgery.At least everyone is talking like they are on the same page. I wonder if any one of Rizzo, Johnson, Dr. Yocum or even his agent had disagreed with this if it would have changed anything. Bottom line I guess is what the athlete thinks is best but I disagree with that philosophy. Good news is we have Lombardozzi, Rivero, and possibly Rendon so the cupboard is not bare.

  10. PChuck - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    This is such a terrible idea.

  11. JD - Feb 13, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    I never like to comment on medical issues because I don't feel qualified to do so. How can you have an opinion about a Doctor's competence if you don't have any medical expertise yourself? Staying at the Holiday Inn express once does not count.

  12. Tony - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    Get with the program guys. You're supposed to be enjoying this. Now that Teddy has finally won a race it's clear they are setting up Dr. Weimi "Doogie" Howser MD as the next lovable loser mascot. How will he mis-diagnose tonight?

  13. Section 222 - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    sjm, the enhanced MRI is more invasive than the regular one because they inject dye into the joint before you go into the MRI machine. But it's not so invasive that it would have put him out of action for even a game. It's like getting a shot and it stings a bit, but that's it. Everyone here knows my position on this. To summarize — it's ridiculous that they waited two weeks to give him the test that is much more likely to reveal an injury. And no, I'm not a doctor, but I've had both kinds of MRIs on my shoulder.On another topic, this is just sad.

  14. Tony - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    Remember who Danny's agent is. Guy named Boras. You think Danny is doing anything without his approval?

  15. sjm308 - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:48 PM

    Just received my first box of Topps 2013 Series One baseball cards. Bryce Harper is #1 which is pretty cool. Did not pull a Strasburg card. I would be interested to see who is making decisions at Topps. There is a CM Wang card and also a rookie card for Eury Perez. Almost all cards show game action (no poses or fake throws from the mound). Morse's has him coming back to the dugout after what must be a homerun and he is just so excited. I will miss that. Series Two will adjust the uniforms of the many moves and hopefully add a Rendon. Silly to keep this kind of thing up after so many years but I got hooked when my first was born in 1980 and have quite a large (if unexciting collection). Still have horrible dreams about those shoe boxes full of Mantles, Williams, Mays, Aaron etc that my mom threw out when I went away to college.Not many doubles in each box but the one double I have for sure is Danny Espinosa which is an omen that he will have a great season!!

  16. sjm308 - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    Tony, that was my point. I am pretty confident that this was run by Boras, Rizzo, Johnson, Yocum and team Doctor as well as Danny. It's not like Danny just made this decision on a lark. Am hoping for the best but fear this will not end well.

  17. JayB - Feb 13, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    Njack….why post again on this topic….reading the posts says it all. Not sure why so many dumped on me….seems like wide spread agreement that Rizzo and Davey's comments are just a joke….he knows when he is hurting the team……Medical staff competence…..seems a lot of people are questioning the whole mess. You good with this response?

  18. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 13, 2013 at 11:49 PM

    JayB… it's fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, you're done. Danny will be the most watched player in camp.

  19. JayB - Feb 13, 2013 at 11:58 PM

    Is he worth it? Is it worth the risk that he costs them games in a season when they should win it all? Lombo is a better team player and just what the need. 200K's that is not going to help win anything. I would have forced the operation and then sent him to AAA to prove he can be coached and play a team game. He has options….they could have done it that way.

  20. UnkyD - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:47 AM

    The difference between ALR and Danny, is that Adam had a job waiting, the next year. Danny is damned either way… If he gas tge surgery, Lombo could really shine for the first two months, …Rendon could tear up Harrisburg, and Danny is on the outside, looking in. If he spends all winter rehabbing, then maybe, just maybe, he gets lucky, and doesn't reinjure it. Seems like long odds, to me, but he may have felt that his only chance to make a place for himself, was to take the chance. We're pretty much covered, if he loses this bet, but the bigger issue, to me, seems to be getting better diagnoses, faster…. That enhanced MRI (as noted, above, is simply a shot of dye, prior to the picture…) Lets get the best image possible, as soon as something affects someone's play, for more than a few days….

  21. peric - Feb 14, 2013 at 3:38 AM

    I would have forced the operation and then sent him to AAA to prove he can be coached and play a team game. He has options….they could have done it that way.Can't see Rizzo ever doing that with any player … especially one of Danny's caliber. Boras or not.Again, JayB, if you are going to sit there and claim that Lombardozzi is a potential All Star 2nd baseman with the best range of any fielder in baseball at second, with speed, range, and agility to be one of the BEST shortstop's in baseball? Someone who has hit 20 home runs and just shy of 40 doubles? And 20 stolen bases? Even with a TORN ROTATOR cuff?You'd be laughed off of any baseball blog … anywhere and you damned well know it. Espinosa IS A special player. Its why Rizzo got Bowden to allow him to draft him and given how much Bowden hated to deal with Boras that was quite a feat in and of itself! Sure, he can be as stubborn as any elite athlete. But HE IS an elite athlete who has worked extremely hard to get to that pinnacle.

  22. JayB - Feb 14, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    Danny does have a higher upside than Lombo…not the point….the point is what the team needs this year. They need Lombo's consistent unselfish approach. It is also about what Danny needs….he needs a kick in the ass and a reality check before it is too late. He needs to learn team is more important than his stats to the people paying his salary.

  23. Rabbit34 - Feb 14, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    I just don't understand what it is about Espinosa. What is probably happening is the Nationals want to speed up his demise. There is plenty of time for that in ST, then just let Lombo take over.

  24. Avar - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    I will just say that this all sounds very familiar and fully expect Danny to have no power, struggle mightily and then have surgery in May or June and miss the rest of the season.I wish Mark would ask/write if they expect the tear to actually heal without surgery or do they think he can play major league baseball for 6 months with a torn rotator cuff? Either seems improbable to me but it seems that one of the two has to be their position. I'd love to know if an orthopedic surgeon would agree with either.

  25. Kiterp - Feb 14, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    The body adapts to injury but must over compensate elsewhere. This can cause strain and damage elsewhere. Extended playing time may exasperate the significant injury. And then the mind takes over and there is doubt, hesitation, overcompensation. A BB player’s body and mind are finally tuned and balanced. When something is broken, over a long season, sooner or later something is going to have to break Choice 1 … have the surgery, sit out the first couple of months of the new season, get stong and balanced and then fight to get your name on the starting line-upChoice 2 … do not have the surgery. Struggle at times. Play poorly … hesitantly. Over compensate and extend. More damage. Have the surgery after the first couple of months of the new season and then find your name on the starting line-up of another team in 2014.

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