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Normally the Nationals' starting second baseman, Danny Espinosa has moved to short stop to replace Ian Desmond, who is nursing an oblique strain. Desmond was scratched for the third straight game on Tuesday night in Washington against the New York Mets, although the disabled list is said to not be a possibility.
Expect this injury to intermittently sideline Ian Desmond through August 1 and beyond.
Danny Espinosa is actually a natural short stop, despite playing second base for the Nats. In the minor leagues, he played short for 259 of 266 games. Danny's a pretty good fielder at that position,too. In 1,182 total chances at short stop in the minors, Episnosa had a .963 fielding percentage with 735 assists and 141 double plays.
At the plate, Espinosa has finally turned it around, and reveals the depth of the Nationals lineup by dropping to the seventh spot in the order. Danny Espinosa is now batting .237 in 317 at-bats.
He has seven home runs and 25 RBI to go with 22 doubles. Danny's 27 walks have contributed to his .309 OBP and .694 OPS. He also has 10 stolen bases in 14 attempts. And he has finally begun to cut back on his strikeouts, as his 99 Ks now rank him third in the NL and sixth in MLB. In mid-June, Espinosa was first in the NL and second in MLB in strikeouts.
Danny Espinosa has righted the ship as a switch-hitter as well. As a right-handed hitter, Espinosa is hitting .297 in 91 at-bats with a .385 OBP and a .868 OPS. And as a left-handed hitter, Espinosa has raised his average to .212 in 226 at-bats, with a .277 OBP and a .622 OPS. Despite his earlier struggles, most of Danny's power numbers have come from the left side of the plate, with five of his seven home runs and 16 of his 25 RBI coming as a left-handed hitter.