NEW YORK — Wilmer Difo fractured a bone in his hand diving into first base Saturday night, an unfortunate and abrupt end to the rookie’s first career start for the Nationals.
Difo suffered a fracture of the fourth metacarpal bone in his left hand, the club announced following Saturday’s 2-0 victory over the Mets. Recovery time for that type of injury is typically 6-to-8 weeks, which shouldn’t disrupt Difo’s offseason program much.
The injury occurred in the top of the third inning at Citi Field, as Difo tried to beat out a grounder to first base. With the Mets’ Michael Cuddyer tossing the ball to a hard-charging Matt Harvey, Difo dove headfirst into the base, slamming his left hand into the side of the bag. Umpire Jim Wolf initially ruled out on the play, but the Nationals challenged the call and won on appeal after review officials in nearby Manhattan overturned it into a single, the Nats’ first hit off Harvey.
Difo remained in the game to run the bases, but when the bottom of the third arrived, Dan Uggla took his position at second base.
This was Difo’s first career start in the big leagues and only his second appearance in the field. He had appeared in 13 previous games as a pinch-hitter or pinch-runner.
The 23-year-old infielder finished with two hits in 11 at-bats, scoring one run and striking out twice. He hit a combined .286 with five homers, 53 RBI, 30 stolen bases and a .325 on-base percentage in 106 minor-league games between Class A Potomac and Class AA Harrisburg.