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Trea Turner leaves game with scary injury after being struck by pitch on bunt attempt vs. Phillies

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Trea Turner leaves game with scary injury after being struck by pitch on bunt attempt vs. Phillies

Update (11:48 PM)

After the game, Davey Martinez updated the media on Trea Turner's injury.

The star shortstop underwent X-rays during the game, and it showed he broke his right index finger. It's unclear how long Turner will be on the shelf, but Martinez did reference that he's "our starting shortstop," saying it's "a big loss."

Wilmer Difo will fill in for the Nationals in the meantime, and it wouldn't be out of the question for them to consider calling up top prospect Carter Kieboom, much like they did last year with Juan Soto in response to Adam Eaton's early injury.

ORIGINAL STORY

Trea Turner has had quite a start to 2019. With four stolen bases and two home runs in the first series of the season, including a walk-off home run Sunday to beat the Mets and give the Nationals their first win of the season, the shortstop is on fire.

Unfortunately, that start may have just screeched to a halt, pending further examination.

During his first at-bat against the Phillies Tuesday night, Turner squared around to bunt. He tried to pull back the bat, but the ball ended up striking his finger, and Turner went down. Davey Martinez and the trainer came out to take a look at Turner, and the star shortstop was sent to the dugout and out of the game.

Turner was visibly frustrated as he headed for the dugout, though it’s unclear if he was frustrated at the decision to pull him or the injury itself. It’s probably fair to assume a little bit of both.

As the number two hitter in the lineup, Turner has been arguably the most important, and most valuable, player for the Nationals through three games. It’s obviously early, but he looked to be poised for a breakout, All-Star campaign.

Hopefully for the Nationals this is just a day-to-day injury, but it’s always hard to tell with finger and hand injuries. This early in the season, the Nationals are sure to err on the side of caution when it comes to one of their best players.

Fans may be focused on Bryce Harper’s return, but this injury could end up being the most impactful moment from the Nats’ first meeting with the new-look Phillies.

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The ageless Fernando Rodney to reportedly play in Dominican Winter League

The ageless Fernando Rodney to reportedly play in Dominican Winter League

Only one player in the major leagues threw a pitch while over the age of 40 last season. Fernando Rodney, who in fact is 42 and coming off his first ever World Series title, has appeared in at least 50 games each of the last eight years and 10 of the last 11.

For a player who’s three years older than the second-oldest active pitcher, taking the offseason off wouldn’t just be expected—it’d probably be recommended. But Rodney is taking no such break, reportedly signing up for the Dominican Winter League this offseason.

Leones del Escogido plays in his hometown of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. This will actually be the fifth time Rodney will suit up for the team, most recently doing so last winter.

Rodney is a free agent after being picked up by the Nationals midseason. He’s played 17 years in the majors and ranks 17th all-time in saves with 327.

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How big of a priority is filling the hole at second base for the Nationals?

How big of a priority is filling the hole at second base for the Nationals?

When the Nationals entered the offseason, they had significant needs at seven different areas of the roster: catcher, first base, second base, third base, rotation, bullpen and bench.

Washington made strides toward solidifying the first two by inking catcher Yan Gomes and first baseman Howie Kendrick to separate deals over the first five weeks of the offseason. But with former stars Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon both still on the board, there are still many different directions the Nationals could go this winter.

On this week’s episode of the Nationals Talk podcast, NBC Sports Washington’s Todd Dybas sat down with Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post and MLB.com’s Jamal Collier to talk about the team’s offseason plans. With the needs the Nationals have in so many areas, the writers agreed Washington didn’t need to prioritize second base.

“Second base, to me, feels like it would probably be the last thing on my checklist if I’m the Nats,” Collier said. “You’re going to operate on some kind of budget and you have to spend money on re-signing [Stephen] Strasburg, figuring out whatever you’re going to do at third base…and you have to do something with this bullpen as well.”

Right now, the Nationals have top prospect Carter Kieboom as a potential option to take the starting job out of Spring Training. They also have veteran utility players Wilmer Difo and Adrian Sanchez on the roster, but neither has been able to produce consistently on the offensive end.

“I would probably band-aid it with probably a cheaper option than Brian Dozier,” Dougherty said. “Maybe even give Carter the shot but have a veteran behind him…César Hernández makes a ton of sense to me. He’s a switch hitter, he can play multiple positions, you have a hole at utility player.”

Dybas also mentioned Starlin Castro as a potential option. Castro played all 162 games for the Miami Marlins last season, hitting .270 with a career-high 22 home runs. He’ll be 30 years old on Opening Day and was lauded by his former club for his clubhouse presence.

One potential option that came off the board in recent weeks was Mike Moustakas, who inked a four-year, $64 million deal with the Cincinnati Reds. A natural third baseman, Moustakas played 47 games at second for the Milwaukee Brewers last season and is now entrenched there for the Reds moving forward with Eugenio Suarez playing third.

“I hate that Moustakas deal,” Collier said. The Reds are “putting him out of position. He’s not a second baseman. So you’re getting worse defensively for a guy who’s pretty much all power. We don’t know what the shape of the ball is going to be [and] he’s only getting older.”

It was certainly a high price tag, which likely took the Nationals out of the running if second base is an area the team is hoping to save money on. But they also could’ve signed Moustakas to play third, a position that is remarkably light on talent in free agency.

For the full episode, which also includes discussions about Rendon and Strasburg’s prospects of returning to Washington, you can find the Nationals Talk podcast at Art19, Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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