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Nats call up Difo, place Werth on DL

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Nats call up Difo, place Werth on DL

Updated at 6:21 p.m.

The Nationals have promoted Wilmer Difo from Class AA Harrisburg and will have their top infield prospect in uniform Tuesday night against the Yankees in a surprising move necessitated by outfielder Jayson Werth going on the 15-day disabled list with a left wrist contusion.

Difo was summoned to D.C. on Monday night, but the Nationals didn't make the transaction official until Tuesday afternoon, when they determined Werth's injured wrist hadn't healed enough to allow him to return to the lineup.

An MRI taken of Werth's wrist Monday showed no fractures or tendon damage, according to a source familiar with the results, suggesting the injury is not serious. The veteran outfielder, though, needs more time to let the wrist (which was struck by a pitch in San Diego on Friday) heal before he can play, so a stint on the 15-day DL became necessary. The move is back-dated to May 16, so Werth will be eligible to return on May 31.

"It's still swollen," manager Matt Williams said. "So we have to get that taken care of before he can even start back. Three days down already. Not really ready for a few more to even get back to swinging, and then working through that. So it's important for us to have a full 25[-man] roster, and if he's going to be down for another week before he can get back in the game anyway, than we're looking at 10 days."

Difo's ascension to the big leagues is way ahead of schedule — he spent all of 2014 at low-Class A Hagerstown and has played only 33 games this season between high-Class A Potomac and Harrisburg — but his call-up likely will be short-term and isn't indication the organization believes he's ready to play at the major-league level on a regular basis yet.

The Nationals had only four healthy minor-league position players on their 40-man roster: Difo, outfielders Matt den Dekker and Brian Goodwin, catcher Dan Butler. With Michael Taylor, Tyler Moore and Clint Robinson all already on the major-league roster and able to play left field in Werth's absence, the organization didn't necessarily need to add another outfielder to the mix.

"He gives us a lot of options," Williams said. "He gives us another middle infielder without having to move Yunel [Escobar from third base], potentially. It allows us to utilize Dan Uggla a little bit more than ordinary, because he would be the other middle infielder. There's a lot of things that go into it, but he provides a lot of things for us."

Difo, 23, offers the club extra infield help and speed off the bench on a short-term basis. He's hitting a combined .315 with a .367 0n-base percentage and .887 OPS while stealing seven bases in eight tries so far this season. The Dominican native will become the first player signed by the Nationals out of Latin America to reach the big leagues since the 2009 revelation that a prospect claiming to be named Esmailyn Gonzalez had falsified his identity, leading to then-GM Jim Bowden's resignation and the promotion of Mike Rizzo to take over baseball operations.

Difo made an impression on the organization this spring, his first in big-league camp, but he admittedly didn't think his debut would come yet.

"Obviously he was surprised it was so soon, but he felt he was prepared," said bullpen catcher Octavio Martinez, interpreting for Difo. "That's what he works for, to help out any way he can."

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Nationals Roundup: Late Victor Robles magic not enough as Braves walk-off Nats

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Nationals Roundup: Late Victor Robles magic not enough as Braves walk-off Nats

As you would expect a first-place NL East team to do, the Atlanta Braves bounced back to even the series with Washington Friday night inside SunTrust Park. Josh Donaldson erased Victor Robles' game-tying, two-run home run with his walk-off single in the ninth. Atlanta improved to 59-40 and increased its lead over the Nationals to 6.5 games with a 4-3 final. 

Consider these notes as Washington grinds through a pivotal series in Atlanta: 

Player Notes:

Washington's first-year lefty didn't have his best stuff going Friday night in Atlanta. Patrick Corbin tossed just five innings allowing eight hits, two runs, two walks on 100 pitches. He struck out five Braves on his 30th birthday. 

The Nationals' third baseman has brought new meaning to the word 'consistency' all year long in his first season as an All-Star. Two games into this four-game series in Atlanta, Anthony Rendon has five hits, a walk, and 2 RBI.  

Victor Robles brought the fireworks in the ninth at SunTrust Park. The 22-year-old delivered a game-tying, two-run home run off Luke Jackson. The long-ball traveled a whopping 446 feet. 

The Fernando Rodney experience was alive and well. Davey Martinez made the questionable decision to bring his 42-year-old back out in the ninth for a second consecutive inning. It backfired. Just 14 of his 32 pitches were thrown for strikes. 

Injuries: 

SP Max Scherzer: Back, Expected to be out until at least Jul 25

RP Jonny Venters: Back, Expected to be out until at least Jul 26

SP Jeremy Hellickson: Shoulder, Expected to be out until at least Jul 20

RP Justin Miller: Shoulder, Expected to be out until at least Jul 20

RP Koda Glover: Elbow, Expected to be out until at least Aug 7

RP Austen Williams: Shoulder, Expected to be out until at least Jul 26

Coming Up:

Saturday 7/20: Nationals at Braves, 7:20 p.m., SunTrust Park 

Sunday 7/21: Nationals at Braves, 7:20 p.m., SunTrust Park 

Monday 7/22: Nationals vs. Rockies, 7:05 p.m., Nationals Park 

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Donaldson's 9th-inning single lifts Braves over Nats 4-3 despite Robles' heroics

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Donaldson's 9th-inning single lifts Braves over Nats 4-3 despite Robles' heroics

Donaldson's 9th-inning single lifts Braves over Nats 4-3

ATLANTA -- Josh Donaldson's bases-loaded single off Fernando Rodney in the ninth inning lifted the Atlanta Braves over the Washington Nationals 4-3 on Friday night after Luke Jackson allowed a tying, two-run homer to Victor Robles in the top half.

Ronald Acuna Jr., who had three hits, led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk off Rodney (0-3) and took second on Dansby Swanson's single. Freddie Freeman walked on four pitches, loading the bases.

Nationals manager Dave Martinez brought in left fielder Juan Soto as a fifth infielder, including three on the left side against the right-handed hitting Donaldson.

Donaldson hit a 2-0 pitch over Robles to center-field warning track, and the Braves boosted their NL East lead to 6 games over the second-place Nationals. Atlanta had lost its previous five home games against Washington.

Robles' homer went 446 feet to left, giving Jackson his seventh blown save in 24 chances.

Julio Teheran gave up one hit through five scoreless innings and retired 14 consecutive hitters before pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra singled with one out in the sixth. Anthony Rendon chased Teheran with a two-out RBI single.

Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin couldn't win on his 30th birthday while paired with catcher Yan Gomes, who turned 32. Corbin and Gomes became only the second pitcher-catcher tandem to start together on their birthdays since 1900, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Chicago Cubs pitcher Dave Hillman and catcher Jim Fanning did it against Pittsburgh on Sept. 14, 1957.

Corbin allowed two runs and eight hits in five innings. He struck out Ozzie Albies with the bases loaded in the first and fanned Albies to end the fifth with two out.

Albies hit a two-out double in the fourth and scored on Austin Riley's double. Freeman was 2 for 20 in his career against Corbin before his RBI single in the fifth.

Acuna's RBI double against Tanner Rainey gave the Braves a 3-1 lead.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer, on the 10-day IL since July 10 with an injury originally announced as a mid-back strain, was given a cortisone shot on Tuesday to address inflammation in the bursa sac under his right shoulder blade. Scherzer still has some discomfort and must throw a bullpen session before cleared to pitch in a game. With Scherzer unavailable, RHP Austin Voth is expected to start in Sunday night's series finale.

Braves: RHP Patrick Weigel, who had Tommy John surgery in 2017, was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to make his major league debut Saturday. RHP Wes Parsons also was recalled from Gwinnett. RHPs Kyle Wright and Touki Toussaint were optioned to Gwinnett.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Anibal Sanchez (5-6, 3.71) is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts this season against the Braves, his former team.

Braves: Rookie RHP Mike Soroka (10-1, 2.24) will try to win his sixth straight decision on Saturday night. The 21-year-old right-hander became the youngest pitcher in franchise history to be selected an All-Star.

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