[Updated: 11:25 p.m.]
Yunel Escobar was forced to leave Friday night's loss to the Brewers in the top of the first inning after the Nationals third baseman collided with both the railing and a fan seated down the left-field line trying to chase a foul popup.
The injury was diagnosed as a hyper-extended neck, according to Matt Williams. Escobar is considered day-to-day.
"He ran into a fan trying to catch that ball. As he went to reach for it, he kinda leaned over with his upper body," Wiliams explained. "The fence caught him at the waste and hyperextended his neck a little bit. So he’s a little sore. We’ll see how he istomorrow. For now, he’s day to day."
Escobar ran about 75 feet in search of Ryan Braun's popup behind third base, missing an over-the-shoulder catch by a few inches before slamming into the short wall along the warning track. He also slammed face first into a fan seated in the first row behind the wall, knocking the man to the ground and leaving Escobar dazed.
Williams and head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz emerged from the Nationals' dugout to check on Escobar, who after being examined slowly walked off the field and back down the dugout steps.
Anthony Rendon shifted from second base to third base in Escobar's absence, while Danny Espinosa came off the bench to take over at second base. Top prospect Trea Turner, just called up from Class AAA Syracuse earlier in the day, was left as the club's lone backup infielder.
That forced Williams to get creative and in the bottom of the fifth he called on starting pitcher Max Scherzer to pinch-hit.
"We’re short anyway. Anytime your short and you lose that guy early, you’re a man down at that point. It’s easier if your starter goes long and he’s deep into a game but that didn’t happen tonight. We got through it though. We had enough guys," Williams said.