Injured thumb limits Maxwell to outfield duty

Injured thumb limits Maxwell to outfield duty

PHILADELPHIA -- Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said he wanted to get a long look at center fielder Justin Maxwell before the season came to an end. Watching Maxwell at the plate has been put on hold, for he is not expected to hit for a couple games because of a right thumb injury. He can still become a defensive replacement like he was in Sunday's 7-6 loss to the Phillies.

Maxwell hurt the thumb in the fourth inning Saturday, when he hit into a double play against Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick. The injury got so bad that Maxwell couldn't grip the bat when it was time to come to the plate in the seventh inning. Willie Harris ended up pinch-hitting for Maxwell.

"I jammed myself. I couldn't get a hold of the bat," Maxwell said. "I didn't want to go out there. It was still a close game. I didn't want to waste an at-bat with the team. [The trainers] said it's like a day-to-day thing -- get treatment."

The injury comes at a bad time for Maxwell. The Nationals are trying to figure out if he is worth keeping. Maxwell has been in and out of the Major Leagues the past two years because of an inconsistent bat.

Maxwell is hitting .141 with three home runs and 10 RBIs. The Nationals were planning to play Maxwell on a consistent basis because center fielder Nyjer Morgan is serving an eight-game suspension.