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Nats weighing whether to call up Espinosa

Nats weighing whether to call up Espinosa

Nats weighing whether to call up Espinosa

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals have not decided if they will call up second baseman Danny Espinosa on Sunday, when rosters can expand. A baseball source familiar with Espinosa believes he will not play another big league game this year.

The person pointed out that Espinosa has 96 strikeouts in 287 at-bats for Triple-A Syracuse. Those numbers don't help the Nationals, who are trying to trade Espinosa, according to the source. Espinosa also has a .208 batting average for Syracuse entering Tuesday's action.

Espinosa's agent, Scott Boras, acknowledged that the infielder has to refine his approach at the plate.

"The Danny that we all know has the Major League tools to play shortstop and second base in the big leagues," Boras said. "Every park that I go into will ask me about Danny. They want to know what he is doing. So the guy has real value. The thing he has to go through is get an approach that will help him become very consistent [at the plate]."

In Espinosa's defense, he has been dealing with injuries dating back to last September. First, he had a torn rotator cuff, which hampered him during the National League Division Series against the Cardinals. Then he had right wrist problems, which put him on the disabled list this June. He was optioned to Syracuse a couple of weeks later. About three weeks ago, Espinosa was dealing with a thumb injury, according to Boras.

The Nationals will decide to bring up either Espinosa or Zach Walters. Whomever comes up, the player will be a backup infielder. Espinosa could have the edge because he is an excellent defender and could play shortstop if Ian Desmond needs a break.

Walters is having a far better season offensively, hitting 29 home runs with 76 RBIs. But he is not in Espinosa's class defensively. Walters has made 34 errors this season, most of them coming at shortstop.

The Nationals will not make a decision on Espinosa and Walters until the middle of the week, according to manager Davey Johnson.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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