Nats’ hot-hitting Schwarber out with hamstring strain

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kyle Schwarber limped into the Washington Nationals’ dugout on Saturday with a heavy wrap poking out of the right side of his shorts.

Schwarber was in shower shoes and trying to be upbeat when meeting with reporters after being placed on the 10-day injured list because of a right hamstring strain. There is no timetable for his return.

“It’s not the best, but not the worst,” Schwarber said. “Just got to take it for what it is.”

He was among the hottest hitters in the majors, bashing 16 home runs in June, seven of them leading off games. All were critical for the Nationals, who went 19-9 in the month to turn their season around.

Schwarber said he does not need a procedure to repair damage to his hamstring. Instead, he will use compression treatment to reduce swelling. Rest and strengthening exercises will follow.

He has not had a hamstring injury previously. Schwarber tore two ligaments in his left knee in 2016. But a furious recovery pace allowed him to rejoin the Chicago Cubs for the World Series, during which he hit .412 in five games on the way to a title.

“That worked out,” he said with a laugh.

Schwarber said he heard a pop right before he reached first base in the second inning on Friday night. He hit a line drive into the right-center field gap and thought he could make it to second base. Dodgers center fielder Cody Bellinger cut the ball off, preventing it from rolling to the warning track, and forced Schwarber into an abrupt stop. He immediately reached for his hamstring on the way back to first.

An MRI on Saturday revealed what the team called a “significant” strain.

“A lot of thoughts go through your head,” Schwarber said. “You’re hoping it’s not bad. You know the kind of state the team’s in right now in terms of the injuries coming around here. The biggest thing that just popped in my head was hopefully it’s not too serious. It wasn’t the worst news I could get.”

Washington’s injured list includes starting pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Erick Fedde, relievers Tanner Rainey, Daniel Hudson, Kyle Finnegan and Will Harris, outfielder Andrew Stevenson, utility infielder Jordy Mercer and backup catcher Alex Avila.

Washington sent cash to the Kansas City Royals for Alcides Escobar, who has not been in the major leagues since 2018, on Saturday to provide infield depth. Starting shortstop Trea Turner jammed his left middle finger on Wednesday. He has not played since then, but has not been placed on the injured list. Escobar started Saturday night against Los Angeles.

The Nationals also recalled Yadiel Hernandez and catcher Tres Barrera from Triple-A Rochester on Saturday.

Gerardo Parra and Hernandez will play left field in Schwarber’s absence.

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