As Ian Desmond grimaced and slowly walked down the first base line in the eighth inningThursday night, it seemed for an instant as if the Nationals were on the verge of losing their shortstop for the foreseeable future.
Desmond's injury came as a result of a hit-by-pitch from Orioles reliever Darren O'Day, whose 88 miles-per-hour fastball hit Desmond flush on the right thumb. He immediately hopped out of the batter's box and howled in pain before eventually taking first base. Though in obvious discomfort, Desmond initially stayed in the game even after team trainers came out onto the field to evaluate him.
"It was kind of like you got hit in the funny bone where it's not really that funny," he said afterward. "That's kind of what it felt like. "
However, Desmond wasn't long for the game, eventually leaving between innings after attempting to field ground balls and making an errant throw to first base. He was replaced by Danny Espinosa and was taken into the clubhouse for x-rays, which came out negative.
"Good news is there’s no fracture," said manager Matt Williams "He’ll be sore for a couple games, I’m sure."
Asked if he'd miss any games, Desmond said: "I don't think so."
Though the Nats got encouraging news that his thumb isn't broken, it's not certain there'll be an immediate return to the lineup. He's been one of the few position players on the team not to miss an extended period of playing time due to injury this season. He's missed just one game, while seven regulars in the lineup have spent time on the disabled list.
"I think I'm in good hands," Desmond said. "You just hope for the best and pray."
Desmond leads the team in home runs and RBIs, and finished Thursday's game with a hit and a run driven in over three at-bats.