The Washington Nationals‘ biggest offseason acquisition will be unavailable for the foreseeable future.
The 28-year-old was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday, though results of the test have yet to be revealed. There’s still no timetable for his return.
“We’re hopeful it’s not as serious as it looked,” manager Dusty Baker said on Saturday, according to The Associated Press.
Eaton sustained the injury while running out a ground ball for an infield single in the ninth inning of Friday’s contest against the New York Mets. When he stretched across first base to beat the throw, he stepped on the bag awkwardly and immediately fell to the ground in pain. He had to be carried off the field by Nationals trainers and manager Dusty Baker.
Losing Eaton for any amount of time would be a significant blow to Washington’s championship hopes. Acquired from the White Sox in a blockbuster offseason trade, he has since fit perfectly into the top of his new team’s lineup, slashing .297/.393/.462 with two homers, three stolen bases, and 24 runs scored while hitting out of both the leadoff and No. 2 slots.
In a corresponding move, the Nationals recalled outfielder Rafael Bautista from Triple-A Syracuse to fill Eaton’s spot on the 25-man roster. The 24-year-old Dominican is ranked as the Nationals’ No. 13 prospect by MLB Pipeline, and owns a .680 OPS and three stolen bases in 19 Triple-A contests.