Nationals’ Turner fractures wrist on HBP

The Washington Nationals lost more than just another ninth-inning lead Thursday.

Shortstop and red-hot leadoff man Trea Turner suffered a non-displaced fracture in his right wrist after being hit by a pitch during Thursday’s 5-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs, according to George Wallace of WTOP.

Per Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post, there is no timetable for Turner’s return.

Turner was hit by a 96 mph fastball from Pedro Strop in the seventh inning. Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post reported that Turner was seen flexing his hand in the aftermath; nevertheless he remained in the game to run the bases and played the eighth inning defensively. He then left the game in the top of the ninth and was replaced at shortstop by Stephen Drew.

Losing Turner for any amount of time would be a massive blow for the first-place Nationals. The 23-year-old leads all of baseball with 35 stolen bases, and twice tied a franchise record this month with a pair of four-steal games. He’s also been one of the best players league-wide this month, having entered Thursday’s game hitting .295/.358/.402 with six extra-base hits, 23 runs scored, and 20 stolen bases in June.

It’s likely that manager Dusty Baker will turn to a combination of Drew and Wilmer Difo at shortstop for however long Turner is absent. It’s possible that another reinforcement could show up, though, as shortstop Adrian Sanchez was removed from his game at Triple-A Syracuse shortly after news of Turner’s injury broke, according to Janes.

Turner owns a .746 OPS and seven home runs on the season. His 35 stolen bases are the most by a Nationals/Expos player before the All-Star break since Montreal’s Marquis Grissom stole 45 in the first half of 1992, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

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