WASHINGTON — “It sucks.”
Trea Turner summed up his own injury as succinctly as possible after X-rays confirmed that his wrist–hit by a 96-mph fastball in the seventh inning of Thursday’s game vs. the Chicago Cubs–was indeed fractured.
This is a huge blow to the Washington Nationals, who have finally seen Turner round the corner from dangerous speedster to top-notch baserunner in the last few weeks.
Earlier in this series, he stole four bases in the first three innings of a game, tying his franchise single-game record and becoming the first Major League player to steal four bases in a game twice in one season in two years. Now, he will be shelved indefinitely.
“I’m trying to have a good at-bat right there. You wish it hit you in the back or arm or something — not the hand or wrist, which is never fun,” he said nonchalantly. “I thought about Freddie Freeman earlier in the year, that’s no fun. It is what it is, you have to roll with it.”
Turner actually stayed in the game after the incident, with adrenaline providing the necessary antidote.
“I had tape on my wrist, so initially it didn’t feel that bad. But I went out there and tried throwing. It hurt to lob the ball, but it felt fine when I threw it as hard as I could or basically full speed.”
Full speed is the only way Turner knows how to play. Earlier in the game, he stole two more bases, giving him an MLB-leading 35 on the season.
If Turner suffered a similar injury to Freeman, he’s looking at upwards of 10 weeks away from the team. That would be a return sometime in the beginning of September after the trade deadline and likely after the team’s postseason fate is already known.
The injury is also reminiscent of John Wall’s non-displaced wrist fractures in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal vs. the Atlanta Hawks in 2015. He had most of the offseason to recover from the injury.
Turner will likely be replaced in the lineup, at least initially, by Wilmer Difo, who replaced him off the bench in the ninth inning. The team could also turn to veteran Stephen Drew.