Danny Espinosa to miss at least three games, undergo MRI exam for shoulder injury

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Danny Espinosa has played through left shoulder pain for the past week, but after going 0-for-11 with nine strikeouts in three games against the Braves over the weekend the Nationals have decided to give him some time off.

Espinosa, who played 144 of the first 146 games, will miss at least the next three games versus the Dodgers and could be sidelined for longer than that depending on what an MRI exam today reveals.

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes that Espinosa is so worried about the status of his shoulder that he asked Adam LaRoche if the symptoms resembled what the Nationals first baseman went through with a torn labrum that required surgery last year.

Espinosa has 16 homers and 19 steals this season, but his overall production is fairly mediocre (.250 batting average, .722 OPS) and basically matches his career marks (.240 batting average, .729 OPS). However, toss in stellar defense at second base and losing Espinosa would definitely hurt.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.