Danny Espinosa is recovered enough from his wrist injury to be activated from the disabled list, but the second baseman was so bad before being shut down and so bad during his rehab assignment that the Nationals have decided to option him to Triple-A.
Anthony Rendon hitting .338 filling in for Espinosa at second base no doubt played a big part too, but Espinosa was 2-for-17 with 10 strikeouts in six rehab games and hit .158 in 44 games for the Nationals before the DL stint.
Espinosa has talked about liking to work with Triple-A hitting coach Troy Gingrich, who has him studying lots of video of his swing, but unless the Nationals decide that Rendon can’t hack it defensively at second base it could be tough for Espinosa to re-enter their plans.
Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.
Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.
With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.