Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa undergoes hand surgery

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Depending on what moves the Nationals make this offseason Danny Espinosa could be the favorite to start at second base on Opening Day, but he’ll be out of commission for at least the next six weeks after undergoing surgery today to remove the hook of the hamate bone from his right hand.

Espinosa had been playing winter ball in Puerto Rico, where he hit .345 in 87 at-bats after making his big-league debut in September with a .214/.277/.447 line in 28 games.

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that Espinosa is expected to be fully healthy in time for spring training, but notes that his future double-play partner, Ian Desmond, “suffered significant complications from a similar procedure during his time in the minors, but only because a doctor botched the initial operation.”

Astros release Jon Singleton

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The Astros have released first baseman Jon Singleton, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Singleton, 26, was suspended for 100 games after testing positive for a drug of abuse for a third time. He has had issues with marijuana in the post and admitted to being a drug addict several years ago. He said, “At this point it’s pretty evident to me that I’m a drug addict. I don’t openly tell everyone that, but it’s pretty apparent to myself. I know that I enjoy smoking weed, I enjoy being high and I can’t block that out of my mind that I enjoy that. So I have to work against that.”

Singleton played parts of two seasons in the majors in 2014-15 with the Astros, batting a combined .171/.290/.331 with 14 home runs and 50 RBI in — appropriately — 420 plate appearances. He spent 2016 with Triple-A Fresno and 2017 with Double-A Corpus Christi, putting up middling numbers.

If he can convince teams he’s still actively working to overcome his addiction, Singleton may be able to find an opportunity elsewhere. But his road back to the majors remains long. He was once a top prospect in the Phillies’ system, then was traded to the Astros in the Hunter Pence deal back in July 2011.