Yunel Escobar exits game after being hit in the hand by a pitch

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So, that thing about the Nationals’ projected Opening Day lineup finally being in place? Well, Denard Span sat out tonight’s game against the Padres with a sore back and Yunel Escobar was forced to exit in the sixth inning after he was hit in the right hand by a pitch.

Escobar was hit by Andrew Cashner with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth inning. It brought in the Nationals’ first run of the night and tied the game. The Nationals would score another run in the inning to take the lead. Escobar remained in the game initially before Danny Espinosa replaced him in the lineup and Anthony Rendon moved over to third. The Nationals should provide an update after the game.

Escobar has been all sorts of banged up this season and just missed some time last weekend with a hyperextended neck. The 32-year-old has still managed to be one of the Nationals’ best players, batting .308/.367/.423 with nine home runs and 42 RBI over 112 games.

Robinson Canó benched for lack of hustle

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Mets second baseman Robinson Canó is not in the lineup for Monday’s series opener against the division rival Nationals. Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, it’s punishment for failing to run hard on a pair of double plays over the weekend against the Marlins.

Manager Mickey Callaway said, “He understands that it’s unacceptable to not run balls out. He understands that he needs to do that at all times.”

Canó first gaffe came in the top of the seventh inning on Friday, with his team trailing 7-3. Facing Adam Conley, Canó hit a grounder back to the pitcher, who turned a 1-6-3 double play. Canó was only halfway up the first base line when the throw got to first base.

In the fourth inning on Sunday, with the game still scoreless, Canó tapped a Sandy Alcantara pitch in the dirt. Thinking it was foul, Canó didn’t run, but catcher Chad Wallach charged and grabbed the ball while it was still in fair territory. He threw to second base for the force out and then the ball was easily whipped to first base to complete the double play as Canó still thought it was foul.

This likely wouldn’t be as big a deal as it currently is if Canó were actually producing at the plate and if the Mets weren’t in a freefall. Canó has a .245/.293/.374 batting line on the season. Meanwhile, the Mets are 20-25 and riding a five-game losing streak which includes having been shut out in each of their last two games.