WASHINGTON – The Nationals are adapting to life after Bryce Harper. They will have to get used to life without Trea Turner, too.
At the bottom of the first inning of a long-awaited game against the Philadelphia Phillies that was considered the return home of Harper, Turner left early with an undisplaced fracture on his right index finger. Manager Dave Martinez said there is not yet a timetable for his return.
"It's a big loss, he's our starting shortstop, but we have to move on," Martinez said.
The injury occurred with one out and nobody, when Turner tried to hit a 0-1 offer from Phillies starter Zach Eflin. Eflin's 92-mph fastball hit Turner on his finger, causing him to fall back to the ground.
Former Nationals star Bryce Harper returned to D.C. Tuesday night as a member of the Phillies and was booed lustfully all night. But Harper would have the last laugh, throwing a gigantic two-run home run in Philadelphia's 8-2 victory.
Although it was not clear if the ball hit Turner's bat in addition to his finger, plate referee Paul Emmel ruled that the ball's throwing was a foul hit.
After being treated by the medical staff of the team, Turner entered the bench by his own means. He was replaced by the man of utility Wilmer Difo, who completed the turn at the bat putting himself against Eflin.
"It does not matter if it's the first game or the last game of the year, injuries are not fun," Turner said. "It takes you out of the lineup, it takes you out of the game and you just want to be in. It's not fun, but it is what it is."
It is not the first time that Turner suffers an injury after being hit by a pitch. In June of 2017, he suffered a broken wrist when he was hit by a fastball from Cubs reliever Pedro Strop. Turner lost two months as a result of the injury.
"Every time you lose your initial shortstop for an extended period of time, especially a player as talented as Trea, it's hard to swallow," said first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. "But the season does not stop for anyone, so I have to continue."
An old first-round selection of San Diego Padres, Turner was acquired by Washington in a 2015 exchange. The following year, he hit .342, stole 33 bases in 73 games and finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year vote.
Turner had a quick start this season, and finished with 5 of 13 with two homers and four stolen bases in the first three games of the Nats. His three steals on Opening Day tied a major league record. Against the Mets on Sunday, he went deep twice, including a home run that gave Washington a 6-5 victory.
First base Matt Adams also left early Tuesday's game, after he fell on a railing trying to catch a foul at the top of the first inning. The Nats said Adams was removed due to spasms in the back, and was replaced by pinch-hitter Ryan Zimmerman in the bottom of the quarter.
Washington has already been hit by injuries, losing service veteran Howie Kendrick (hamstring) and outfielder Michael A. Taylor (hip, knee) during spring training. If Turner loses the extended time, Difo will probably badume as the initial short field.