Outfielder Michael A. Taylor has been diagnosed with a sprained left knee and hip, manager Dave Martinez told reporters including Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post. Taylor is expected to “miss a significant amount of time,” said Martinez.
Taylor, 28, who will have a major role in the outfield this year will most likely start the season on the Injured List (Disabled List). Victor Robles will most likely start in center on opening day. Robles, 21, is currently raking this spring with a slash line of .375/.475/.594 in 40 plate appearances. He’s also added two bombs and seven RBIs.
After a down season last year after turning in a solid 2017, Taylor has gotten off to a hot start after simplifying his swing over the offseason. Currently, Taylor is hitting .360/.407/.600 in 27 plate appearances. Taylor has also added a homer with four RBIs.
The Nationals now have a problem with depth in their outfield after the Taylor injury. Although it was projected he’d be the fourth outfielder on opening day splitting time with Robles and Adam Eaton to give Eaton some rest after undergoing two major leg surgeries over the past two seasons.
The Nats suddenly have a problem with outfield depth, a problem they haven’t dealt with since Bryce Harper was called up in 2012. Howie Kendrick, projected to play the corner outfield positions can’t run at full speed after suffering a leg injury earlier in camp. Wilmer Difo can suit up for the corner outfield positions if needed also. The Nationals invited two non-roster outfielders to camp this year. Chuck Taylor and Hunter Jones seem to now be battling it out for a fourth outfielder job after the injury to Taylor.
Chuck Taylor, 25, a fourth-round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2014 has had a nice start to spring collecting six hits in 18 at-bats while adding a homer to his stats.
Jones, 27, was an 11th round pick of the Indians in 2011. Jones has collected six hits in 24 at-bats this spring but hasn’t driven anybody in or hit the ball out of the ballpark.
There’s a real chance that the Nats could play Difo in center and attempt to make him a super utility player because adding Chuck Taylor or Jones to the Major League roster would require an opening on the 40 man roster.