MLB News

Nationals third baseman Nick Senzel breaks thumb during practice hours before Opening Day

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USATSI

Nationals third baseman Nick Senzel was scratched from the Opening Day lineup Thursday with what turned out to be a broken thumb, manager Dave Martinez announced after the game. Senzel fractured his thumb during pregame warmups, injuring the digit while fielding a ground ball, according to Andrew Golden of the Washington Post. He was subsequently replaced in the lineup by journeyman infielder Ildemaro Vargas.

Senzel, 28, signed with the Nationals over the offseason after being non-tendered by the Cincinnati Reds. In his first five big-league seasons, he batted .239/.302/.369 (77 OPS+) with 33 home runs and -1.6 Wins Above (or, in this case, below) Replacement. Senzel is a former top prospect, having been selected second overall in the 2016 draft. The Nationals, in turn, were hoping a change of scenery could enliven his bat. 

For now, Senzel will have to wait to prove them right or not.

The Nationals intend to promote Trey Lipscomb to the majors in Senzel’s wake, according to Golden. Lipscomb, Washington’s third-round pick in 2022, split last season between High- and Double-A. He hit .272/.311/.419 with 14 home runs and 10 stolen bases. It’s worth noting that Lipscomb struck out 76 more times than he walked in 129 games. 

The Nationals’ other top options at third base included Vargas and Jake Alu, who is already part of their 40-player roster. For now, though, it appears that Lipscomb will get the first opportunity to replace Senzel in the lineup.

Brady House, the Nationals’ No. 3 prospect and a former first-round pick himself, seems likely to debut over the course of the summer given that he hasn’t yet appeared in a Triple-A contest.

The Nationals will have Friday off before resuming their series with the Reds on Saturday.

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