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Flores injured, leaves game

[UPDATE, 11:27 p.m.]

Manny Acta believes there's a chance Flores can come back before the end of the season, but he's still not sure. (My guess is that Flores is shelved for the year. It makes little sense to rush him back. *) But Acta said that potentially Flores could be ready in 10-12 days.

Asked whether he thought Flores might be back this year, the manager said, "I think so. I'm very optimistic that this probably will go away in10-12 days, but I'm not a doctor, and I didn't stay at that hotel last night either, so don't take my answer for it."

* I didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night either.

[UPDATE, 9:46 p.m.]

I just got off the phone with Josh Kusnick, the agent for C Luke Montz.

Evidently, Montz got word of his promotion about five minutes after Flores' injury. He'll be with the Nats tomorrow, Kusnick said. With Class AAA Columbus this season, Montz batted .256 with 2 HR and 18 RBI.

[UPDATE, 8:33 p.m.]

We've just gotten a medical update on Jesus Flores. The team is saying he has a left ankle sprain. X-rays showed no obvious signs of fracture. An MRI is pending.


The Nationals just lost their catcher -- certainly for the rest of this game, and probably for a lot longer. Jesus Flores, here in the third inning, was just removed from the field on a stretcher after a home plate collision with Philadelphia's Chase Utley, who was trying to steal home. Based on the way Flores was being treated while on the field -- where he remained for some five minutes -- it looks like he has a left leg injury.

Here was the situation:

The Phillies had runners on first and third with two outs. Washington's pitcher, John Lannan, made a pick-off move to first, and just as he let go of the throw, the runner on third, Utley, broke for home.

Flores positioned himself in front of the plate, steeling himself for a collision. He caught the quick throw from first baseman Ronnie Belliard. He stretched out his arm just so slightly to make the catch, leaving himself prone. A half-beat after he caught the ball, Utley collided with him.

Utley was out, and Flores was down. He rolled over toward the batter's box on the left side, where he remained for several minutes. Trainers attended to him. Only once a stretcher was brought onto the field did Flores leave. He was rolled into a small golf-cart sized van and wheeled away.

Updates forthcoming.

By Chico Harlan  |  September 2, 2008; 8:02 PM ET
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Next: Good school?


My guess/interpretation is that the ankle got bent back vertically possibly breaking bone and or tearing tendons and ligaments. I guess they'll tell us soon.

Posted by: NatBisquit | September 2, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

luke montz here we go????

Posted by: love | September 2, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

We helped wreck the Mets last year. This year it's the Phillies. Get 'em guys! Win it for Jesus!

Posted by: Positively Half St. | September 2, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Does Chase get thrown at here?

Posted by: TimDz | September 2, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

John Lannan has experience wrecking Utley. Time for some head hunting.

Posted by: John Lannan, The Real American Hero | September 2, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I've never seen a baseball player leave his feet and go airborne in such an obvious effort to injure a defenseless player.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | September 2, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Now come on, it's not like he did it deliberately... and anyways, after yesterday's plunkfest, the umps probably have a short trigger...

Posted by: SF Fan | September 2, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see cooler heads prevailed. It's only 2-0... hopefully, we can get a run over and have a chance for the win

Posted by: TimDz | September 2, 2008 8:29 PM | Report abuse

According to Luke Montz' agent, he is getting called up.

Posted by: Brian | September 2, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Montz deserves it. I hope Jesus has no lasting damage.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | September 2, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

anybody besides me nervous that hinckley is wearing joey eischen's old jersey number? and since speigner is wearing #37, i presume we've seen the last of mike (756) bacsik?

Posted by: natsscribe | September 2, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

woah woah woah...

If you stop in the basepath on a force-out you are automatically out. That run should not have counted!!

Posted by: natsinthevalley | September 2, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

No, [AB] Utley, he was trying to cause some hurt on that play. Not trying to injure Flores, but the play was clearly designed to seriously knock him so that he would drop the ball. Utley meant to hurt Flores, just not badly enough to take him out of the game.

Oh, but Utley just plays hard, right? That's the game, right. BS. I have seen plenty of hard-playing players make an outside slide and tag the corner with their hand and be safe.

There was no reason for Utley to propel himself into Flores like that. Break his hand again.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 2, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

"If you stop in the basepath on a force-out you are automatically out. That run should not have counted!!"

They got the force at 1B first, so it became a tag play.

Posted by: Ummm no | September 2, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

they shouldnt have needed to tag him is the thing. the minute he stopped he is technically out. therefore he shouldve been out #1 and then the throw to 1st shouldve been out #2, thereby negating the need to tag him.

Posted by: natsinthevalley | September 2, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

506 is totally right. If Utley was trying to score, he hook slides to avoid the tag and is probably safe. The only reason to turn your body into a missile and go after the defenseless catcher is to try to injure the other player. Hey, I'm all for being forgiving where it's deserved (how long have I stuck up for Bergman??) but that sort of thing has no place in MLB. It's no different than a hockey player slashing or a basketball player taking out the legs of a player in mid-air. That was cheap, cheap, cheap, miserable, dirty baseball.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | September 2, 2008 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Jesus should not have been allowed to block the plate until he had the ball. That's the rule. The whole sorry business should be outlawed. No blocking the base, no launching yourself at the catcher/fielder. Too many careers ruined. Jesus Flores, a reason to come to the park, should be calling the game right now. Instead he could be Grant Hill. Utley did just what any of us would do 2 games out with a playoff in the balance. The rule is a barbaric 19th century remnant and should go the way of the 7 ball walk.

Posted by: flynnie | September 2, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

natsinthevalley - unfortunately, it doesn't look like that point is going to matter.

Posted by: SF Fan | September 2, 2008 9:37 PM | Report abuse

are you serious? he is getting called up?

Posted by: montz- | September 2, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

@flynnie--I agree with you there's a rule-change needed. Catchers are constantly exposed to injury in this way. But it's not true that anyone would do the same. It's not a rare play to go for the collision, but it's not the runner's only option. If he slides to the outside of the bag he has a much better chance of being safe than by going for the collision. And given the history with this team I think it strains credulity to give him the 100% benefit of the doubt that it was just a good, clean play.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | September 2, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

SF - True.

well the streak was fun while it lasted

Posted by: natsinthevalley | September 2, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

SoCH-It was hard, legal, ordinary baseball. See Pete Rose ending Ray Fosse's career in the All Star game after he had dinner at Fosse's house the night before. As long as the catcher is blocking the plate, he's vulnerable. Pujols collapsed the Padre's catcher Josh Bard's ankle on just such a slide as you suggested.

Posted by: flynnie | September 2, 2008 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Utley didn't just run into Flores. He launched himself at him, trying to hit him high in order to knock him over and make him drop the ball. Flores was blocking the plate, but not enough that an outside slide would have even been difficult.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 2, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

natsinthevalley, I'm not aware of that rule, do you have the specifics on it? I was always taught by my coaches that if you're the runner at first and the second baseman fields the ball in front of you, you should stop and force the second baseman to either come to you to tag you out or throw to second to get the lead out, and make it tougher for him to turn 2.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | September 2, 2008 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Pete Rose's play was the epitome of dirty baseball in my mind. And in an exhibition game no less.

I understand your point of view, and I've heard the argument many times before. I just disagree. Some people think this kind of thing is acceptable. Some people also think Jack Tatum played good, hard, clean football.

We'll just have to agree to disagree. I find it crazy though that people go ape about a guy cheering for a walk-off homer but a play that you know darn well is likely going to result in an injury to another player is "hard, clean" baseball.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | September 2, 2008 9:55 PM | Report abuse

What Utley would've faced had he not tried to dislodge the ball:

This from Phillies Pholklore, May 21, 2008:

Dobbs was given an opportunity to put the Phils up 2-0 after Victorino hit a double to center field. Lastings Milledge and Christin Guzman both made good throws to get Dobbs out at home. What bothers me, however, is that Dobbs chose to slide into home. I remember Victorino running over Paul Lo Duca last year to score against the Mets, and how big of a moment it was in the course of the season. In a situation in which they had not scored in 18 straight innings, I would have liked to see Dobbs be more aggressive and go over, not around, Jesus Flores.

Posted by: flynnie | September 2, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

In any event, it is hard, clean baseball for a runner to slide into the 2nd baseman (if he is close to the bag) to break up a double play. Don Baylor of course was feared and respected for his ability to do this. Utley will have to cover 2B on some plays like this tomorrow night (and during the last series of the year), and the Nats will have a chance to show him that thwey are playing hard to win, too.

Posted by: CapPeterson | September 2, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Jesus enjoys winning on these plays. I remember the ump waiting to call one of the Marlins out after making sure to see that a bowled-over still had the ball. He did the same to one of the Diamondbacks in the 11th inning of a game this year. He's a man, and he took the risk. You won't hear him shrieking and whining about Utley being a dirty player, either. He's trying to get his team into the playoffs. By the way, let's not forget, Jesus won this one, too.

Posted by: flynnie | September 2, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

So some knucklehead with a blog says it, so it must be true? :-)

BTW, who is "Christin" Guzman?

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | September 2, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Back in the old days I imagine the inning following a play where the second baseman just took out our catcher would be followed with a spikes up slide into any force play at second. Dukes ran through the bag, as I recall.

In slow motion I could see Utley launching his shoulder into Flores' leg while extending his right hand towards the plate. It's called playing hard baseball, and sometimes one of the two get hurt who are involved in the play. I noticed that Uttley, who I think leads the league in being hit by the pitch does not wear all the arm guards that other players do who crowd the plate. I respect him for that, and for the rest of his style of play.

Posted by: Dale | September 2, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

"An MRI is pending." Oh dear lord, he's gonna go D-t-D, isn't he?

Posted by: SF Fan | September 2, 2008 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Wigi, thanks for the explanation of the double play. I had to take my dog to the park, so I left right before the collision.

I find going in hard on a fielder to be despicable. It's the one thing I would change in this game. Ejection, a fine, suspension. Automatic, no exceptions.

Posted by: cat daddy | September 2, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

This was just an unlucky game for the Nats. The inning that started with Belliard getting an infield single and Dukes crashing a ball that bounced over the fence was a huge break for the Phils, since Belliard would have scored. Flores was then robbed on the catch by the center fielder and the double play resulted. Next Gonzales was robbed on hit by Hamels. That could easily have been two runs. Oh well, we were due for a bad turn of luck.

Posted by: Dale | September 2, 2008 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only one who thinks that the first time Dukes gets a chance, he ought to slide hard into Utley? I want our biggest and toughest SOB to be the enforcer.

OK, time for the mature me to take over. I hope the Nats let it slide. I don't need Dukes reinjured or suspended. If there is a chance to avoid contact with Utley or make the play, make the play. But no head hunting. We have 18 or so games a year against the Phils. We'll get our chance within the game.

Posted by: PTBNL | September 2, 2008 10:28 PM | Report abuse

I am quite amazed at the intensity of the reaction concerning the collision at home. To me it is part of the history of the game. I think that every catcher who blocks the plate is expecting a collision with a the runner trying to score, just the same as every ss covering second should expect to have to jump the runner coming in in order to complete the double play. Every hitter who crowds the plate should expect a high inside fastball.

Posted by: Dale | September 2, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

yeah, i'm thinking the one guy on this team we don't want to get into the habit of playing "enforcer" is dukes. that's the exact opposite of how we've been asking him to act.

Posted by: 231 | September 2, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Dukes had his chance to be the enforcer in the next inning and showed the more gentle side of his nature in a force at second.

Posted by: Dale | September 2, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

My first impression was that Utley's play was well within baseball's infamous unwritten rules. I knew there was something that bugged me about, though -- SoCH is right; you don't launch yourself like that to dislodge the ball, you run through the catcher. I don't think I've ever see a runner do that before.

I was glad to see Dukes try to obliterate Utley on a doubleplay later in the game. Didn't quite get him, though, I think Utley was able to dance out of the way.

Posted by: joebleux | September 2, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

God bless Phil Wood. Thank you for being insightful enough to point out to the local media that DC is not the only town that supports a winning team, and drops off support for losing teams. There may be a couple of exceptions because a local team has built up a strong following win or lose, but DC is no different than Miami, Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, Seattle, Phoenix, SF, LA, Denver or other fans.

Posted by: Cabraman | September 2, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

PTBNL, my 1st instinct is to plunk the guy in the knees, but my better instinct is to just knock these jerks out of the playoff picture. Take it to 'em tomorrow and let Utley worry about when the payback comes that never does.

Posted by: cat daddy | September 2, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Dale: it wasn't the next inning; Flores went out in the third; the double play with Dukes was in the 7th. And there wasn't anything gentle about it. Dukes ran straight at Utley full-speed and didn't drop into a slide until the last possible moment. Unfortunately, the television broadcast just the caught the beginning of the contact between Dukes and Utley before they cut to the throw at first base, but since Utley survived, I'm assuming he managed to tippy-toe his way out of paying his dues.

Posted by: joebleux | September 2, 2008 11:02 PM | Report abuse

Dale, I've read the stories about Ty Cobb, but the concept ended for me with Rose. It's a stupid part of the game, same as throwing at people.

Posted by: cat daddy | September 2, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

You won't find me arguing against the unwritten rules and hard baseball.

I would just like you to find me one example of another one of these players leaping into the air with his shoulder extended for the express purpose of bashing the catcher with his shoulder. Utley was not going for the plate, he was going for Flores.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 2, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Something we can all agree on:

Let's win 24!

Posted by: flynnie | September 2, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

I'll bet Pete Rose never read those unwritten rules

Posted by: Ray Fosse | September 2, 2008 11:14 PM | Report abuse

506- It happens a lot. It happened to Flores in Miami and 'Zona. One of the Yankee catchers was injured in a spring training game. Most of these guys played football. They love it.

Posted by: flynnie | September 2, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Just back from the game. Flores looked to be in a great deal of pain, on the ground immediately and for a long five minutes or more.
As soon as it happened, I thought, Uh oh, he's day to day.
In the third inning, the Phillies scored on a play at the plate (I thought they had the out) where Flores couldn't/didn't completely block the plate off. My first impression, while Jesus was on the ground, was that he was going to block the plate no matter what, next time, and Utley went straight for it, and didn't get there.
And speaking as a catcher, on a play at the plate, one of two things happens: you get creamed and you hold onto the ball, or you get creamed and drop the ball.
I've done both.

Posted by: CE | September 2, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

But lordamighty, 1a, can't I leave you in charge for one night without getting someone killed?

Posted by: ce | September 2, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Respect the game. We're in a groove. We proved already we can beat them with Nieves catching. Utley could've dislocated a shoulder and been out for the season. No retaliation, the league won't tolerate it, and we're in a groove. No suspensions. Manny said that Jesus' cleat just got caught in front of the plate.

I love this team! I love how hard they play! I love this line-up - we're in every game! The next 24, and next year, should be fun!

Posted by: flynnie | September 2, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Lannan was wonderful as usual, and how about Mike Hinckley?

Posted by: flynnie | September 2, 2008 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, this many people think it's okay to go out of your way to try to harm someone on the other team? Not talking about colliding when there's no other option, talking about gunning for him with a football move.

You slide hard into second, not to try to break someone's foot, but to try to screw up his throw. It's widely considered bad form to go in spikes up, because the only thing that adds to the practice is the chance of seriously hurting someone.

It's considered wrong to peg someone with your fastball, if you do plunk someone, you do it with a slower pitch, right on the meat. You get the message across without going out of your way to try to hurt someone.

You run a man over in the basepath when there's no way past him. You either run into him or you slide into his leg if it's blocking the plate.

You don't leap over the leg and curl up your shoulder to drive it into his upper body and head area, then go back and try to tag the plate after you've plowed through him.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | September 2, 2008 11:45 PM | Report abuse

506, what did you think Crash meant by "a game of fear and arrogance"?

Posted by: ce | September 2, 2008 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, but when our manager, players and GM says that it was a clean hit, it's a clean hit.
yeah, utley was trying to dislodge the ball, but he wasn't playing dirty...utley's not an ahole... (as opposed to most of the mets and braves) was just unfortunate and thank g-d that flores wasn't hurt more... seriously, next year is our year... SERIOUSLY...

Posted by: NATSIN2009 | September 3, 2008 4:49 AM | Report abuse

Morning after thoughts....

I would love to be privy to a poll from each of the Nationals on how they viewed the play at the plate and what effect that it has on them for future Nats/Phillies games. I would bet that most say that it is part of the game. When the Nats get to be a more powerful team I think that Nats/Phillies series will be among the most intense in the division.

Tonight we face a more beatable pitcher in Blanton. What more serious hurt can we inflict on the Phillies other than taking two of three while they are in a playoff race? Go Nats!

Posted by: Dale | September 3, 2008 6:30 AM | Report abuse

he he ... sorry, ce. I guess that I was too busy putting on rouge and makeup and lipstick. What the? Do people even wear rouge, anymore, Charlie?

"I wish every one of my players would play that way. That would be good. Don't say 'old school.' That's good school. That's the way you play the game. Unless you want to put some rouge and makeup and lipstick on you."

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 3, 2008 7:34 AM | Report abuse

>You don't leap over the leg and curl up your shoulder to drive it into his upper body and head area, then go back and try to tag the plate after you've plowed through him.<

It was Flores' fault for having his knee on the ground, you're generally supposed to block the plate with your foot, that way, his leg just would have shot backwards on impact. Or, Utley would have bounced off Flores' shin and gotten tagged out. The shin guard beats 4 aces every time, usually. Utley could have launched into Flores' chin, which would have caused gnashing for the unwashed, but that's another reason why you keep your mask on for a play at the plate.

Posted by: Brue | September 3, 2008 7:55 AM | Report abuse

More reaction in the new post.

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 3, 2008 8:13 AM | Report abuse

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