Nationals lose Trea Turner with broken wrist after hit by pitch

Another Washington Nationals bullpen implosion wasn’t the most painful part of Thursday’s 5-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs. The team also lost shortstop Trea Turner to a broken right wrist.

Turner’s injury occurred during his at-bat in the seventh inning. On the fourth pitch, Turner was hit by a 93 mph fastball. He appeared to be in a lot of pain, but remained in the game.

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The pain must have gotten worse as the game went on. Turner was able to play the field in the eighth, even catching a pop out for the third out of the inning. When the team took the field for the top of the ninth, however, he had been removed as part of a double switch.

The team sent Turner for X-rays, which revealed a broken wrist. There is no timetable for his return.

Though Turner wasn’t off to the same blazing start as last season, he was beginning to heat up in June. During the month, Turner hit .295/.358/.402. That brought his overall line up to .277/.318/.421 on the year.

With Turner down, the Nationals now need to fill two obvious holes at the trade deadline. The team’s bullpen remains a mess, and was at the center of yet another meltdown during Thursday’s game. Blake Treinen couldn’t shut the door, giving up three runs in the top of the ninth for the loss.

Trea Turner is out indefinitely with a broken right wrist. (AP Photo)

Adding another reliever has been on the team’s radar for months, but they haven’t been able to strike a deal just yet. There have been rumors that general manager Mike Rizzo has tried to add players, but has been rebuffed by ownership. That could be an issue now that the team will also be looking for a shortstop at the deadline.

If there’s a positive here, it’s that the Nationals have a fairly large lead at the top of the National League East. Washington currently holds a nine-game advantage over the second place Atlanta Braves. Unless the New York Mets or Miami Marlins get their acts together, the Nationals are still in good shape to take the division.

That’s not the goal, though. The Nationals expectations are higher than simply playing in October. The team has World Series aspirations now. With Bryce Harper’s free agency looming after next season, there’s pressure on the club to do whatever it can to win as soon as possible.

Revamping the bullpen and finding a suitable replacement for Turner should be at the top of the list. While Turner should be back and healthy by the time the team needs him, wrist injuries can be tricky. Considering the Nationals’ ultimate goal, they can’t afford to take any chances.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!