Nationals' Guzman sidelined for season again

Updated: June 25, 2007, 6:31 PM ET
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Washington Nationals shortstop Cristian Guzman will miss the rest of the season following surgery Monday to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb.

The kid was torn emotionally. He was destroyed, basically. Because he had two rough seasons over here and finally he's playing great and being a big part of this team. That was the first thing out of his mouth: 'I want to play through this.'

Manny Acta, Nationals manager

Guzman sprained his left thumb in the fifth inning Sunday while tagging out Cleveland's Josh Barfield at second base on a steal attempt. He did not leave the game.

"He came in and right away he showed me his thumb," Nationals manager Manny Acta said Monday. "It didn't look right. I was going to take him out of the game; he refused. He said 'No! No! No! I can play. I'm fine.'"

Guzman, who hit .329 with 31 runs in 43 games, went on the disabled list Sunday and was operated on by Dr. Richard Barth at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington.

After signing a $16.8 million, four-year contract with the Nationals, Guzman batted just .219 in 2005 and frequently was booed. He missed 2006 because of a shoulder injury.

Guzman was sidelined for more than a month this season after straining his left hamstring on opening day. Acta said Guzman didn't want to give in to the latest injury.

"It's not right. His thumb can go all the way back," Acta said. "It's a freaky thing. [Surgery] was the right decision. The kid was torn emotionally. He was destroyed, basically. Because he had two rough seasons over here and finally he's playing great and being a big part of this team. That was the first thing out of his mouth: 'I want to play through this."'

Acta moved center fielder Brandon Watson into the leadoff spot for Monday night's game against the Atlanta Braves. Felipe Lopez moved from second base to shortstop and Ronnie Belliard moved into the lineup at second.

"We just didn't want to disturb too many things in the lineup," Acta said.

Washington purchased the contract of infielder D'Angelo Jimenez from Triple-A Columbus on Monday to fill Guzman's roster spot.

Starting pitcher Shawn Hill had a cortisone shot in his right elbow during a visit to Dr. James Andrews on Monday. Acta said no structural damage was found, and Hill is expected to be cleared to throw in about 10 days.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press