Nationals outfielder Wily Mo Pena, a popular sleeper source for power this season, underwent an MRI exam that showed a significant tear in his left oblique muscle. He’s expected to miss approximately a month with the malady.
“We were willing to give the guy the opportunity to get 500 at-bats, and now another year is going to go by and next year we’ll probably be hearing the same thing about him,” Nationals manager Manny Acta told the Associated Press.
This would theoretically mean another popular sleeper I have trumpeted on this site (Elijah Dukes) would get a starting job, but he left Friday’s split squad game after straining his right hamstring. “It was almost like a little strain or cramp kind of feeling,” Dukes said. “I knew that if I could get up that quick, it couldn’t be a big deal, but it’s always scary to get that feeling that I could be hurt.”
He’s considered day-to-day, and is still the favorite to be the starter in left field when the season begins. That said, he didn’t seem real confident in that role, telling the AP, “I don’t know what my role is going to be,” Dukes said. “When he comes back, I’ll probably be the fourth guy again, so we’ll see what happens.”
What? Isn’t that like saying, “I’m thankful for the opportunity, but I’m not sure how effective I’ll be?”
Nevertheless, count me among the believers that Dukes has made significant progress mentally and appears as though he’s not as much of an off-the-field liability. The only negative development with this news is that you probably have to bump up Dukes auction value a couple bucks by the time your auction or draft rolls around, because despite the injury it still seems as though many more of your competing owners will be aware of him.link