The cortisone injections into his shoulder definitely helped. This much is clear when you realize Danny Espinosa played with a torn rotator cuff for the final few weeks of the 2012 season. Espinosa revealed the news during the Washington Nationals' Fan Fest yesterday.
According to Eric Detweiler of the Washington Post, Espinosa would not have played through the pain if he knew about the extent of the injury. However, it was initially diagnosed as a shoulder bruise. The tear was not revealed until after the season when Espinosa went for a second opinion.
“I knew something was wrong,” Espinosa said Saturday. “The cortisone shot masked me for a little bit. Everyone kept asking me ‘Is your shoulder okay? Is your shoulder okay?’ Well, I’m not going to come out and say, ‘Yeah it hurts. My shoulder hurts. I’m just playing through pain.’”Not surprisingly, Espinosa led the league in strikeouts last season and set a new career-high for himself with 189. He still hit for a better average than 2011, but his OBP and slugging percentage dropped. Last year, Espinosa hit .247/.315/.402.
Espinosa will be entering his fourth season in the Majors this year. He hopes to do so healthy, but he won't truly know how well the shoulder healed until he tests it in game situations. Espinosa chose not to undergo surgery. He worked on rehabbing the shoulder and strengthening the muscles around the injury.