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The Nationals might be without Adam Eaton for the rest of 2017

Sunday’s Say Hey, Baseball features a tough injury for Adam Eaton, a game-tying three-homer barrage, and more drug testing for Eric Thames.

New York Mets v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

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Through 24 games this season, the Nationals have been doing great. They have a 16-8 record, and their big players (Max Scherzer, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, Daniel Murphy) are doing exactly what they need to do, i.e. playing super well. Everything was gliding along smoothly until Friday when center fielder Adam Eaton suffered a horrific-looking injury while trying to beat out an infield single. And it didn't just look bad — it IS bad. Eaton has reportedly torn his ACL, and if it's true, he'll be out for the rest of the season.

That's a tough blow for pretty much everyone involved. Eaton was off to a marvelous start, hitting .297/.393/.462 with seven doubles and two home runs. That's exactly what the Nationals hoped he'd do when they traded for him last winter. The Nats sent a hefty package to the White Sox during their offseason fire sale: Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning. Giolito was incredibly important to the Nationals, which should tell you how much they wanted Eaton. Plus, he's signed through 2021, so they don't have worry about center field for a long while. Theoretically, anyway.

So where do the Nationals go now? For the time being, they've got Michael Taylor in center field, who isn't nearly as fearsome as Eaton is with the bat or the glove. They could also shuffle their other players around a little bit: Harper could play some center and so could Trea Turner, who spent the 2016 season in that spot. But there won't be a perfect replacement, of course, because what the Nationals want is Eaton back. But they're in a better place than most teams: Their core is solid enough to withstand this kind of loss. At least until they get their hands on a time machine. Then they'll get Eaton back, and no one will remember any of this ever happened.