Difo was optioned to Triple-A Fresno on Friday. Trea Turner (finger) makes his return from the injured list after missing six weeks to prompt Difo's demotion. The 27-year-old struggled to find any consistency at the plate despite a regular role, and slashed .231/.301/.298 with only four extra-base hits in 134 plate appearances. Difo figures to rejoin the Nationals at some point later in the season in a utility role.
Difo will start at shortstop and bat eighth Thursday against the Mets. Difo will draw his 11th straight start, with the last nine of those coming at shortstop. He's only hitting .235/.278/.235 since resurfacing as a mainstay in the Washington lineup, and his time as a regular player could come to an end as soon as Friday against the Cubs. Trea Turner (finger) rejoined the Nationals for a workout Thursday and looks poised to come off the 10-day injured list this weekend, when he should assume everyday duties at shortstop right away. Turner's impending return will presumably push Difo into more of a utility-infield role.
Difo will start at shortstop and bat sixth Wednesday against the Brewers. Top prospect Carter Kieboom's unsuccessful stint as the Nationals' starting shortstop came to an end Tuesday, when the team optioned him to Triple-A Fresno. With Kieboom out of the way, Difo should reclaim the everyday gig at shortstop he previously filled when Trea Turner (finger) landed on the injured list April 3. Turner lacks a concrete timetable and is probably at least two weeks away from returning, so Difo should have a window of steady at-bats, making him a player worthy of consideration in deep formats.
Difo will start at third base and bat second Sunday against the Phillies, Mark Zuckerman of MASN Sports reports. Difo lost out on an everyday gig at shortstop when Carter Kieboom was promoted to the majors April 25, but the utility man has now re-entered the starting nine three times in five games due to a deluge of injuries hitting the roster. With Matt Adams (shoulder) and Juan Soto (back) joining Ryan Zimmerman (foot) and Anthony Rendon (elbow) on the injured list this weekend, Difo could handle at least a part-time role for the next several contests.
Difo went 2-for-3 with a walk and solo home run Thursday against the Giants. Difo took Drew Pomeranz deep in the fourth inning, his second homer of the season. He gained a regular role with the injury to Trea Turner (finger) but has struggled to produce in a meaningful way by hitting .229/.315/.375 across 52 plate appearances. He has looked a bit better in his last four games, however, going 5-for-13 with a double and home run.