Jayson Werth struck out to end the eighth inning Tuesday night in a 2-0 Nationals loss to the Diamondbacks and when the Nationals defense took the field for the top of the ninth, Werth had been replaced by Brian Bixler in right field.
Werth was pulled form the game with a mild groin strain — though he refused to say which side of his groin — after feeling it tighten on a single to right field by Ian Kennedy in the fifth inning. Nationals manager Davey Johnson initially said it was an issue with Werth’s hip but a team official later corrected that to the groin. Werth himself actually said hip/groin.
At any rate, neither party seemed overly concerned about the injury. Werth was left in to hit but told Johnson he probably wouldn’t be running at full speed and couldn’t score so Johnson decided to replace him after he hit in the eighth inning anyway.
“It could just be like a muscle spasm,” Werth said. “We’ll see how it feels tomorrow. It’s real mild. I don’t think it should be a big deal. Whether Davey wants to play me tomorrow or not, I don’t know. But it’s part of it. You deal with these things. You get dinged up. You get strains and sprains over the course of a season. I feel like I’ve been pretty fortunate to get through the season, I’ve kind of stayed away from some things. I don’t think it’s anything that should keep me out too long.”
The injury affected the Nationals slightly even before Werth was pulled when Johnson brought in Tyler Clippard in the seventh inning to relieve Jordan Zimmermann but did not make a double switch (even though the pitcher’s spot was due up first in the bottom half of the inning) knowing that he may have to replace Werth shortly.
“I didn’t want to weaken my offense too much the way it was going,” Johnson said. “He kind of tweaked it. I think it’s just a mild strain.”