Jayson Werth was chasing after a ball in right field in the third inning Sunday afternoon when he felt his left groin muscle tighten. It felt like a cramp, he said, and he hoped it was nothing more.
But Werth, who’s been battling the flu for the past few days, got a base hit in the bottom of the fourth inning and ran somewhat casually to first base. Moments later, he was removed from the game with what manager Davey Johnson called a “groin pull.” He is hopeful, however, that he can avoid the disabled list.
“I think it’s a situation where I’ve been kind of sick the last couple of days, haven’t really eaten a whole lot, probably pretty dehydrated,” Werth said, describing a situation somewhat similar to the one in which he strained his right hamstring earlier this season and was forced to miss 28 games.
“Usually a ball like (that base hit), if it’s not a double I’m definitely around the bag hard, and when I went to go, it just felt a little worse,” Werth said. “At that point, I didn’t really feel like I could help my team anymore so I came out of the game. I got some treatment and got looked at by the doctors. I’ll know more tomorrow, but I think I’ll be all right. Groins are pretty straightforward. I’ve had a couple of them in the past, but I didn’t miss any time so I hope that’ll be the case.”
This is the second time this season that Werth has dealt with muscle tightness that has been tied back to an illness. He was scratched from Saturday’s game with what Johnson said were flu-like symptoms and Werth admitted that playing on Sunday was perhaps not the best decision.
“In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have played today,” Werth said. “But with the lefty going and how I felt when I woke up, I wanted to help the team win and I felt like I could do that so I wanted to play.
“These last two times I think I’ve been out there playing when I was dehydrated. Both times I was dealing with flu or whatever you want to call it. When you’re out there sweating and you’re dehydrated to start the game, you’re at risk. And I knew that going into it, so it’s probably more my fault more than anything else. But you want to win, you want to help your team win and the only way I can do that is if I’m on the field. [I’m] willing to take that risk, I’ve taken it many times. You play this game every day, you play in the heat and you got to go through things. You play when you’re dehydrated, you play no matter what.
“Unfortunately the last few times I’ve chosen to do that, I’ve tweaked or pulled a muscle. But hopefully this time, it won’t be that big of a deal. I’ll be back in there on (Tuesday) I hope.”
Werth said he does not believe there are any current plans for him to undergo an MRI.
The Nationals have an off day on Monday and, based on how he feels when he wakes up and goes through the day, Werth said he’d have a better idea of whether or not he will miss time with the issue.
Werth is hitting .265 this season and if he is out of the lineup the Nationals will again be without Bryce Harper and Werth at the same time, leaving them to continue to work with a patchwork outfield.