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Injury updates on Jayson Werth, Christian Garcia, Ryan Zimmerman and Nate Karns

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VIERA, Fla. — Jayson Werth unleashed a bit of a sidearm throw in Friday’s game and the Washington Nationals’ right fielder felt his forearm tighten a bit. As a precaution, manager Davey Johnson wrote out Satirday’s lineup without Werth’s name in it.

But when Werth arrived, wearing a sleeve on his elbow area, he told bench coach Randy Knorr and Johnson that he was fine to play. 

“Davey’s just being cautious but I’m OK,” Werth said. “It’s spring training, it’s early. These (types of) things come up every year. It’s all good. No reason to panic.

“Davey’s really cautious. I played for guys who weren’t very cautious. They don’t care if you’ve got something going on, they want you out there. It’s early in spring, Davey’s being cautious. I want to be in there, I want to play. I want my at-bats. You’ve got to be careful, you don’t want to injure it more but you don’t want to not play.”

Werth was not on the travel roster for Sunday’s game in Lakeland against the Detroit Tigers, and he didn’t want to go two full days without playing. He promised Johnson that he’d take it easy and be careful in Saturday’s game.

Both Werth and Johnson indicated the issue was minor.

– When Christian Garcia first strained his forearm/wrist area during the first week of workouts, the hand specialist in Baltimore who looked over his MRI, Dr. Ken Means, told the Nationals’ right-hander that it would be about 4-6 weeks before he was healthy enough to return to baseball activities.

That four-week mark (March 17) is inching ever closer and the pain from the partially torn tendon has finally dissipated. Garcia can press directly on the spot that was causing him the most pain just a week or so ago and that discomforting feeling is gone.

The 17th, though, is not a hard-and-fast date for when he’ll be allowed to begin ramping back up. Johnson said it wasn’t “cut in stone” and a lot will depend on Means’ advice as well as how Garcia feels. 

Johnson still feels there’s plenty of time for Garcia to make a bid for the 25-man Opening Day roster. The Nationals are still planning to stretch Garcia out a bit, when he does return.”

“He was throwing the heck out of the ball. There’s still time for him,” Johnson said. “We’ll just have to wait and see. We’ve still got plenty of time.”

– Nate Karns was scheduled to see the doctors on Saturday to get to the bottom of the tightness in his upper right leg. Karns said he first felt the tightness a week ago against the Cardinals but admitted the fact that it hasn’t gone away yet has become a mental issue for him.

“Mentally, it’s a distraction for me,” he said. “It’s just something that I feel every pitch. I’m kind of out there, not fully committed to every pitch. It’s in the back of my mind to try not to hurt it. I’m not afraid about it, I just need to have a doctor tell me ‘You’re fine, it’s going to be a little discomfort and you’ll get through it.’”

Karns said he feels the tightness mostly when he collects himself and uses his right leg to push off in his delivery. He said he’s “hoping for the best and preparing for the worst, but I don’t think it’s too severe.” 

– Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman likely will not play the field until about March 18, when the Nationals will no longer employ a designated hitter in the majority of their games.

Zimmerman, who said he is very close to being ready to play in a game and has been making the throw across the diamond for several days now, is still building up the strength in his right shoulder after offseason surgery to clean up his AC joint. He has been serving as the DH for about a week now.

“He’s got great hands,” Johnson said. “He doesn’t need but a couple games playing in the field. What he needs more than anything is timing at the plate and getting comfortable there.”

The Nationals will still be able to use a DH when they play in American League parks in their Grapefruit League slate, and when both teams agree to it. The home team gets to make the final decision, however.   

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About the Author
Amanda Comak

Amanda Comak

Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals and comes to The Washington Times from the Cape Cod Times and after stints with MLB.com and the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder. A Massachusetts native and 2008 graduate of Boston University, Amanda can be reached at acomak@washingtontimes.com and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.

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