- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lower back tightness prompted shortstop Ian Desmond to have a shortened night Tuesday.

Desmond left the Nationals’ 6-4 win against the Atlanta Braves in the sixth inning and was replaced by Danny Espinosa. Neither Desmond nor manager Matt Williams were overly concerned.

“Before the game it kind of tightened up on me,” Desmond said. “I tried to do what I could to get it loosened up. Normally by like the second inning, kind of get the blood flowing, it all kind of goes away. But, I think it was like the fourth inning where it wasn’t cooperating. I just figured it would probably be smart just to get out of there and not create any further damage.”

“No big issue,” Williams said.

Desmond said he feels like he can play Wednesday when the Nationals have Stephen Strasburg on the mound for a 4:05 p.m. start versus the Braves.

Desmond’s back was the only concern after the Nationals pushed their National League East lead to nine games. Their magic number is down to 10. Most in the clubhouse stuck to “one game at a time” lines, but Adam LaRoche capitulated with some honesty.

“It feels like we’re that much closer,” LaRoche said. “Again, not to take anything for granted until this thing is sealed up, but these are big — this time of year, playing a team that’s chasing you, to be able to win a couple.”

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