Werth out of lineup with a sore knee
The original lineup for the Washington Nationals’ Grapefruit League game Saturday against the Houston Astros included Jayson Werth. The second iteration did not. Werth’s knee was sore, so Manager Dusty Baker decided to sit him down just to be sure. Baker was so unconcerned about the injury that he scoffed when a reporter asked him which knee was ailing.
“I don’t know,” Baker said with a smirk before the Nationals’ 5-4 loss. “Pick one. Tell ’em both.”
Later, Werth jogged out to right field to take groundballs, bouncing around like he has been all spring, to validate his manager’s level of worry. Werth, Baker assured reporters, is just fine. He was scheduled to be off Sunday, so he won’t play then either.
“He’ll be ready to come back on Monday,” Baker said.
Werth has played in 11 games so far this spring and is hitting .130 in 23 at-bats. He entered this spring healthy and has played with visible energy, looking relatively light on his feet. With that in consideration, Baker planned to play Werth more in the coming weeks, a plan he hopes can remain intact despite the soreness.
“I was planning to take him up a notch as far as innings played and stuff to get some endurance,” Baker said. “This is just a little minor thing . . . . He wanted to play today, and I told him no.”
Michael A. Taylor originally replaced Werth in the lineup but had to leave the team to deal with a family matter, Baker said. Taylor’s family lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., about 45 minutes from the Nationals’ complex in West Palm Beach. Brian Goodwin started in center field Saturday, flanked by Adam Eaton and Bryce Harper.
Jayson Werth missed Saturday’s game against the Astros but is expected to return to action Monday.