Werth out of lineup with a sore knee

The Washington Post Sunday - - WASHINGTONPOST.COM/SPORTS - — Chelsea Janes Ex­cerpted from wash­ing­ton­post.com/na­tion­als

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.

JOHN BAZEMORE/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Jayson Werth missed Satur­day’s game against the Astros but is ex­pected to re­turn to ac­tion Monday.

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