VIERA, Fla. - Bryce Harper made it through today’s workout without experiencing any issues with his ailing left calf, and the right fielder will return to the Nationals’ lineup tomorrow evening against the Braves, as planned.
Left fielder Michael Morse will not travel to Disney to face Atlanta after seeing action at DH the last two games.
As reporters walked into the clubhouse following tonight’s 6-3 Nats’ loss to Detroit, the replay of the game was airing on MASN on the lone clubhouse TV.
Jason Michaels sat at his locker, and right as the cluster of reporters slowly made its way over to the veteran outfielder, his first inning error flashed up on the TV. Michaels watched himself drop a lazy fly ball which extended the Tigers’ half inning, then kept his eyes locked on the screen as Ryan Raburn smacked a two-run homer to left just seconds later.
“I just flat-out missed it,” Michaels glumly said. “You forget about it and move on. I take a lot of pride in my outfield. If I’m not doing it at the plate that day, I can do it in the outfield. Do something. You’ve got to move on.”
The error added two unearned runs to the pitching line of starter Edwin Jackson, who manager Davey Johnson felt was a bit off his game tonight.
“He was not as sharp as he was the other day,” Johnson said. “He had trouble getting it down, and then he worked on getting it down and the next inning it was a little too down. But overall, it was still a good outing. I thought he threw the ball well. Made some awful good pitches. Got a great arm.
“He threw 64 pitches. A lot of pitches for 3 1/3. But it’s only the third time out. We’ve got quite a few more to go.”
Johnson will grade his hard throwers somewhat loosely in camp, knowing that it takes those guys longer to get into a groove than it does the hurlers who rely more on location and changing speeds.
“We’re talking about power arms. (It’s) like the timing on a power hitter - it takes longer,” Johnson said. “They build up their arms and then they go through a little more adjustment than the finesse-type guy. Those guys always have more trouble in the spring - although I’m not saying this is a lot of trouble we’re experiencing, because we’re not - but the guys in the spring that are usually more successful are the guys that change up, spot the ball, move it around.
“Hard throwers that leave it a little more over the plate get hit a lot harder. It’s always been that way.”
Ross Detwiler has impressed this spring, but he allowed six baserunners over 2 2/3 innings tonight. The power lefty did continue to boost his strikeout totals, however, by setting down three.
Johnson said that Detwiler didn’t get loose enough in the bullpen before his outing, which contributed to some of his struggles.
“Det was the same way (as Jackson),” Johnson said. “Det came in overthrowing. Didn’t pitch ... he came in throwing. He was better the second inning, but the first inning he was trying to hum.”
Jayson Werth smacked his second home run of the spring tonight, off Tigers righty Jose Valverde. The two homers have something in common: both came on the first pitch of the at-bat.
Johnson has been encouraging Werth to be more aggressive at the plate, a strategy the outfielder is apparently taking to heart.
“I like where he’s (been) at from day one,” Johnson said. “He’s awful close.”