Werth downplays hip issue, Nady looking to break out

While manager Davey Johnson pulled Jayson Werth from yesterday’s game after six innings because of a minor hip injury, Werth insists he’s fine.

The Nationals right fielder told me today that he felt a little something in the hip a handful of days ago, but feels OK now. Werth, who is hitting .327 this season, says the injury is a non-issue going forward.

Mark DeRosa might have gotten off to a rough start to the 2012 season, recording just two hits in 26 at-bats, but he’s not the only veteran on the Nationals’ roster that’s had trouble finding a groove.

Xavier Nady hasn’t fared too much better than DeRosa, hitting .182 with one homer and one RBI over 33 at-bats with the Nationals.

That’s not much production coming out of the two guys who have gotten the bulk of the starts for manager Davey Johnson in left field this season.

Nady is in tonight’s lineup in the series opener against Miami as the Nats face righty Carlos Zambrano, and perhaps not surprisingly, manager Davey Johnson says he feels Nady is on the verge of breaking out.

“I think Nady’s very close,” Johnson said. “It may take a little while longer for him to get really comfortable and get in the swing of things. I think he’s getting there. It’d be nice if Zambrano would hang a few pitches or something and give him some good pitches to hit. But I think he’s handled himself pretty dang good.

After joining the Nats late in spring training, Nady got minimal chances to get his timing down in Grapefruit League games, and his inconsistent playing time in the regular season also hasn’t helped. But the 34-year-old is taking full responsibility for his struggles.

“I’m not putting excuses on anything, to tell you the truth,” he said. “I know I’m better than this. It’s obviously frustrating when you feel like sometimes you have a good at-bat and you might not get the result you want. But I’m just going to keep grinding away and try to find something that makes me feel a little more comfortable in the box or put better swings on pitches and go from there.”

As I mentioned earlier, Nady has had success against Zambrano, going 8-for-25 (.320) with five doubles against the righty in his career.

“It comes down to pitch selection,” said Nady, when asked about the key to facing Zambrano. “He throws I don’t even know how many pitches these days, but he throws a lot of pitches, a lot of different movement, different pitches for strikes. So you’ve got to be selective and swing at strikes. Hopefully we do that tonight.”

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