PITTSBURGH - The untuck club is slowly gaining members.
Rafael Soriano’s trademark post-save celebration of untucking his jersey from his pants on the field is picking up traction in the Nationals clubhouse. And Jayson Werth is the latest to get in on the action.
Ian Desmond followed Soriano’s lead by violently untucking his jersey after a Soriano save in Atlanta. Following that game, Desmond tried to convince Werth to join the club, as well.
Last night, after seeing Roger Bernadina make a great play in the bottom of the ninth, cutting off a Russell Martin liner in the left-center field gap and gunning Martin at second, Werth decided he was in. If Soriano finished off the save, Werth was going to make his untucking debut.
“I was fired up, so I was ready to get untucked, I really was,” Werth said. “After that play, that got me going.
“Let’s do this. Let’s get untucked. I want to join the fun.”
Soriano retired Pedro Alvarez and Jordy Mercer to finish off the Nats’ 5-4 win, and Werth popped his jersey before walking out onto the field to shake hands with his teammates.
Werth isn’t sure if he’ll make the untuck a common occurrence, but he enjoyed it the first time around.
“I don’t know, it felt pretty good,” he said with a smile. “Surprisingly, it felt pretty good. I was surprised, I’ve never done that before. But we’ll have to see.”
Werth is out of the starting lineup again today, his third straight game missed due to a tight right hamstring. The Nationals will take things slowly with Werth, trying to avoid a setback that could sideline the right fielder for an extended period.
He’s shooting to return to the Nats lineup on Tuesday, but that’s not a hard and fast projection by any means.
“I’m going to do a lot more today (before the game),” Werth said. “The last two days, (I was) just off other than treatment. It’s just tight, so if we can get it to loosen up, I think we’ll be all right. There’s no strain or significant injury in there, so it just needs to loosen up. Whenever that happens, I’ll be good to go.”
The Nats have a scheduled off-day on Monday, meaning that if Werth doesn’t make a surprise pinch-hitting appearance late in today’s game (something that he said is a possibility), he would have four full days of rest under his belt going into Tuesday’s game against the Tigers. The Nats also have a day off on Thursday.
“The worst part, for me, is making us play with 24 guys,” Werth said. “National League games, you can use all your players pretty quick, so I don’t want to be a detriment to the team in that sense. But at the same time, I don’t think it’s going to be something I’m going to need a full 15 days for. So it’s a fine line, it really is. But we’ll see how I am. We do have that off-day on Thursday, too, so I don’t know. I don’t get the sense that we’ll need a significant amount of time, but we may need a couple more days.”
Werth grabbed a bat and a helmet in the dugout during the eighth inning of yesterday’s game, and it looked like he was ready to pinch-hit for Stephen Strasburg. Instead, manager Davey Johnson went with Steve Lombardozzi.
Was Werth actually trying to convince Johnson to use him in that spot, or was that just a ploy to throw off the Pirates?
“If I tell you that, if that’s the case, it probably wouldn’t work too well,” Werth said, another smile creeping onto his face.