Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth will miss at least a couple of days after receiving a cortisone injection this morning in his right shoulder to relieve inflammation in his sprained AC joint. Manager Matt Williams hopes the preventative treatment will "calm it down," allowing Werth to return to the lineup in short order.
"He had an MRI last night, and all of that checked out really well," Williams said during his pregame meeting with reporters at New York's Citi Field. "But he's got an AC joint sprain - the joint in the shoulder where it connects - and it can be really painful. They took him this morning under ultrasound to get to the spot and gave him a cortisone shot to calm it down. So he'll be down a couple of days at least, and let it get to work a little bit."
The good news is that Williams expects Werth to be back in right field in a few days, since the MRI showed no structural damage in the shoulder. But the Nats have to make sure the cortisone injection doesn't give Werth a false sense of security and lead to any further damage.
"He should be good to go," Williams said. "It's one of those things where it's just a painful thing. There's no structural damage, no issues with anything else according to the pictures, but it'll just calm it down and get the inflammation out of there as soon as possible. But during the process, he can't play because (the cortisone shot) masks the pain tolerance a little bit. Got to shut him down for a couple of days at least."
The Nats' outfield alignment will look markedly different tonight. Werth is out and center fielder Denard Span is getting a break the day after his 14-game hitting streak and 36-game streak of reaching base safely was broken with an 0-for-5. That leaves the Nats with Bryce Harper in right field, rookie Michael A. Taylor in center and Kevin Frandsen in left.
Williams said he and Span talked last night about the possibility of a day off now that the streaks are over, and that Span texted him this morning asking for the break.
"Nothing more than (a day off)," Williams said when asked about Span's absence from the starting lineup. "You go through a streak like that and mentally it's more demanding than it is physically at times. He's been on base all those games in a row, stealing bases, scoring runs, playing defense and when it's all over, your brain goes, 'It's over,' and then you start to feel things. It's a good day to get him off. The luxury we have is Michael's here and he's a natural center fielder."
And a respite now for Span - who has played in 108 of the team's 117 games - can pay dividends down the road.
"We gotta be mindful of that as we get deeper and deeper into the season," Williams said. "He's played just about every day."