LOS ANGELES - If you're looking for a bright spot about Jayson Werth landing on the disabled list, the fact he was able to ditch the crutches and walk around with his left foot in a protective boot today is at least somewhat encouraging.
Werth was placed on the 10-day DL this afternoon, a move that was backdated to Sunday since he didn't play in the Nationals' series finale against the Athletics. Thus, he'll be eligible to return June 14, and the club is hopeful he'll be ready by then.
Werth officially was diagnosed with a bruised left foot after fouling a ball off his instep in the ninth inning of Saturday's game. He appears to have avoided a worse injury to his big toe, worse from his manager's perspective.
"It's not the primo place to get hurt in your toe," Dusty Baker said. "Cause I hurt my big toe, and it was one of the worst injuries that I can remember. What can you do? You can't throw. You can't hit. And you can't run."
Werth will attempt to stay fresh during his DL stint, though a little break might not be the worst thing for the 38-year-old old, either.
"As long as he keeps his hands strong and finds a way to keep his stroke in the meantime," Baker said. "But Jayson lives clean. He eats clean. So it probably won't take him as long. ... We've got a great fitness staff. They'll find a way to keep his legs right, cause he hasn't had any leg trouble. And that's why he's still very productive at 38 years old."
Werth's injury opened the door for Ryan Raburn to join the Nationals in Los Angeles, fewer than two weeks since he first joined the organization in a minor league trade with the White Sox. The 36-year-old outfielder is just a bit bleary-eyed after a wild itinerary - he rode the bus on Sunday with Triple-A Syracuse to Pawtucket, then got word of his promotion and took a cab to Boston, where he boarded a flight to Los Angeles - but he's glad to suddenly be part of a first-place team.
"It's been a little chaotic," he said. "But it's definitely worth it to be back up here and playing with a great team."
Raburn had no idea when the Nationals acquired him he'd be in the big leagues this soon. But he did view the transaction as a good omen.
"Most of the time, when a team does that, they have a reason and a purpose for it," he said. "When and how it was going to work out, I wasn't sure. But my job is just to play ball. Hopefully things work out. And so far, they have."
Given Raburn's track record of success against left-handers - he owns a career .827 OPS against them - Baker figured there was no reason not to put him right in tonight's lineup against the Dodgers' Hyun-Jin Ryu, batting second in front of Bryce Harper. With Clayton Kershaw starting Wednesday's series finale, there's a good chance he'll get another start before ever reaching Washington.
"We needed some right-handed production," Baker said. "He was the perfect guy for us. He kind of fell in our lap. He's been on winning teams, so he knows what it's about. I told him just make sure you get the signs and fit in where you get on this team."
Given all he's been through the last 24 hours, Raburn figures why not jump right into the lineup.
"I was kind of expecting it," he said. "Usually that's what they always do. They call a guy up, throw him right in the fire. That's usually what happens. If I can just help this ballclub any way that I can, that's a plus. Cause this is a great group of guys."
Update: The Nationals lineup is off to a good start tonight, even without any production yet from the top of the order. Despite their 1-2-3 hitters going 0-for-6, they've taken a 3-0 lead on the Dodgers in the fourth thanks to Anthony Rendon's solo homer and then Matt Wieters' two-out two-run single. That Wieters hit was particularly clutch, coming after Rendon's drive to right-center bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double, preventing Daniel Murphy from scoring from first. No problem, because Wieters cleaned up himself with a big hit.
Gio Gonzalez, meanwhile, has been ... well, he's been Gio Gonzalez. He keeps getting ahead of batters 0-2, then keeps getting himself back into 3-2 counts, then keeps the opposition from scoring. He is through four scoreless innings on 68 pitches.
Update II: Harper has been in a slump, dating back before last Monday's brawl in San Francisco. Perhaps his clutch hit in the top of the fifth tonight will get him back on track. Harper sent a two-out opposite-field single into left field to bring home Trea Turner and extend the Nationals' lead to 4-0. Gonzalez continues to do his thing. He has retired 11 straight and is through five scoreless innings on 82 pitches.
Update III: Gonzalez finally relented in the sixth, which started with a walk, a single and an RBI double. But credit to the lefty for limiting the damage and getting through the inning with two runs across and 107 pitches to his name. The Nats will take a 4-2 lead into the seventh and most likely turn this over to their bullpen the rest of the way.
Update IV: It's over. Nats win 4-2 thanks to some impressive relief work. Enny Romero tossed two scoreless innings, striking out four. And then with Koda Glover apparently unavailable after throwing 22 pitches in Sunday's strange game, it was Matt Albers starting the ninth. Albers got two outs, then after allowing a two-out double gave way to Oliver PÃ©rez, who retired Yasmani Grandal to earn his third career save (first since 2013).