Jayson Werth insisted late Friday night he hadn't suffered any kind of significant injury when he departed the Nationals' game against the Marlins in the eighth inning with what the club termed "tightness in his back."
Werth even went so far as to say: "If I'm not in there tomorrow, I'd be surprised."
Well, he's not in there, but the Nationals are still insisting he's not significantly injured.
"Jayson's OK," manager Dusty Baker said before today's game. "I think. He just came in. It was more precaution than anything. We're trying to get through tomorrow, and then we have four days to heal all our wounded."
Werth said he felt the tightness in his "side, back, somewhere in there" but came out of Friday night's game quickly, before it could devolve into anything worse.
"I didn't strain anything," he said. "I didn't pull anything. When I came in, we did a bunch of tests, most of the tests with the training staff. And we ruled out any strains or pulls or anything like that. It's more of a tightness thing."
With Werth, Daniel Murphy (strained buttocks muscle) and Wilson Ramos (torn ACL) out today, the Nationals are fielding a lineup that includes rookies Pedro Severino, Wilmer Difo and Trea Turner, plus second-year outfielder Michael A. Taylor.
Update: With three innings in the books, the Nationals have a 1-0 lead. They produced that thanks to Bryce Harper's RBI single to center in the bottom of the first, a nice piece of hitting off lefty Wei-Yin Chen after his 0-for-4, four-strikeout showing last night. Tanner Roark has had to pitch out of trouble, but he's through three scoreless innings, albeit on 64 pitches.
Update II: Make it 2-0 Nats after five innings, thanks to none other than Turner, who launched a solo homer in the bottom of the fifth. That's Turner's 13th homer in only 301 at-bats this season. Had he been in the big leagues the full year, the Nationals would've set an National League record with seven 20-homer guys on the roster. Really impressive. Roark, meanwhile, has set down seven Marlins in a row, and so he's through five scoreless innings on a manageable 86 pitches.
Update III: The Marlins finally got to Roark in the top of the sixth via a leadoff walk, stolen base and then Chris Johnson's two-out RBI single to right. Harper had a chance to throw out Christian Yelich at the plate, but his throw didn't have a whole lot of mustard on it. Could be some evidence right there that he's not 100 percent healthy.
Anyway, Roark departed after that, but Blake Treinen finished the inning with a 2-1 lead intact. As for Roark, he finishes his regular season with a 2.83 ERA in 210 innings, having given up two or fewer earned runs in 16 of his 33 starts.
Update IV: That's it. Nats win 2-1. That clinches home field advantage for the National League Division Series, although they already technically clinched it when the Dodgers lost 3-0 to the Giants a bit earlier.
Roark improves to 16-10 with a 2.83 ERA. Mark Melancon recorded his 46th save overall (16th in 17 tries with the Nats) and this one required four outs, with Dusty Baker letting his closer enter in the eighth to give him some practice with a multi-out save that could become necessary in the playoffs.