MIAMI - Jayson Werth departed tonight’s game at Marlins Park in the fifth inning with left hamstring tightness, an injury both the veteran left fielder and his manager downplayed as minor.
“I’m fine,” Werth said as he walked out of the Nationals clubhouse following a 3-1 victory over Miami. “I’ll be fine.”
Neither Werth nor manager Dusty Baker specified how exactly the injury occurred, but Werth did cover a good amount of ground while tracking down two tough fly balls early in the game. He also got up awkwardly after sliding into second base on a double play in the top of the fourth, though he returned to take the field for the bottom of the inning.
When the bottom of the fifth arrived, Chris Heisey took over in left field, leaving Werth to watch the rest of the game from the dugout.
“I’m not really concerned about this,” Baker said. “A younger player might have tried to push it and something happened. But Jayson being a veteran, he knows his body pretty well. I just said: ‘OK, man. I’m not even going to debate it.”
Werth already was scheduled to get Thursday afternoon’s series finale off. Whether the 36-year-old is ready to return to the lineup Friday night in Washington remains to be seen, though Baker has been particularly cautious with his more experienced everyday players at this early stage of the season.
“I’m trying to get them all to the hot weather,” the manager said. “I’ve been saying that; that’s been my goal all along. Especially the older players like Jayson and (Ryan Zimmerman) in particular. I’m trying to get those guys past the point where you’re not worried about them anymore.”