Davey Johnson has often referenced, to paraphrase, “managing today with an eye on tomorrow” in the three days since he took over as Nationals manager. His unique lineup today is a direct reflection of that philosophy. He is resting Ian Desmond, Jayson Werth, Wilson Ramos and Laynce Nix, who are dealing with different infirmities.
“I mean, we’re in a war, all the battles are very important,” Johnson said. “I hate to equate it to the military, but it’s the same kind of thing. What you don’t want to do is go out there and have one of your guys get hurt, or a little under the weather, and then you lose them for a bunch of games. So this time of year, especially this time of year, I’m going to err on the safe side. I go back to, you win with 25 guys. If I don’t get my other guys an opportunity to play, either they’re not going to be able to contribute. Sure I want my front line guys in there, but I feel very confident about the lineup that’s out there.”
Here’s why those four starters are out:
*Werth, already dealing with a sore left knee, felt tightness in his hip last night. “It locked up on him during the game last night,” Johnson said. “They were yanking all over him, trying to get it loose. It wasn’t great, but he went out there and finished the game. I went to the trainer and I said, ‘If we have a problem and he comes in like that, I’m banging him.’ I’m not waiting around, hoping it loosens up, putting him out there and then he pulls a hamstring because of it. It also comes in we’ve got tomorrow off so get a chance to get back to 100 percent.”
*Desmond is still fighting a sore left quad. He’s taken three straight games off on the eve of an off day.
*Nix has the same tender right Achilles’ tendon that forced him from last night’s game. More on him in a bit.
*Ramos came to the park feeling sick. “I guess sometimes, when it rains it pours,” Johnson said. “Ramos got a cold or flu or something, I told him, ‘Just don’t talk to me.’ ”
For tonight, the Nationals will Brian Bixler in right and Jerry Hairston in left, an idea that Johnson does not seem crazy about.
“Well, yeah, don’t get me started,” Johnson said. “That’s a whole new conversation and I don’t want to go there. I mean, Bixler, Hairston, I’ve got two guys who pretty much can do about anything, and it’s nice to have when we’re going through what we’re going through today. But we’re really short in the outfield and basically we have infielders. I’d be more comfortable if one of them was an outfielder but that’s a whole other story, I think.”