Jayson Werth strongly stated tonight that the comments he made Wednesday at the conclusion of the Nationals’ road trip referred only to the need to start winning games, not about changes to the Nationals’ staff or personnel.
“What was said, however it was said, what happened from there, where it was taken from there, that’s way out of my control,” Werth said. “People put my words in my mouth, and people not even there to hear what I say, coming up with all these different things and scenarios I have nothing to do with or what I was talking about.
“Changes need to be made – we need to start winning ballgames, we need to start hitting the ball, we need to do what we got to do to win games. That’s all it was. What happened from the end of the game in Milwaukee until today had nothing to do with me. That’s just people making up stories and saying things that they don’t even know what they’re talking about.”
Werth met with Manager Jim Riggleman on Friday afternoon, at which point Werth assured Riggleman the he did not intimate he wanted a managerial change.
“I think he just wanted to hear from me on what was said and why it was taken out of context,” Werth said. “The meeting between me and Jim, that’s between me and Jim. That’s nobody’s business. What I don’t think is fair is, I say, ‘We need to makes changes,’ and pretty soon that’s got me doing whatever. I’m not even going to go there. But basically what I was saying is, we need to start winning games.”
When Werth spoke to reporters after the game Wednesday, he was asked if he could elaborate on what he meant when he said, “I think it’s pretty obvious what’s going on around here.” He declined, which left what he meant by “changes” at least somewhat open for interpretation. He believes those interpretations, including by two Post staff writers, were unfair.
“You guys are starting your own thing,” Werth said. “That has nothing to do with me. It has nothing to do with Jim. We’re here to play baseball. I’m here to play baseball. We need to win ballgames. Bottom line.”
Werth was asked why, then, had he not simply said that when asked Wednesday about what changes needed to be made. Werth said that the list was simply too long to delve into – and it extended all the way to the President’s Race.
“I didn’t want to get into it,” Werth said. “There’s more to it than that. If you want to start talking about it, we can talk about it. Why doesn’t Teddy get to win? There’s a lot of things. There’s a lot of things I said I had on my mind. There’s thing we need to change. It’s not just one thing. It’s not just two things. There’s some things that I see that are going on that need to be changed in order for us to win ballgames. That’s all. You guys write what you want to write. Whatever.”
With that chapter mercifully (and hopefully) closed, a few other quick notes from Friday:
>>> Ivan Rodriguez was not present at the Nationals’ 2-1 victory over the Padres. He was attending his son’s high school graduation in Florida. He will return for Saturday’s game.
>>> Jerry Hairston was thrown out of the game in the seventh after arguing with home plate umpire Ed Hickox about an at-bat against Clayton Richard. Hairston believed Richard – a former teammate on the Padres – had “quick-pitched” him, not allowing him to get set in the batter’s box. After Hairston flied to center, he immediately turned to Hickox. After a few moments of protest, Hickox threw out Hairston.
“Simply put, I played with Clayton Richard, and he quick-pitches,” Hairston said. “He held the ball on me. I stepped out. As soon as I stepped back in the batter’s box, he was throwing. You just can’t do that. You have to let the hitter get set. Basically, I asked for help. And when I asked for help, I got thrown out.
“I never cuss at the umpire. I never did that. I’ve been thrown out before, and rightfully so. I didn’t feel I needed to be thrown out there.”
>>> One detail about John Lannan’s 7 2/3-inning, two-hit, no-run start left out of the game story: Matt Stairs, who played with the Padres last season, assisted Lannan with some scouting reports on his former teammates. Most of Lannan’s success owed to his increased feel for his sinker, but “it helped” having Stairs’s input, Lannan said.