Jayson Werth plays through the pain during key stretch for Nationals

brushback_harperAfter seeing Jayson Werth leave Sunday’s loss to Colorado with a left groin injury, Nationals Manager Davey Johnson figured it’d be wise to rest his right fielder for Tuesday’s contest against Arizona.

But a brief conversation with Werth changed Johnson’s thinking — and perhaps the Nationals’ fortune in their 7-5 win last night. Werth went 2-for-2 at the plate with an RBI single, a double and two runs scored.

“I go by what he tells me,” Johnson said afterward. “He said [the injury] is something he’s had before and it was worse and he could play through it, so that was good enough for me.”

“Good enough” is an apt way to describe Werth’s health. The groin injury is the latest in a campaign that’s seen him miss 28 games on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain, which struck while he played through illness. Werth appeared gimpy throughout most of Tuesday’s contest, laboring to wheel out a double in the fifth and electing not to stretch out for a catch in the ninth.

“He told me that he wasn’t able to run the way he normally does,” Nationals center fielder Denard Span said. “But I wasn’t shading to his side because he couldn’t run. Other than that first play, he was fine.”

Werth’s ability to play through injury is something that may be necessary for a Nationals team already down its starting left fielder (Bryce Harper) and, at least on Tuesday, without third basemen Ryan Zimmerman, who only pinch-hit in an effort to rest his right shoulder.

“Honestly, I’m probably going to deal with this groin for a while, but it’s definitely playable; something I can manage,” Werth said.

With 13 of the Nationals’ next 23 games before the all-star break being played at home and the team once again playing .500 baseball following Tuesday’s victory, having a bat like Werth’s in the lineup could prove crucial during the upcoming stretch.

“I don’t think he’s 100 percent. He probably catches that ball in the ninth if he’s not ginger,” Johnson said. “It’s been that kind of year. He had one (injury) that lasted about a month; we need him in the lineup.”

FROM THE POST

The Nationals provide starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez with plenty of run support in a 7-5 win against Arizona.

FROM YESTERDAY’S JOURNAL

Taylor Jordan appears to be top candidate in search to replace injured pitcher Dan Haren

Bryce Harper began his rehab assignment Tuesday with Potomac

Ryan Zimmerman sat out Tuesday’s contest to rest his surgically repaired right shoulder but the third baseman should return soon.

After being called up from Class AAA on Tuesday, Tyler Moore looks to regain the form that led to an impressive rookie campaign last year.

NATS MINOR LEAGUES

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre 5, Syracuse 0: Christian Garcia made his latest step in a rehab  assignment. He allowed no runs in one inning on one hit and no walks, striking out. Danny Espinosa went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. Brian Bocock went 2 for 2 with a walk.

Harrisburg 4, Akron 1: Nate Karns allowed one run in seven innings on five hits and two walks, striking out seven. Davey Johnson had mentioned Karns as a possibility to replace to Dan Haren on Saturday, but his start effectively takes him out of consideration – he would have to pitch on short rest, which is not plausible. Steve Souza went 2 for 4 with a double.

Potomac 7, Myrtle Beach 5: Bryce Harper went 1 for 1 with a double and a walk on rehab assignment. Adrian Nieto went 2 for 4 with a home run. Michael Taylor went 2 for 3 with a double. Blake Schwartz allowed three runs in five innings on six hits and two walks, striking out three.

West Virginia 6, Hagerstown 1: Tony Renda went 2 for 3. Brett Mooneyham allowed three earned runs in 3 1/3 innings on four hits and four walks, striking out five.

Mahoning Valley 4, Auburn 1: Jordan Poole went 1 for 3. Jean Carlos Valdez went 1 for 3. Deion Williams allowed two earned runs in three innings on six hits and a walk, striking out three.

In the Gulf Coast League, Cole Kimball allowed no runs in 1 2/3 innings on three hits and a walk, striking out two. 2012 first round pick Lucas Giolito is expected to make an appearance soon in for the Nationals’ GCL squad.

Also on Nationals Journal

Nationals-Diamondbacks discussion thread: Game 76