Davey Johnson says Gio Gonzalez-Jayson Werth spat shows Nationals ‘have a pulse’

Screengrab from the animated GIF of Jayson Werth and Gio Gonzalez in the dugout

Screengrab from the animated GIF of Jayson Werth and Gio Gonzalez in the dugout

A day after the testy exchange between Gio Gonzalez and Jayson Werth in the Nationals’ dugout, pretty much everybody had the same interpretation: The frustration from the Nationals’ season had simmered long enough, Werth is a vocal guy who saw something he didn’t liked, Gonzalez was crankier than usual because of a bad back and the conditions formed to create a caught-on-camera shouting match.

Manager Davey Johnson did not find any serious issue with the spat, and in fact he saw it as a good sign.

“That was a little strange,” Johnson said. “But it’s happened. I’ve had other clubs. When you’re frustrated and you see a little something you don’t like, and another person’s really not feeling that great, sometimes tempers flare. It just shows we got a pulse and we care. That’s all. The only negative thing now, everybody’s got a camera and everybody’s pointing it around. I mean, you can’t even do push-ups on the bench.”

The accepted reason behind the heated argument was Gonzalez’s inability to cover first base on a double play ball in the top of the first inning. Gonzalez may also have been upset with Werth, who did not try to keep Joaquin Arias from turning a single into a double on a ball hit to right field. Last night, Gonzalez did not comment on the tiff but explained why he was late to cover first.

“I guess it was the way I fall off the mound,” Gonzalez said. “I kind of read it wrong. I didn’t think [first baseman Adam LaRoche] was going to make that play. I thought Anthony [Rendon] was. I didn’t cover the bag. It was the way I fall off the mound. After that, I had to minimize the damage.”

As the Nationals came off the field, Gonzalez seemed to say something to Werth. Werth fired back, and when they crossed paths in the dugout, they had to be separated.

“It doesn’t happen that much, no,” Johnson said. “But nowadays, any little thing out of the ordinary is going to be caught. But stuff can happen. I know there’s still a lot of frustration about the way we performed to date. That’s just a natural occurrence. It shows there’s still life.”

“I’m sure it’s done,” Johnson added. “It’s over. History.”

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