Jayson Werth is out of the Nationals lineup with an unspecified infection in his right foot, which has led to painful inflammation and could keep the Nationals’ best hitter sidelined at least through Sunday as well.
“I thought it was going to be better today,” Werth said. “I played on it yesterday, and it was pretty sore. Today, I can’t go.”
Werth first felt pain in his right foot Thursday in Chicago. Friday night, he served as the designated hitter to help keep him off his feet and hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the fourth inning. He began taking antibiotics last night and hoped the condition of his foot would improve. Instead, it worsened.
“Today, it’s too much,” Werth said. “It’s really sore.”
Werth walked through the Nationals’ clubhouse with a heavy limp. Werth doubted he would be able to even pinch hit tonight in a key spot. “It’s going to have to get better,” Werth said.
Manager Davey Johnson said the Nationals have “no idea” what the precise infection is. The injury concerned him, and he said he did not know when Werth may be available. His medication may clear up the infection, but there is no certainty.
“Hopefully it’s the right antibiotic and it’ll get rid of it,” Johnson said.
Werth has battled injuries all season. He missed 31 games with a hamstring strain earlier in the season, and he has played through several nagging ailments. When healthy, Werth has been one of the best players in the majors.
Werth is hitting .326 with a .404 on-base percentage and a .529 slugging percentage. In the second half, Werth is first in the majors with a .384 batting average, second with a .481 on-base percentage and third with a .661 slugging percentage. Since the all-star break, only Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen have a higher WAR, per FanGraphs.com.
As their best hitter sits, several Nationals will play through small injures. Bryce Harper landed hard on his banged-up right knee making a game-saving catch in the ninth inning last night. Last night, Harper said he was “fine” and he’s starting in right field tonight.
“I didn’t ask him,” Johnson said. “I put him in the lineup. He’s young. He’ll be all right.”
Shortstop Ian Desmond played through a stiff hamstring last night, perhaps a byproduct of his stiff back. Desmond said he’s “good,” but “he’s not 100 percent,” Johnson said.
Ryan Zimmerman fouled a ball off left shin recently, which led to a nasty bruise. Johnson wanted to give Chad Tracy some at-bats and allow Zimmerman to get an effective day off without taking his bat out of the lineup. Johnson plans to play Zimmerman at DH tomorrow, too.
Here are the full Nationals-Royals lineups.
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Ryan Zimmerman, DH
3. Bryce Harper, RF
4. Wilson Ramos, C
5. Ian Desmond, SS
6. Adam LaRoche, 1B
7. Tyler Moore, LF
8. Chad Tracy, 3B
9. Steve Lombardozzi, 2B
-Jordan Zimmermann, SP
1.Alex Gordon, LF
2. Emilio Bonifacio, 2B
3. Eric Hosmer, 1B
4. Billy Butler, DH
5. Mike Moustakas, 3B
6. Justin Maxwell, RF
7. David Lough, CF
8. George Kottaras, C
9. Alcides Escobar, SS
– Wade Davis, SP