Tuesday afternoon, Jayson Werth walked from the trainers’ room to his locker, his shoulder still damp from ice that had been wrapped around it. He changed into jeans and a black shirt and politely declined to speak with reporters as he threw a gray bag around his shoulder. About three hours before game time, Werth walked out of the Nationals’ clubhouse with head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz by his side.
Werth headed to a doctor’s office for further tests on his ailing right shoulder, which he irritated during a slide Sunday night in Atlanta, Manager Matt Williams said. The Nationals hoped they could schedule a last-minute MRI exam. Even after the Nationals’ day off Monday, Werth’s shoulder remained sore, and the Nationals sought further tests for the inflamed AC joint inside his shoulder.
“He didn’t really feel any better,” Williams said. “We’re going to get him checked him again, make sure somebody puts their eyes on him and can test it, make sure that he’s good to go. It’s just not reacting well.”
Despite the inflammation resurfacing, Williams said he expects Werth will not require a stint on the disabled list. Werth first felt the inflammation Friday in Atlanta, and it had improved before he aggravated his shoulder Sunday.
“I’m not that concerned,” Williams said. “Anybody that’s played infield has dove for a ball and sprained that joint a little bit. It’s painful. But eventually it goes away. The question is, what can we do to ensure that? I don’t think it’s a DL-type situation. I don’t think there’s any major issue. I just think it’s inflamed and sore.”
The Nationals have dealt with a major issue when it comes to AC joint inflammation. In 2012, Ryan Zimmerman dealt with inflammation in his AC joint. Along with contributing to throwing woes, the inflammation derailed Zimmerman’s swing until he relieved the pain with a series of cortisone shots. Zimmerman required surgery after that season, but he also needed to repair fraying in his labrum and rotator cuff.
“I don’t think it’s the same” for Werth, Williams said. “It hurts him if he has a funky swing or if he jams it. I think the inflammation is there because he had a traumatic incident, whether it’s a dive or it’s an off-balance swing or something. I don’t anticipate there will be any major structural issues there. A picture, when we get it, will tell us a lot more. But the fact that he got better over a couple of days is encouraging.”
Williams said Werth could even be available Tuesday after he returns to Citi Field, depending on the test results and if the weather permitted.
Werth is not the only Nationals outfielder dealing with AC joint inflammation. Steven Souza, whom the Nationals placed on the disabled list Sunday, underwent an MRI exam that revealed he suffered an AC joint sprain when he collided with the Turner Field wall Friday night. The test revealed no structural damage to his rotator cuff or labrum, Williams said.
“That bang into the wall got him pretty good,” Williams said. “We’ll calm that down and get him back to his baseball stuff.”
With Werth and Souza out, top outfield prospect Michael Taylor saw his name in the lineup for the first time in the majors. Taylor, called up Sunday, will play right field, a position he last played in spring training. He played center field all year long at Class AAA Syracuse and Class AA Harrisburg.