Jayson Werth sits with sprained ankle, hopes for Wednesday return


Jayson Werth injures his ankle avoiding Adeiny Hechavarria’s tag at second base.

Jayson Werth woke up Tuesday morning and the right ankle he injured the night before trying to avoid a tag at second base was still sore and swollen. Both he and Manager Matt Williams still believe the sprain is minor, but Werth did not start Tuesday’s game.

Werth and Williams both hope the right fielder will feel well enough to play Wednesday.

“A lot sorer than I thought I’d be,” Werth said before Tuesday’s game. “I wasn’t expecting it to be as swollen or as sore. If it wasn’t as bad, I probably would have played.”

Werth left in the seventh inning of Monday’s game after landing awkwardly on his ankle trying to avoid a tag at second base as he tried to stretch a single into a double. He was replaced in the bottom of the inning by Nate McLouth, who started in right Tuesday.

Still, Williams said Werth is available to come off the bench during Tuesday’s game. Werth received treatment before the game and hoped to tape it up so he could be available if needed. Werth said he hopes to miss only one game.

“Hopefully it’ll calm down a little bit and he’ll be good to go [Wednesday],” Williams said. “We’ll see.”

>>> There remains no update on Ryan Zimmerman a week after he hurt his hamstring. Williams said Zimmerman was to be evaluated again by a team doctor on Monday and could provide an update perhaps on Tuesday. Williams, however, said only that Zimmerman is “just progressing … Letting it heal.”

Asked how long he would be out, Williams answered: “Nobody knows.”

“The first two weeks are key,” he added. “Once it gets healed, it starts to matte down a little bit, then you can start doing some strengthening exercises and then you get an idea of where he would be. Everybody heals differently, too. You don’t know. Have to wait that time period to let it heal and then you can evaluate.”

Given how long it has taken other players to return from serious hamstring strains, Zimmerman may be out for a while. And the Nationals may be using the next two days ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline to explore a deal for a better offensive infield fill-in.

General Manager Mike Rizzo has said he trusts Danny Espinosa to hold down second base during Zimmerman’s absence, allowing Anthony Rendon to slide over to third. Espinosa started at second for the third straight game Tuesday.

James Wagner joined the Post in August 2010 and, prior to covering the Nationals, covered high school sports across the region.

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James Wagner · July 29, 2014