For his first three at-bats of Saturday’s 5-3, 14-inning loss to the New York Yankees, Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond flew out to second base and grounded out twice to the right side. To make matters worse, a nagging injury to his side was tightening up a little bit as he sat in the dugout. That pain – which he described as “a knot” – nearly kept him out of the game.

Manager Davey Johnson, who is cautious with minor injuries, wanted to give a day off to his shortstop, who had played in every game this season except one. Desmond’s thinking: “I’m going to go if I can.”

After Desmond launched his 10th home run of the season in the eighth inning, a solo shot that tied the game at 3, the discomfort disappeared. “I hit the home run there and I wondered if there was anything there at all,” he said. In his 269th at-bats of the season, the one-time Nationals leadoff hitter tied his career high with 10 home runs. He accomplished the same feat 2010 in 525 at-bats.

After the game, Desmond proclaimed the injury was “manageable,” adding it didn’t feel “great but it’s not terrible.” Johnson may still give Desmond the day off on Sunday.

“Played 14 innings, so I feel pretty good about it,” he said. “I’ve played through worse. Should be all right.”

More on the Nationals:

Harper struggles as Yankees outlast Nats

Box score: Yankees 5, Nationals 3 (14)

Jason Reid: Harper can watch Jeter and learn

New York’s substitutes save the day

Desmond in lineup despite nagging injury

Updates on Mattheus, Rodriguez injuries

Ten reasons the Nats are for real

Outlook: Giving birth to a Nats fan

MLB power rankings: Nats are No. 1