Manager Davey Johnson pulled Werth in the sixth after Kevin Correia hit him with a 93-mph cut fastball on the wrist, the spot where he wears a specially designed pad to protect him from the kind of play that once put his career in jeopardy.
When the pitch smacked off Werth’s wrist, he slammed his bat to the ground and walked to first base. Johnson and a trainer came out to retrieve Werth, and he left only after he waived them off at first. After the game, Johnson asked if Werth needed an X-ray, and he insisted he did not. “He’s a tough guy,” Johnson said.
A Nationals spokesman said Werth had not received an X-ray. Werth declined comment following the game.
If Werth were to have an X-ray, “I’m not sure I want to know” what it would reveal, Johnson said. “It’s awful sore.”
The soreness in his wrist will not help Werth ditch his slump. Since June 4, Werth is 15 for 97 (.155) with two home runs, a .291 on-base percentage and a .268 slugging percentage. His batting average for the season has shrunk to .223. Werth has at least one strikeout in 10 straight games, and 18 of his last 43 plate appearances have been strikeouts.
Werth has had significant issues with his wrist before. In the spring 2005, Werth absorbed a pitch in the left wrist and did not play again until 2007. Before he found a unique procedure at the Mayo Clinic, Werth feared his career might be over. In no way does the injury he suffered Sunday seem to compare to that dark moment of Werth’s career.
But it did add to the recent pile of Nationals’ maladies. Michael Morse missed Sunday’s game with a bruised left forearm, which was hit by a fastball Saturday. Johnson assumes Morse, whom he said has trouble rotating his forearm, will not play for another day or two.
Laynce Nix has battled a sore right Achilles’ tendon, Ian Desmond has played through tightness in his thigh and before the hit by pitch, Werth was dealing with tightness in his left hip flexor. Jerry Hairston just went on the disabled list, and Rick Ankiel just came off.
“I’m real concerned about it,” Johnson said. “We start getting healthy and then, bang, something else happens. But that’s baseball. The bench has to got pick you up.”
At this point in the season, every team battles injury – “that kind of stuff happens in baseball,” Desmond said – but the Nationals have been particularly unlucky so far. Ryan Zimmerman, of course, missed two months with a torn abdominal muscle, which Johnson is also mindful of.
“Truth be told, I’d like to give my third baseman a day off,” Johnson said. “He’s playing an awful lot. I don’t want to push that to where he has a problem.”