[UPDATED, 6 p.m.]
Right fielder Jayson Werth exited the Nationals’ 7-6 loss to the Rockies today for a pinch hitter in the fourth inning after he strained his left groin. Werth first felt a cramp in his groin earlier in the game while chasing down a hit in the right field corner. He attributed the injury to dehydration, playing the day after he sat out with flu-like symptoms.
“When you’re out there sweating and you’re dehydrated to start the game, you’re at risk,” Werth said. “And I knew that going into it, so it’s probably more my fault than anything else. But you want to win, you want to help your team win, and the only way I can do that is if I’m on the field. [I’m] willing to take that risk. I’ve taken it many times.”
Manager Davey Johnson did not rule out Werth landing on the disabled list, but Werth said he hopes to return Tuesday for the Nationals’ next game. Werth received treatment from Nationals medical director Wiemi Douoguih during the game and said he would know more tomorrow. Werth did not anticipate needing any further tests.
After he poked a single to the right field corner in the fourth, Werth jogged gingerly to first base, not even making a turn. After a few pitches, he pointed to and flexed his left leg as he asked the dugout for a replacement.
“Usually a ball like that, if it’s not a double I’m definitely around the bag hard,” Werth said. “And when I went to go, it just felt a little worse. So at that point, I didn’t really feel like I could help my team anymore, so I came out of the game.”
Werth, 34, missed 28 games earlier this season while on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain, which also struck after Werth played through illness. In the third season of a seven-year, $126 million contract, Werth has already missed 112 games the previous two seasons. Eighty-one of those came after he broke his left wrist last May.
“You play this game every day, you play in the heat and you got to go through things,” Werth said. “You play when you’re dehydrated, you play no matter what. Unfortunately the last few times I’ve chosen to do that, I’ve tweaked or pulled a muscle. But hopefully this time, it won’t be that big of a deal.”
Roger Bernadina replaced Werth, who was 2 for 2 with a pair of singles. Werth entered Sunday hitting .256/.312/.413 with seven homers this year.