ATLANTA — Amid the joy of the Nationals’ 13-12 comeback victory Tuesday night, there was disappointment. After veteran outfielder Reed Johnson, one of baseball’s most reliable pinch hitters, doubled home Dan Uggla to cut the Braves lead to one in the seventh, he felt a pop in his foot. When he reached second base, he tried to stay in the game. The pain began to subside, but returned when he dived into the base. The Nationals removed him for a pinch runner — Doug Fister, of all people.
“He tore … pulled a muscle,” Nationals Manager Matt Williams said after the game. “It acts like plantar fascia but it’s actually a muscle that kinda goes underneath your foot and up the side of your leg. He felt it when he came out of the box. He had a big pop.”
Williams said the team will evaluate Johnson’s status Wednesday, but that it could be a long-term injury.
“It’s not like it’s a little strain,” Williams said. “He was really having trouble moving so we’ll have to see how it is [Wednesday] and we’ll make a decision on it.”
Johnson joined the Nationals in the last week of spring training, a veteran outfielder and professional clubhouse presence who has already ingratiated himself with his teammates. The Marlins released him on the morning of March 30. The Nationals signed him by 5 p.m. Tuesday’s double was Johnson’s first pinch hit of the season in seven at-bats, but he has provided security for the injury-riddled outfield.
If Johnson must be placed on the disabled list, the Nationals could look at options such as Matt den Dekker or Tony Gwynn Jr., both at Class AAA Syracuse.