Now’s the time of the season when a lot of teams begin to worry about how healthy their players and the Nationals are definitely no exception. With Adam LaRoche on the DL, Ryan Zimmerman spending most of the first half of the season on the DL, and Michael Morse and Adam Werth having some injury scares recently, manager Davey Johnson is a little worried about the team’s condition. That is why both Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse aren’t in the Nats’ starting lineup today.
In both cases, Johnson stressed that they are just playing it a little on the safe side though seemed to be a little more concerned about Zimmerman. That shouldn’t be too surprising as Zimm is sitting out today due to “tenderness” in his abdomen, which is the same area that he had surgery on back in May. It therefore makes sense that you’d want to give him a day off so he doesn’t reaggravate the injury. The good news is that Zimmerman apparently told Johnson that he could still go if necessary and it was the manager who decided to give him the day off.
With both Morse and Werth, they were suffering from getting hit by pitches on the arm over the weekend. Morse got hit hard on the forearm and they originally believed there was a hairline fracture, but a MRI didn’t show anything. He’s still taking the day off though as a precaution. Adam Werth left yesterday’s game early after he was hit in the wrist with a 93 mph fastball. While there was speculation that he could miss a day or two -- especially when you consider a similar pitch recently put him out for about a year -- he refused to even have it X-rayed and is back in the lineup today.
What this all means is that there is some shakeup in today’s lineup as Alex Cora will be playing 3rd and batting 2nd while Matt Stairs will be at 1st and batting 6th. The 43 year-old Stairs has definitely seen an uptick in playing time since Johnson took over as manager and yesterday he finally surpassed pitcher Jason Marquis in the number of hits that he has this season. Hopefully the increased playing time will lead to better timing at the plate and the increased production that has allowed him to stay in uniform for so many years.