HOUSTON -- Jayson Werth said after leaving Monday night's game due to soreness in his legs that he would be good to go Tuesday, and he felt the same way Tuesday afternoon. But he wasn't in the starting lineup, as manager Davey Johnson is playing it safe with the veteran outfielder.
Werth felt fine Tuesday -- much better than he did Monday -- and said he could play if called upon. But around the sixth inning of Monday's 11-inning marathon, Werth started to feel like he couldn't do anything but hit. He got picked off at first base and his legs were tight and fatigued, and he knew staying in the game wouldn't help the Nationals win.
"He was really hurting," Johnson said. "His legs just aren't under him yet. When he got picked off at first, I could tell they weren't getting the signal from the brain to go. I knew I was going to have to be careful with him coming back because he's all-in. The way he plays, it's all-in. Just give him a chance to catch his breath."
This isn't unexpected, as Werth sat out 75 games while recovering from left wrist surgery then jumped back from a short rehab playing at full speed every day. In that sense, it's like he's still in the middle of Spring Training, working his way into game shape.
"That's why Spring Training is six weeks," Werth said. "You can't do anything to get in shape for baseball other than play baseball."