WASHINGTON -- Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche were both held out of the Nationals' starting lineup in Sunday's 4-3 win over the Cardinals, but manager Davey Johnson said both should play in Monday's series opener against the Cubs.
Werth exited Saturday's game in the ninth inning with hamstring cramps, saying afterward it "felt intelligent not to play any longer." He was initially set to lead off Sunday, but as players were running onto the field, it was announced Roger Bernadina would play center field, while Bryce Harper moved over to right field.
After Saturday's game, Werth said it had been four or five years since he cramped up during a game and "hopefully it's just that and no big deal." After he was a late scratch from the game, some initial cause for concern seemed rational, but Johnson denied that after the game.
"He's doing better," Johnson said. "He was right around me all day, so I know he was chomping at the bit. I was going to let him hit off of their starter because they had a left-hander in the 'pen, but when they didn't, I was just going to let LaRoche hit. But he said his leg was feeling better as the game went on, so he should be good to go [on Monday]."
LaRoche, meanwhile, was held out of the lineup with a sore back, though he did pinch-hit for Stephen Strasburg in the bottom of the sixth and flew out to center field. Chad Tracy manned first base in his absence.
Johnson said LaRoche texted him late Saturday night to say his back had been bothering him for the past two or three days.
"His back has been bothering him for the last two or three days, but he's been hitting the heck out of the ball, so I hadn't even asked him how he's been," Johnson said. "But when he texted me last night, I said, 'You've earned it. I'll give you a breather.'"
Upon noticing Werth wasn't in the lineup, LaRoche did tell Johnson that he could play. Instead, Johnson opted to keep him out of the lineup being that Werth needs continued at-bats as he works back toward full playing strength.
"I'll probably have to wrestle them to keep them out of the lineup [on Monday]," Johnson said.