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Werth sidelined again with "cranky" shoulder


Werth sidelined again with "cranky" shoulder

Jayson Werth was out of the Nationals’ lineup Wednesday for the second straight game, his surgically repaired right shoulder still “cranky,” according to Nationals manager Matt Williams.

Werth, who had surgery January 9 to repair the AC joint of his shoulder, missed all of spring training and made his regular season debut one week late. He had been a mainstay in the lineup since then, though, getting only two games off and then starting 11 consecutive games before he was sidelined Tuesday.

Williams described this as “part of the progression” for Werth, who now will get three straight days off, with the Nationals’ next scheduled game Friday night against the Braves.

“It’s going to be cranky from time to time,” Williams said. “You know, surgery five months ago, it’s part of the rehab process, you get through stuff like this over time. So it’s a little cranky. With the off-day tomorrow, this is an opportunity to let it calm down as much as possible.”

Werth, who eluded reporters in the clubhouse prior to Wednesday’s game, was available Tuesday only in an emergency. He did stand in the on-deck circle for a minute during the bottom of the seventh, but he apparently was serving only as a decoy, getting Marlins manager Mike Redmond to bring in a right-handed reliever and allowing Williams to then send up left-handed Clint Robinson to hit instead.

When the Nationals needed a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth, with the tying runner in scoring position, Werth was sitting on the bench. Tyler Moore wound up striking out to end a 2-1 loss to Miami.

Werth is off to a slow start this season, and surely the shoulder injury has played some role in that. He enters Wednesday hitting .176 and slugging .203 with only two extra-base hits in 19 games. He also has looked less than comfortable at times in left field.

“It’s something you go through when you’re coming back,” Williams said. “And at 35 years old, it’s a lot harder than when you’re 22 and younger. He’ll be ready to go Friday.”

RELATED: [Strasburg hopes chiropractor can fix shoulder]

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Players were asking Davey Martinez if he would be fired during 2019 rough stretch

Players were asking Davey Martinez if he would be fired during 2019 rough stretch

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Davey Martinez’s office in the home clubhouse is often a place of peace. A candle may burn, music is almost always on, and multiple conversations happen inside.

Martinez’s desk is tidy. His predecessors covered it with more material, or at least with more random material and decoration. An inspirational slogan sits on the outer lip, so anyone talking to Martinez would be faced with the words.

The talks in there since Martinez was hired in 2018 ranged from a meeting with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg following their in-dugout argument to Martinez reminding Gerardo Parra of his prime duty during last year’s run. Different conversations began when the Nationals were roiled by a bad start last season which dragged them to a 19-31 record following a sweep in New York. The players wanted to know if Martinez’s job was safe.

“They were reading all this stuff and they would come into my office and they asked me, ‘Hey, are you going to get fired?’” Martinez told NBC Sports Washington. “I’d say, ‘No, I’m not.’ Let’s focus on just playing and going 1-0. The 1-0 came from -- even though I believe in waking up and doing that, but I started preaching, hey, let’s go 1-0 today and we believed that. And we built our season around that. All of a sudden when they got healthier and healthier, they took off.”


Martinez was sitting next to general manager Mike Rizzo when he made the statement. Rizzo publicly said last season Martinez would not be fired -- though an executive’s confirmation in that sphere is often viewed as the final damning blow. Managing principal owner Mark Lerner said in the playoffs he never considered firing Martinez. However, the grousing outside of the organization was loud and followed an 82-80 season. But, it’s that mediocre record which may have actually saved Martinez’s job.

“Everybody talks about 19-31 to the world championship,” Rizzo told NBC Sports Washington. “82-80 the year before might have been the greatest managing job he ever did because that thing could have gone off the rails really quickly and it could have been a horrendous season for us. With all the injuries that we had that year with some key personnel, I thought he handled it masterfully in 2018 to keep that ship afloat, then in 2019 you just saw a more experienced person that had the hearts of the clubhouse. 

“You not only didn’t see anybody pointing fingers or anonymous quotes or anything like that. You had players who had no skin in the game say positive things about the manager when they didn’t have to -- 19-31 you have a professional like Brian Dozier telling you this is one of the great managers in the game and we’re 19-31.”

They hung on. It worked. Which means two things are now known: First, Martinez has a clear path to exceeding a low bar and becoming the longest-tenured manager in Nationals history. Second, the outside world wasn’t the only place wondering about his job status during last season’s downtrodden start.

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Why is Trea Turner’s name on a replica Super Bowl trophy in the Nationals’ clubhouse?

Why is Trea Turner’s name on a replica Super Bowl trophy in the Nationals’ clubhouse?

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Yan Gomes walked by a bright, silver emblem which represented his personal joy and has sat in the middle of the Nationals clubhouse as a beacon of trash talk this spring. He stopped, then rubbed his shirtsleeve over it to maintain its gleam.

At first glance, the replica looks precisely like the Vince Lombardi Trophy. And, it’s central location in the clubhouse makes it impossible to miss, which is the point.

“That’s Yan flexing on all of us,” Max Scherzer said, shaking his head.

The trophy is to commemorate Gomes’ fantasy football victory from last year. No one will disclose the cost to enter, but it’s steep. So high that the team split into two leagues last season: The A group, populated by well-heeled veterans, and the B group, who do not have the same cash.

Three names are on the trophy: Gomes, batting practice pitcher Ali Modami, and, in a late addition, Trea Turner.

Gomes and Modami were the co-owners of the winning team. Turner was added to the trophy via trolling tape. His name is hand written and spread across the bottom of the trophy’s base, beneath Gomes and Modami. Why? This is Gomes’ way of simultaneously mocking and thanking Turner for his contribution to the championship after he made a bad trade which vaulted Gomes and Modami to the title.

“I had three good running backs,” Turner said. “So, I traded Nick Chubb, who was doing great at the time, George Kittle, and Carson Wentz for Deshaun Watson, Keenan Allen and John Brown. I needed wide receivers, so I gave up one of my running backs and tight ends for two wide receivers, basically, but...shouldn’t have done it.”

Nothing was formal about the split between who was in the A or B league. No service time requirements or particular stats. It was more about making a financial decision. Erick Fedde, commissioner of the B league, considered his personal fate before choosing.

“I didn’t need my girlfriend killing me for spending a lot of money on fantasy football,” Fedde said.

So, he organized the B league, mostly populated by what he called the “swing guys,” who were mostly young at the major-league level or still in the minor leagues. Carter Kieboom, Tanner Rainey, Jake Noll, Tyler Mapes and Scott Copeland were in the league. So was Javy Guerra, Joe Ross and Austin Voth. Among the biggest challenges? Organizing the draft.

“It was so difficult,” Fedde said. “We were trying to make sure we got the minor-league season done or the big-league guys that were either called up or they weren’t flying. We had a big-league day game like two days after the minor-league season ended, so hopefully everybody was home by then. That was the hardest part. I remember we did our group chat, we did picking names out of the hat with all the guys who were in the big leagues at the time then sent the video to everyone who was down in the minors still. It’s a lot of work being the commissioner of that league.”

Fedde was in four fantasy football leagues last season. He, similar to Turner, became partly responsible for delivering a championship via ill-advised trade in the Nationals B league.

“I made the bad trade this year to the champion,” Fedde said. “Copeland won. I gave up Tyreek Hill. Traded him away because I was like 0-4 to start the year. I needed healthy players. That ended up biting the league in the butt.”

Turner tried to defend his decision-making, which flipped the A league in Gomes’ favor, claiming a bad start did not push him into a panic move.

“I still to this day, I’ll argue for it because I gave up a strength of mine to improve a weakness,” Turner said. “It just didn’t work out. I’m not mad about it. He thinks it’s so funny to put me on that trophy, but he just got lucky.”

Did Turner know he would be on the trophy?

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Turner said. “He texted me as soon as he won. I knew that was going to happen. He’s having the time of his life. I’ll let him enjoy it.”

Gomes again walked by the trophy later Wednesday and paused for a minute. He shot a look across the clubhouse, then moved on. Turner lurked with revenge on his mind.

“Next season is coming up here pretty quick,” Turner said. “He’s going to have to redo it all again or else he’s going to be wearing it himself.”

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