05/08/2013 11:17 PM ET
Nats glad Happ is OK, mixed about protection
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals were saddened after learning that Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Rays outfielder Desmond Jennings on Tuesday. Happ was released from the hospital Wednesday, which pleased the Nationals.
"It's scary. You hope it doesn't happen to you. It's kind of one of those things. Hopefully, he is all right. We'll be praying for him," reliever Craig Stammen said
But the question remains: Should a pitcher start wearing protective head gear while throwing on the mound? The reaction was mixed.
As a member of the Braves, manager Davey Johnson remembers when Mets left-hander Jon Matlack was hit in the face by a line drive off the bat of Marty Perez in 1973 and the ball bounced into the Mets' dugout. Matlack was back on the mound in a couple of weeks. Johnson thinks a pitcher doesn't need protection to protect the head area.
"You just have to pay attention. Pitchers, first-base coach, third-base coach, it's not what kind of gear you have on, you have to react," Johnson said. "I think they overdid it with armor around the hitters, and they cut that way back."
Said right-hander Stephen Strasburg: "The game has been around a long time. It's tough to say. I won't want to wear a helmet. There are too many moving parts, and you are up there trying to throw a pitch and command it and stuff. It's not like I grew up wearing one. I don't want anything to throw me off. … If there is something they can do and make it feel like a hat and they give you some sort of padding, fine. But as far as wearing anything like a baseball helmet, that's too much. I can't imagine pitching in a batting helmet."
Stammen is not sure what should be done. He said if the league would come up with something, he would be all for it.
"If they could come up with a creative, lightweight [cap] to keep us safe, I'm all for that. But I don't think I've seen the alternative that has been proven to be safe and efficient," Stammen said. "It would be tough to pitch if you have a huge helmet on."
Garcia progresses, begins throwing from mound
WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Christian Garcia, who is on the disabled list because of a right forearm strain, is throwing from the mound, according to manager Davey Johnson. Garcia, the Nats' No. 15 prospect, is able to throw his fastball and changeup.
On Thursday, Garcia will start throwing curveballs. After he does that, Garcia will start throwing to hitters in batting practice and then pitch in a Minor League game, most likely with Triple-A Syracuse. No timetable has been given on when Garcia will pitch in a Minor League game.
Garcia didn't pitch in a Grapefruit League game after feeling pain in his forearm during the team's first workout in February. He felt the cold weather played a role in his discomfort.
As of now, it's not known if Garcia will be a starter or reliever. Johnson, who prefers Garcia to be a starter, said it depends what the Nationals need by the time he is healthy and back on the mound.
Werth remains out of lineup due to hamstring
WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson was hoping right fielder Jayson Werth would be back in the lineup on Wednesday, but Werth wasn't able to play because of right hamstring tightness.
Werth figures to be out of the lineup for the fifth straight game on Thursday, when he will have an MRI done on his ailing hamstring. Johnson said a stomach virus has left Werth dehydrated and contributed to the muscle tightening.
Werth was able to work out before Wednesday's game against the Tigers. But after he finished, Werth suffered "a spasm" in the hamstring, according to Johnson
"[Werth] came in early and he still ... has a little pull or something. With the rain and stuff, he is not going to be in the lineup," Johnson said before the game. "I would like to have him in the lineup, but I want to be on the safe side."
Werth hurt the hamstring and his left ankle on April 29 against the Braves. He played last Thursday in Atlanta, but was taken out after the fourth inning.
Nats announce ticket policy for Tuesday's rainout
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals announced Wednesday that all fans who purchased tickets for Tuesday night's postponed game against the Tigers will be guaranteed their same seats for Thursday's scheduled 4:05 p.m. ET makeup game, or will retain the option to exchange their tickets for any remaining regular or value home game during the 2013 season, subject to availability.
Due to increased attendance at Nationals Park, "rain check" ticketholders are encouraged to contact the Nationals' ticket office online or by phone to better ensure seating for those games.
Exchanged tickets will be issued from available inventory in the closest pricing category of equal or lesser value to the original seats.
For more information on exchanging tickets purchased through nationals.com or the Nationals' telephone charge line, fans can call 888.632.NATS (6287).
• Hitting coach Rick Eckstein's wife, Caroline, gave birth to a baby girl, Isabel Loring Eckstein, on Wednesday. Both mother and daughter are doing fine.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.