8/9/2014 1:26 A.M. ET
Souza injures shoulder after crashing into wall
By Bill Ladson and Joe Morgan / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Nationals right fielder Steven Souza Jr. left Friday's 7-6 loss to the Braves in the bottom of the third inning because of left shoulder inflammation. As of now, Souza is not going on the disabled list, but it is almost certain that he will not play for a couple of days.
The injury occurred in the bottom of the second inning when Souza crashed into the right-field wall. With Atlanta leading, 4-0, Freddie Freeman swung at a 2-1 pitch from right-hander Stephen Strasburg and hit a long drive to right field. Souza chased after the ball and collided with the wall at full speed as the ball went over the fence for a two-run homer.
Souza was on the ground for at least a minute, while manager Matt Williams, athletic trainer Lee Kuntz and several teammates came to his aide.
"I think what kind of scared me was the speed that I was running at [as I was] coming down," Souza said. "The head is fine, everything is fine. I just jammed the shoulder pretty hard. I need a couple of days rest and it will be OK."
Souza got up on his own power. He then took swings in the indoor batting cage and said that he was OK. Souza was able to get an at-bat in the top of the third inning. He lined out hard to shortstop Ramiro Pena, but during the at-bat, Souza aggravated the shoulder and was taken out of the game immediately thereafter.
"I didn't want to start giving away at-bats and just be a prideful player," Souza said. "Get someone in there who can have quality ABs. I was trying to play through it, trying to let the shoulder calm down. It just didn't work out."
Kevin Frandsen replaced Souza and entered the game to play left field, while Bryce Harper moved from left to right.
Strasburg said he appreciated the effort Souza made.
"Once he gets more and more playing time, he will have a lot better awareness [about which] balls are not going to be caught," Strasburg said.
Banged-up Werth gets the day off for Nationals
ATLANTA -- Nationals manager Matt Williams gave Jayson Werth a day off on Friday as the outfielder deals with right ankle and right shoulder soreness. Steven Souza, the club's No. 5 prospect who was recently recalled from Triple-A Syracuse, started in right field, but Souza was injured after crashing into the outfield wall and exited the game in the third inning.
"He's pretty banged up," Williams said about Werth. "He's been dealing with the shoulder and the ankle. Long game yesterday, he's played a lot of games. He's feeling it today. He wants to play, but I don't know how good he'd be today anyway."
Williams said Werth would only require treatment and does not need any medical examinations for either the shoulder or the ankle. The skipper chalked up the veteran's ailments to the usual pains experienced during a long season.
"I think it's a combination of a lot of things," Williams said. "We'll get the guys to work on him. Hopefully, he'll be good to go for the next two and then we get another off-day [on Monday], so that will help him a lot."
Werth's absence from the lineup also paved the way for the newly acquired Asdrubal Cabrera to move from seventh to second in the Washington lineup. Cabrera has more experience against Ervin Santana than any other Nationals player.
Cabrera also has 1,847 career plate appearances in the No. 2 spot, dwarfing his 398 in the ninth hole, his second-most frequent spot in the order. Anthony Rendon, who leads Washington with 50 extra-base hits in 2014, batted third.
"Asdrubal's seen him, he's got 34 at-bats against him, so he knows the pitcher," Williams said. "He's comfortable in that spot. You move Anthony down to three and he's comfortable there, too. With Jayson out, we've got to make adjustments, but it fits with those two guys given their comfort in both those spots."
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. Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.