8/15/2014 6:30 P.M. ET
Werth potentially available off bench for Nats
By Daniel Popper / MLB.com
WASHINGTON -- Jayson Werth was out of the Nationals' starting lineup for the fourth straight game Friday because of an AC joint sprain in his left shoulder, but manager Matt Williams said the right-handed slugger could "potentially" be available off the bench for the team's series opener against the Pirates.
Williams said Werth ran, participated in outfield drills and threw lightly on Thursday. The right fielder hadn't arrived at Nationals Park when Williams addressed the media on Friday afternoon, but the first-year skipper said Werth would take swings off the tee at some point before the game.
"Make sure it feels good," Williams said.
Williams said Werth will "certainly" be available off the bench on Saturday and didn't rule out that game as a possible return date. However, the manager said he would like to see how Werth responds to a full day of baseball activity before slotting him back in the starting lineup for the first time since Aug. 10.
"If you're looking at all of that, it probably points to Sunday," Williams said. "But it could be tomorrow, too, depending on how he feels. So we'll see."
McLouth to get second opinion on ailing shoulder
WASHINGTON -- Nationals outfielder Nate McLouth will get a second opinion on his ailing right shoulder from a doctor outside the team, manager Matt Williams said Friday. McLouth was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 4 because of inflammation stemming from a play in which he dove for a ball against the Marlins on July 28.
"It's not responding as well as he'd like it to respond," Williams said.
McLouth has done a variety of strengthening exercises and received a cortisone shot in his shoulder, but the rehab progress has not improved the injury. His move to the DL is retroactive to Aug. 2, meaning the Nationals can activate him as early as Sunday. However, Williams said McLouth is still in the "early stages" of his recovery, rendering that an unlikely proposition.
"It's not going quite as well as he'd like it to go. Doesn't mean it won't," Williams said. "Sometimes it takes longer than you would normally like. But he's going to go get a second look at it and see what that doc has to say, and then we'll make a determination from there what the next step would be."
Williams noted that getting a second opinion on an injury is a relatively standard occurrence among Major League players. Still, the circumstances leave the manager a little on edge.
"The fact that he's going to go have a second look is concerning, of course, because we would hope that it would just be taken care of and he'd be OK," Williams said. "But we want to do that to make sure that we're taking the proper path to making it better."
Nationals take to resodded outfield after concert
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals' grounds crew resodded a large area in the Nationals Park outfield on Wednesday night after a One Direction concert held at the stadium on Monday. Center fielder Denard Span went to check on the condition of the grass on Friday afternoon, accompanied by general manager Mike Rizzo, principal owner Mark Lerner and a member of the grounds crew.
"It's soft," Span said, when he returned to the dugout. "Real soft."
Still, it's an upgrade from what it looked like before the grounds crew put in the new grass. Span said he saw a picture illustrating the immediate aftermath of the concert, and the entire outfield was mud. Nonetheless, Span said he would just have to be extra careful regarding his footing, particularly when getting jumps on fly balls.
"What can you do?" Span said.
Span encountered issues with a soft outfield at Nationals Park earlier this month. On Aug. 4, the center fielder made a six-inch divot in the ground with his knee while making a sensational sliding catch against the Orioles. Nine days earlier, country music stars Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line played a concert at the stadium.
After the play, Jayson Werth came over and fixed the gaping hole for Span. But with Werth out of the lineup Friday night, will Span have to fix his own divots if he's forced to dive to the turf against the Pirates?
"Nah, I'll get [rookie Michael] Taylor to come over," Span joked. "He's definitely coming over to fix it."
Outfielder Steven Souza Jr., who is on the 15-day disabled list because of an AC joint sprain in his left shoulder, resumed baseball activities on Friday when he threw lightly. The prospect said he feels good and hopes to take swings on Saturday, barring any setbacks.
Daniel Popper is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.