2016 NLDS: Nationals’ Jayson Werth Confident Back Tightness Isn’t Serious
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Nationals clinched the National League East on Sept. 24, and the Los Angeles Dodgers wrapped up the NL West the following afternoon, cementing their NL Division Series matchup. But entering play Saturday, home-field advantage has yet to be decided.

Washington’s magic number to host Games 1 and 2, and Game 5 (if necessary), is down to one. Should they finish with the same record as Los Angeles, the Dodgers would earn home-field advantage due to winning five of six head-to-head meetings this season.

While the clubs have jockeyed in the standings, they’ve handled the past week much differently. The Dodgers are hosting several auditions for their postseason roster, while the Nationals are dealing with a slew of injuries.

The latest of which came to outfielder Jayson Werth, who was removed in the seventh inning on Friday due to back tightness.

However, according to Mark Zuckerman of MasnSports.com, Werth doesn’t believe his injury is serious:

“It’s one of those things where we’re in a part of the season where you’d rather err on the side of caution,” he said. “I just didn’t want to put myself in a position where I could potentially get hurt. So I just talked to (manager Dusty Baker) and he got me out of there. More precautionary than anything else. If I’m not in there tomorrow, I’d be surprised. It’s possible it could still be tight tomorrow, but I don’t think we’re dealing with anything that’s anything other than tightness in there. I didn’t strain anything. I didn’t pull anything. When I came in, we did a bunch of tests, most of the tests with the training staff. And we ruled out any strains or pulls or anything like that. It’s more of a tightness thing.”

Werth went 0-for-3 with one strikeout prior to exiting. He’s batting .244/.335/.417 with 28 doubles, 21 home runs and 69 RBI this season, and is not in Saturday’s lineup.

On Monday, the Nationals lost All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos to a torn ACL. Daniel Murphy is dealing with a buttocks injury, though Nationals manager Dusty Baker is optimistic the second baseman will return in time for Game 1 on Friday. Murphy last started Sept. 17 and has only made two pinch-hit appearances since then.

Stephen Strasburg has begun throwing, but he remains doubtful to contribute during the NLDS. He was removed in the third inning on Sept. 7 and diagnosed with a strained flexor mass in his right elbow.