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Jayson Werth grimaces after fouling a ball off his left ankle last night.
Werth fouled an eighth-inning pitch off his left ankle and was writhing in pain for several minutes afterward. He finished the at-bat, striking out, but then was replaced in the field by Roger Bernadina in the bottom of the inning.
Turns out the ankle injury wasn't the reason for that move, but rather a cramped hamstring that had been plaguing Werth throughout the game.
"It's tight all day, really," Werth said. "Just never really got loose. Started having some muscle cramps towards the latter part of the game. I think the inning before I had some action in right, just cramped up pretty good."
Werth told manager Davey Johnson he could hit in the eighth inning, but he'd need a pinch-runner if he reached base. Given how much his ankle was barking by the end of that at-bat, he certainly wouldn't have been able to run.
"I'll be fine," he insisted. "It's not like a strain or anything, just a cramp. Those things happen. Sometimes they happen and you guys never hear about them. The ankle probably made the situation worse."
Werth said last night it was "too early to tell" whether he'd be able to play in the second game of this pivotal series against the Braves. Johnson, as is often the case, seemed more concerned.
"Hopefully he'll need a couple days off and be all right," the manager said.
Meanwhile, Adam LaRoche finally snapped out of his 0-for-26 slump with a second-inning single to left. He later drove a liner to deep left that was caught at the warning track, drew a walk and then struck out in his final at-bat against lefty Eric O'Flaherty.
Above all else, the veteran first baseman was relieved to get off the schneid at last.
"Finally, first time in a while I thought I was in a position to hit," he said. "I was so tied up on some drivable pitches the past week, I was just borderline lost. So it felt good to kind of slow it down a little bit, to be able to pick the ball up and not try to hit it out of his hand. Slowed it down a little. That's a start."
All that happened, of course, after LaRoche spent more than 30 minutes breaking down video of his swing with ex-teammate Chipper Jones, who made a surprise appearance in the visitors clubhouse at Turner Field pregame.
"He knows my swing as well as anybody," LaRoche said. "He was just thinking back of what he remembered what it used to look like, and then watching a bunch of film, some good swings from last year and some bad ones from this year, trying to compare. So it was good, kind of reinforcing the things that [hitting coach Rick Eckstein] and I have been talking about. Just to hear it from a different angle, it always helps."