WASHINGTON — Nationals manager Davey Johnson missed the end of Washington’s regular-season finale because of numbness in his left leg that was traced to pinched nerves in his back.
After NL East champion Washington’s 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday, the 69-year-old Johnson — the oldest skipper in the majors — said he started losing feeling in his leg during the third inning and took a muscle relaxer and aspirin.
Still not feeling OK by the seventh inning, he left the dugout, turning managing duties over to bench coach Randy Knorr. A team doctor took a series of X-rays, discovered that Johnson had bulging discs pressing against nerves, and gave him anti-inflammatory medicine.
Johnson said he expected to be given an injection on the team’s day off Thursday to help the problem.
He doesn’t anticipate having any trouble traveling or managing during the playoffs. The Nationals will fly Saturday and open their NL division series at the Atlanta Braves or St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.
After walking to a Nationals Park interview room without any apparent problem, Johnson opened his postgame news conference by saying: “I’m OK. Nothing wrong with me.”
Asked his level of concern about Johnson, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo replied: “None.”
Johnson’s players did not seem to be too worried about him, either, with several making jokes about what happened.
“Everybody’s hurting. I mean, it’s September,” right fielder Jayson Werth explained. “Maybe they’re sympathy pains. I’m not sure.”
Noting that several everyday players got a chance to sit out Tuesday or Wednesday, third baseman Ryan Zimmerman kidded: “I thought he just didn’t want to manage; he was tired of managing. Everyone else got a day off, yesterday or today, so I thought he was taking one.”
Said first baseman Adam LaRoche: “I thought he just needed a nap.”
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