WASHINGTON — Dusty Baker expects injured second baseman Daniel Murphy to play for the Nationals in Game 1 of the NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but Washington’s manager still won’t announce his Game 2 starter.
After Thursday’s workout, a little more than 24 hours before the series opens, Baker explained Murphy “says he’s ready, so therefore we think he’s ready.”
Murphy hasn’t started a game since Sept. 17 because of a strained glute muscle. Murphy said he is confident he will play after working out Thursday.
“It was good to hit the bases, cut, and I felt really good out there,” Murphy said. “I’m going to try everything I can to be in there tomorrow. These guys, my teammates, have really grinded and it’s been fun to watch while I’m out. I want to be in there and be in the fire with them.”
Rosters don’t need to be set until Friday, when Washington hosts Game 1. Baker revealed a little, saying backup infielder Wilmer Difo will be among his 25 players, Pedro Severino will start at catcher and that the Nationals will carry three lefty relievers, but he wouldn’t say which ones.
Sammy Solis, Marc Rzepczynski, Oliver Perez and Sean Burnett are the lefties available.
With All-Star Wilson Ramos out because of a torn ACL in his right knee, Severino got the nod at catcher because Baker said Jose Lobaton was a little injured.
Max Scherzer pitches for Washington against Clayton Kershaw on Friday, and Rich Hill will start for Los Angeles in Game 2 on Saturday. Baker said Thursday the Nationals haven’t decided who will start the second game.
It’s expected to be either righty Tanner Roark or lefty Gio Gonzalez because Stephen Strasburg is out with a strained flexor mass in his right elbow.
“We are a little bit banged up in our pitching staff,” Baker said. “It would be very easy if we had Strasburg, I can tell you that right now.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Andrew Toles is healthy after dealing with a left wrist injury and will start in left field in Game 1.