ATLANTA -- Recently, Braves catcher Brian McCann told MLB.com's Mark Bowman and Eric Single that he believes the recent discomfort in his right knee is a product of playing on what he described as a "really, really hard" surface behind the plate at Nationals Park.
However, Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos said he doesn't have that problem with Nationals Park's surface. Ramos said he was aware of McCann's problem through teammate Adam LaRoche, a close friend of McCann's.
"I never had any problems," Ramos said. "[McCann] talked to LaRoche about [the surface]. The surface is too hard. [Through LaRoche], McCann said, 'Tell the people to make [the surface] a little more [softer].' … When he plays at Nationals Park, he feels sore in his leg. When he goes behind the plate, it's too hard. I don't have any problems that he had."
Ramos has had hamstring problems this year, but he said it has nothing to do with the surface at Nationals Park.
Warnings issued after Harper hit twice by Braves
ATLANTA -- Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper was twice hit by a pitch during Friday's 3-2, 10-inning loss to the Braves at Turner Field.
In the fourth inning, with left-hander Alex Wood on the mound, Harper was hit on the right arm with a curveball. After Harper was hit the second time in the eighth inning by left-hander Luis Avilan, home-plate umpire Marty Foster issued warnings to both teams.
"I feel bad for him, especially because I don't want to hit him in that part of the body. It was a bad day for me," Avilan said. "I was thinking, 'I hope he doesn't think I hit him on purpose.' You know the situation. We were leading, 2-1. I don't want to put the [go-ahead] run at first. I feel bad. If I'm going to hit him on purpose, I'm not going to hit him almost in his head because it's dangerous."
Asked if the Braves intentionally tried to hit Harper, manager Davey Johnson said, "I hope not because it's ridiculous. A close ballgame. They have a lot more to lose than we do at this point. So it would be a ridiculous thing to be doing."
Harper wasn't available for comment, but Nationals left-hander Ian Krol remembered when the Braves hit Harper with a pitch the last time these two clubs met. On Aug. 6, right-hander Julio Teheran hit the side of Harper's right thigh with a four-seam fastball on the first pitch one at-bat after homering off the right-hander. The benches and bullpens emptied, but no punches were thrown.
"They did that the last time we played them. We like to play civilized," Krol said. "We don't like to cheap shot anybody. We go out there and work our tails off. Hopefully, the outcome of the game goes our way."
Werth sad to see Manuel dismissed by Phils
ATLANTA -- Outfielder Jayson Werth was saddened to learn about Charlie Manuel's dismissal as manager of the Phillies. Under Manuel, Werth became an everyday right fielder who helped the Phillies win two pennants and one World Series title before joining the Nationals.
Even more importantly, Werth credits Manuel for being the player he is today.
"He is the best manager I ever played for. Nothing against Davey [Johnson]," Werth said. "I owe [Manuel a lot]. … It took a lot to win him over. Once he put me in there, he believed in me as much -- if not more than -- anybody that I've ever played for. … He is the one that pushed me to be the player that I became. Between him and those guys I played with over there, it kind of goes hand in hand."
When he arrived in Philadelphia, Werth was coming off a bad hand injury that he suffered in 2005. He was a reserve with the Phillies until June 2008. After numerous conversations with Manuel about playing every day -- the dialogue lasted more than a year -- Werth was given the right-field job and he took advantage of the situation. His best season under Manuel was in '09, when he hit 36 home runs and drove in 99 runs, both career highs.
"He said, 'I'm going to give you your chance. This is your last chance. If you don't hit righties, this is it,'" Werth said. "I always disagreed with him. [I told him], 'The righties that you are giving me are guys in the eighth or ninth inning. It's really not fair.' It didn't change his mind.
"We went to Oakland, I finally went in there. [Geoff Jenkins] wasn't having the year that he has had in the past. … I went in there and hashed it out a little bit and he was going to give me an opportunity. … I guess I started hitting righties and things worked out.
"I was OK with Charlie. That's how he is. If you perform for him, he is going to like you. That's how this business is. It's a cutthroat business as you can tell."
Werth talked to Manuel in May and Manuel plans to manage next season.
"He guaranteed me that he would manage somewhere next year, so we'll see," Werth said.
With Johnson retiring after the season, Werth said he wouldn't mind playing for Manuel next season in Washington.
"I don't know if he fits into the organization's plans, but I love playing for him," he said.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashinNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.