May 17, 2012; Washington, D.C., USA; Washington Nationals injured outfielder Jayson Werth (28) talks with bench coach Randy Knorr (53) in the second inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE
Washington Nationals' outfielder Jayson Werth suffered a broken wrist on a sliding play in the outfield in a May 6th game against the Philadelphia Phillies in the nation's capital. This afternoon in Nats Park the 33-year-old outfielder took another step towards returning to the Nats' lineup when he took BP in D.C. Afterwards, Nationals' manager Davey Johnson told reporters he was, "... really pleasantly surprised," with what he saw from the outfielder who signed a 7-year/$126M dollar deal with Washington back in the winter of 2010.
"I didn't think he'd be hitting for another week," the Nats' 69-year-old skipper explained, "And it seemed like he didn't feel any discomfort. He said, 'I'm not as strong as I'd like to be with my bottom hand,' which is the one that was broke, but [he was] swinging the bat exceptionally well. He told me last night, he said he was going to hit today and after he hit today he wanted to go out and start playing a little bit. He felt like one thing he wanted when he came back is to have his timing just the way he wants it, so I said, 'That's way ahead of schedule, if you do that just take it easy, and don't overdo it."
The Nats' manager said he had spoke to Werth about possibly starting a rehab assignment with one of the Nationals' affiliates last night, and, as he put it, "That was the conversation I had last night and after I saw him hit I didn't see any reason to think different." Asked to clarify if that meant Werth would actually begin a rehab assignment tomorrow, Johnson told reporters, "More than likely," but admitted that he'd been doing a lot of press this afternoon and hadn't had any further conversations with his outfielder.
As for what Werth would work on as he rehabbed, the manager said, "He's been down so long," with the wrist injury, "that the rest of his body is going to need the time as much as his timing." Essentially, Johnson said, it's like, "He's had the winter off. I mean he's been able to do a few things, but not a whole lot of catching the ball and not a whole lot of running around to catch it. He pretty much know his body better than anybody and knows what he needs to do to come back and he knows where we're at in the pennant race, so when he comes back he doesn't want to be half-stepping. So, it will be entirely up to him and how he's feeling."
In 27 games and 113 plate appearances before the injury, the second-year Nats' outfielder had a .276/.372/.439 line with five doubles and three home runs. Werth's expected to rejoin Bryce Harper (in center) and Michael Morse (in left) in the Nationals' outfield when and if he does return, but he took another step toward getting back on the field this afternoon.