Jayson Werth hasn't played a game for the Washington Nationals in over a month now. The 34-year-old Nats' right fielder hasn't taken the field in Nationals Park since April 28th against Cincinnati when he went 0 for 3 with a walk and a K to break a four-game hit streak. When Werth began his first rehab stint in mid-May, Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo was confident they'd made the right move by placing the veteran outfielder on the DL, as he explained in an interview with 106.7 the FAN in D.C.'s Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier.
"Jayson's injury was a precautionary disabled list to make sure it doesn't get any worse where he's out for a couple of months if that hamstring tears," the Nats' general manager said, "so, we feel that when he's ready to come off the DL on Saturday [5/18] he should be able to, but we'll take it day-by-day and see where he's at after he plays a couple games."
The next update came while Washington was on the road in San Francisco with Davey Johnson telling reporters he had received an "alarming" report on Werth's hamstring. As Werth explained it, in the first at bat of his rehab start with the Potomac Nationals he felt something in his hamstring again and after another trip to the doctor, more rest was recommended for the outfielder who had a .260/.308/.400 line with Washington before he went on the DL.
Werth's second rehab stint with the P-Nats started on May 29th. Over a five-game stretch, the 11-year MLB veteran was 9 for 16, ending his time in Potomac with a 2 for 4, two three-run home game that left him with a .556/.600/.944 line a double and two home runs against High-A pitching. The Nationals' manager told reporters after the Nats' loss to the Atlanta Braves on Sunday that he expected Werth to rejoin the team in the nation's capital tonight when they face the New York Mets.
With an offense that has struggled to get on base and score runs, Werth's return had the Nationals' 70-year-old skipper excited. "I think we're going to get Jayson [Werth] back tomorrow," Johnson said, "that will be a shot in the arm." When Werth's two-home run game was mentioned, the Nats' manager joked, "He'll be ready to carry us on his shoulders I'm sure."
"It will be big," Adam LaRoche said in Atlanta when asked about the possibility of Werth returning. "It will be big. Just having him in there. You always hear about guys and just having their presence in the lineup. He's a guy that can wreak some havoc on the bases, a great defender and has got a knack for getting on base. So that's what we need right now."
The Nationals announced this afternoon that Werth was officially back:
At home this season, Werth has a .250/.297/.400 line. Against right-hander's he has a .282/.317/.423 line. He's got a .284/.386/.441 line against the Mets over the course of his career. He's 3 for 5 against NY's starter in tonight's game, Jeremy Hefner. Will Werth's return spark a run? The Nationals could use one...