Since returning from the DL on June 4th, Washington Nationals' outfielder Jayson Werth has put up a .362/.441/.590 line with nine doubles and 13 HRs in 61 games and 245 plate appearances, leaving him with a .329/.401/.529 line, 11 doubles and 17 HRs 88 games 352 PAs into the third year of his 7-year/$126M deal with the Nats. Nationals' manager Davey Johnson has talked recently about the adjustments the 34-year-old outfielder has made after struggling at the plate in the first year-plus of his big free agent deal.
Werth was off to a good start last year when he suffered a broken wrist on a sliding play in the outfield in a May 6th game against the Philadelphia Phillies he left to join the Nationals. The Nats' right fielder had a .276/.372/.439 line in 27 games and 113 PAs before the injury, but as the Nationals have been tracking in their pregame notes each day, since returning from that injury, Werth has been the player that he was with the Phillies before earning his big free agent deal:
"Since Aug. 2, 2012, the day Jayson Werth returned from a cringe-worthy left-wrist injury, Werth is batting .322 (165-for-512) with 27 doubles, 2 triples, 19 home runs, 68 RBI, 90 runs scored, 64 walks and a .398 OBP in 142 games...since the beginning of last Aug., Werth ranks among MLB leaders in OBP (5th), batting average (6th) and OPS (9th, .892)."
"He's made some adjustments," the Nats' skipper told reporters earlier this week. "He's in a better position. His approach is outstanding. And since he came back from the latest little injury, every at bat is a quality at bat."
"Last year and this year, his hands were up close to his body," Johnson continued, attempting to explain the things Werth has changed, "and he made some adjustments that made him more consistent every at bat. Talked to him a little bit today. He's been doing that for three weeks and he's really been power to all fields."
Werth went 2 for 4 in last night's win over the San Francisco Giants, leaving him 19 for 36 with a .528/.595/.750 line, two doubles and two home runs in 11 games and 42 plate appearances so far in August. A reporter asked Davey Johnson after the game if this is the best he's ever seen Werth and the 70-year-old Nats' skipper reiterated what he'd said previously about the changes his right fielder made to get where he is now.
"He made some adjustments about three weeks ago," Johnson explained, "getting his hands away from his body and up higher and he's really not only hit for average, but he's hit for power. I mean, I don't care what they throw him, he's seeing the ball good. He's hit good breaking balls. He's hit good fastballs. He's just in a good place."
Werth, Johnson and the Nationals look to continue their winning ways when they take on the Giants in the third game of the three-game series in D.C. at 4:05 pm EDT this afternoon in the nation's capital. Werth's hitting cleanup again and playing right field against Giants and right-hander Ryan Vogelsong.
Here's the Nationals' lineup for the third game of three with San Francisco in D.C.:
#Nationals lineup vs. SFG: Span 8, Zimmerman 5, Harper 7, Werth 9, Desmond 6, LaRoche 3, Rendon 4, Suzuki 2, Haren 1— Nationals PR (@NationalsPR) August 15, 2013