Washington Nationals' right fielder Jayson Werth, 35, earned recognition as the NL Player of the Month in July after the veteran outfielder put up a .337/.446/.687 line with 11 doubles, six home runs, 14 walks and 24 Ks in 24 games and 101 plate appearances.
After the torrid offensive month, however, he injured his shoulder on a play at the wall in right at home in Nationals Park during an August 1st game against the Philadelphia Phillies, when he hit the fence awkwardly while tracking a ball.
The issue was later diagnosed as a strain, causing inflammation in the AC joint and the Nats' middle-of-the-order bat eventually received a cortisone shot he hoped would relieve some of the pain his shoulder.
"'There’s no structural damage,'" Nationals' manager Matt Williams told reporters, including the Washington Post's James Wagner, after Werth received an MRI and the shot last week. "'No issues with anything else, according to the picture. It’ll just calm it down and get the inflammation out of there.'"
Between August 1st when he suffered the injury and August 10th, when the shoulder forced him from the lineup, Werth was 7 for 28 (.250/.353/.321) with two doubles in nine games.
Since having the shot in his shoulder and returning to the lineup, Werth has taken off again, connecting for 12 hits, (three doubles and one home run), in 27 at bats over eight games on the Nats' 10-game homestand (.444/.515/.667).
After going 2 for 4 with a home run off Tim Hudson this past Friday night, Werth went 2 for 4 with two RBI singles off San Francisco Giants' starter Tim Lincecum on Saturday.
Williams talked after the game about Werth's preparation and situational hitting playing an important role in his own and the team's success.
"Jayson had a couple perfect base hits with guys in scoring position," Williams told reporters. "Just the other way to the right-center field gap. Didn't try to do too much, just hit the single over there when needed."
"I just think his approach -- he understands the opposing pitcher and what he's going to try to do and what he wants to do and he also hits well to the situation, whatever that situation is," the first-year manager and former major league slugger explained.
"So, that calls for a base hit back through the middle or the other way and simply taking a single and that's what he did. [Friday] night he got the head out on a breaking ball and hit it over the fence, but that's kind of what it called for in that position. We're down by a couple and we need an extra base hit and he got one. He's looking for a double, or to drive a baseball to his pull side, so he hits to the situation really well."
Werth went 2 for 4 again on Sunday in the series finale with the Giants, which the Nats won 14-6, to take two of three from San Francisco in D.C. Werth doubled for the 30th time this season in his second at bat, then scored the Nationals' first run when Adam LaRoche followed with a two-base hit. His two-out RBI single in the sixth gave the Nats a 7-5 lead before they really blew the game open.
Williams once again talked Werth up after the win which left Washington 9-1 on the homestand, praising his ability to do what is called for in each at bat.
"It's situational hitting," he said. "We talked about it earlier today, the fact that he's really good at that. He's really good at understanding the situation, what it calls for and having a plan and approach to do that whatever that is.
"Man on second base, a lot of balls back through the middle. Need a guy to get on he can draw a walk. If we need an extra base hit he looks for a pitch to do that with as well."
In his final trip to the plate on Sunday, Werth worked an 11-pitch walk out of Giants' reliever Juan Gutierrez, stole second and then scored the Nationals' tenth run on an RBI single by Ian Desmond.
"He's very good at understanding where we're at and what's needed and that's leading by example," Williams said.
The walk was Werth's 59th this season in 512 plate appearances. The stolen base was his seventh. The 2 for 4 day at the plate left him with a .289/.379/.445 line on the year.
Tonight he was back in Philadelphia, PA's Citizens Bank Park, where he played four seasons with the Phillies putting up a .282/.380/.506 line in 543 games and 2,114 PAs.
After 120 games in his fourth season with the Nationals, Werth has a .280/.370/.449 line with Washington.
In his former home, he has a .292/.382/.520 line heading into this week's three-game set.
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