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Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo on Jayson Werth's shoulder surgery, Nats' outfield depth

Washington Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo appeared on MLB Network Radio this morning and talked about Jayson Werth's shoulder surgery, the expected recovery time and the Nats' outfield depth that will allow them to get by until he's fully recovered.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Veteran Washington Nationals' outfielder Jayson Werth underwent "successful" surgery on the AC joint in his right shoulder on Friday at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

The Nats' 35-year-old left fielder told reporters including's Bill Ladson in an email on Saturday, "... that he expects to be fully recovered by Opening Day.":

"Just a little clean up," Werth said. "[The shoulder] should be back to normal. … Joint was stable and in good condition otherwise. The good news is we were dealing with necrotic bone from the injury and playing through it, removing that with the scope was minimally invasive and should cut the rehab time down considerably."

In an MLB Network Radio interview this morning, Nationals' GM Mike Rizzo provided further detail on the surgery, the expected recovery time and the Nats' options in left field as Werth works his way back to full strength.

"The surgery was limited to and specific to the AC joint of his right shoulder," Rizzo told hosts Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette.

"He had some scar tissue in there and Dr. [Diane L.] Dahm from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota went in there and cleaned it out. The MRI and the CAT scan and the arhthrogram showed that the under cuff, the rotator cuff, the labrum and all the ligaments around the shoulder were as [Dr. Dahm] stated, 'Pristine.'"

"So that was the good part of it," Rizzo continued. "That was the good news. He went through a cleanup Friday in Mayo and he's resting well. He says he feels extremely good."

"He had some lingering pain throughout the last month or so of the season and really gutted it out through the last six weeks of the season for us..." -Mike Rizzo on Werth dealing with shoulder issue late last season

Werth initially injured the shoulder making a catch at the right field wall in Nationals Park back in August and missed a week after getting an MRI and a cortisone shot, but he finished out the regular season and postseason.

"He had some lingering pain throughout the last month or so of the season and really gutted it out through the last six weeks of the season for us," Rizzo said today.

"And we thought that with true rest and rehabilitation it would be fine going through it. But when he started working out again he had further pain and complications so we felt this was the prudent course of action."

Rizzo said there are some comparisons to be made with the surgery Nats' third baseman Ryan Zimmermann went through to clean up his own right shoulder.

"We kind of compare it a little to the Ryan Zimmerman AC joint cleanup that he had," Rizzo explained. "Zim had some under cuff tearing in the rotator when he did it and some labral issues, so his rehab was more complicated than we believe Jayson's is going to be. Zim was out, I think, six-to-seven weeks. It was a point where he had to get back and got back in six-to-seven weeks. So we think the prudent course of action, two-to-three months, is what the doctors are expecting for him to be back playing for us in the big leagues again.

"So, you can never tell with rehabs, but we feel good with where we're at. Jayson always keeps his body in great shape, and he's a guy that prepares himself physically extremely well and takes really good care of his body, so we feel that the combination of what the doctor told us about the surgery and about the rest of the shoulder being in good shape, Jayson's work habits and we feel that he should rehab in a good manner."

Should Werth miss any time in the regular season, however, Rizzo said he believed that the Nationals have the depth to cover for him until he's 100% recovered.

"Every team needs to have depth because injuries happen," he said. "As players age they get injured more often and it takes them longer to get back on the field. We recognize that. We feel that we have a situation in left field that we can put a platoon system of Nate McLouth and Tyler Moore or an everyday situation of Michael Taylor in left field that really can strengthen our defense with Michael in there and with Nate in there and a right-handed bat in Tyler Moore. So we do have some options, obviously, none of them are Jayson Werth out there, but like we've seen on other teams and with ourselves last year, guys have to step up and play better."