Before this afternoon's game, Washington Nationals' skipper Matt Williams provided a number of updates on the state of some of the injured Nats with Opening Day just two days away.
Drew Storen, who left his last outing with a blister on his right foot, is ready to go today and Williams said they would try to get him in this afternoon's game.
"He's available to pitch today," Williams explained. "We plan on him pitching. He threw yesterday. They wrapped him up pretty good. He's got a good callus over the blister, so the anticipation today is to get him in there. We need to get him in there. It's part of his progression. We'll keep going with that."
Casey Janssen, who was diagnosed with tendonitis in his right shoulder after an MRI last week, threw yesterday without incident and Williams said the veteran right-hander, signed as a free agent this winter to work as a set-up man with Tyler Clippard now in Oakland, would take things slowly as he worked his way back.
"It's a part of his progression," Williams said of Janssen's throwing session. "So we just keep going on that until he can get back on the mound and let it fly, we really won't know exactly what that end day is."
Denard Span, recovering from his second surgery of the offseason (sports hernia, core muscle injury) is back in action in minor league games in Viera, FL.
"The plan for him is to play today [in Florida], " Williams said. "So he'll get in the game down there assuming that he shows up and feels well. Three innings, a couple of at bats maybe. It’s a little similar to Jayson [Werth’s] program, more tracking, initially, but we want to get him on his feet and get him up playing in an actual game and have him react."
Span's progressing a little quicker than expected, though he did note on his personal Twitter account today, that he too is taking things slowly.
One day at a time— Denard Span (@thisisdspan) April 4, 2015
"It's an aggressive schedule," Williams admitted, "but yesterday he did everything that anybody would normally do in a live BP-type pregame session. So he took his pregame work, shagging balls live off the bat yesterday, took a full round of batting practice."
"We would look to get him into games just like a normal Spring Training progression," Williams continued.
"The issue with Denard is that he couldn’t get going. Early on even when he hadn’t had the surgery yet he was still taking full BP. That motion didn’t bother him too much. It was the running. Playing the position he plays it’s important for him to be able to go get it when he needs to go get it."
"He shagged balls live off the bat yesterday. Took a full round of batting practice. He was a little tired but that’s to be expected. He feels good about it."
The Nationals want to avoid any sort of setback that would cost them any more time than Span is already likely to miss.
"We don’t want him coming too quickly and have it linger all season," Williams said. "That would be detrimental to all of us with regard to the club. We want to make sure he’s good, but there’s nothing particular that he has to do that would say ‘Okay, you’re ready.’ As long as he feels good about it and he’s ready to go ahead and sprint full and do all the things he needs to do, he’s fine."
Jayson Werth could be back sooner than his outfield partner. Williams told reporters today that Werth could be back as early as this week.
"It's possible, yeah," he said. "It's possible that he could be back and playing. It’s a question of him getting at-bats and getting timing. He's maybe just a touch off still. But, yeah, for the first week there’s a possibility of that barring any kind of setback, of course."
"Yesterday it was five innings, four at bats," Williams said of Werth's last game action. "The day before, on our off day... he had numerous plays in left field. Had to go to the line a couple of times. He had five at bats that day with a couple of extra. He jumped from field to field and had a couple extra, just at bats, not playing the field. He played seven innings, no problem, and he responded well enough to do it again yesterday which is important. That’s the biggest thing."
"Throwing is fine. Running is fine. His legs, per our progression, have been underneath him because he's playing so many games."
Will Werth make it back when the Nationals are in D.C. taking on the New York Mets? Or is a return in Philadelphia or Boston more likely?