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Nationals' Lineup: Jayson Werth leading off for Nats in series opener with Rockies

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Washington Nationals' outfielder Jayson Werth is leading off for the first time this season. When he returned from a wrist injury in 2012, the veteran slugger did the same. Will he have similar success this time around...?

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

When Washington Nationals' outfielder Jayson Werth struggled to produce power upon returning from a broken wrist in August of 2012, the Nats, and skipper Davey Johnson eventually made the decision to use the veteran at the top of the order to take advantage of his on-base skills while his power was sapped.

Once he moved to the top spot in the middle of month, Werth produced what was needed, putting up a .288/.361/.774 line with 12 doubles, two home runs, 19 walks and 31 Ks over the final 41 games of the season and his final 180 plate appearances.

When the season was over, however, the Nationals, and GM Mike Rizzo made the decision to trade for Minnesota Twins' outfielder Denard Span.

Rizzo explained at the time that ideally, they wanted Werth in the middle, with a "true leadoff man" on top of the order.

"I think his skill set profiles as a middle-of-the-lineup type of hitter," Rizzo explained in an MLB Network Radio interview at the time.

"You're a much better team when you have a good leadoff man and Jayson driving in runs in the five-hole or six-hole or wherever it might be for the team."

Without the leadoff man they'd been after for years, however, Rizzo said, "... it doesn't hurt us to have a .370-.380 OBP guy that can hit 20-25 HRs at the top of the lineup either."

Jump forward to August 2015: Span is rehabbing, and working his way back from a lower back problem, but he's not available now and Werth's power appears to have been negatively affected by another wrist injury this season, so at least for tonight, new skipper Matt Williams has apparently made the decision to put Werth back atop the order.

Since returning from fractured bones in his left wrist suffered in a May 15th game in San Diego, Werth has hit three doubles and a home run, taken five walks and collected 16 Ks in 19 games and 69 PAs, over which he's posted a .145/.203/.242 line.

Werth hasn't led off this season, but in his career, the 36-year-old, 13-year veteran has a .266/.355/.415 line as a leadoff man.

Here's the Nationals' order for tonight's series opener with the Rockies in Colorado's Coors Field: