Dusty Baker didn’t waste any time getting Jayson Werth back in the lineup last night with the 38-year-old coming off the DL and starting in right field in the series opener with the Miami Marlins in Washington, D.C.
“He’s here,” Baker said, as quoted by MASN’s Byron Kerr. “If he’s here, he’s here to play.
“Glad to have him back. We’re going to have to watch him, watch his legs, how much he plays, try not to overplay him. You got to play them enough to get them right.
“I asked did he still have a right fielder’s glove. He told me he’s always had his right fielder’s glove. He’s going to play right field.”
“I had a broken foot,” Werth said when he spoke to reporters before last night’s game about the injury that landed him on the DL.
“So the reality of it is that it takes time. Nothing really you can do about it. You barrel up a 96 mph sideways ball off your foot and you break your bone, it’s not like I pulled something or had some kind of nagging — or, you know, an injury that I’ve had for a long time that’s kept me out.”
Werth suffered the injury to his foot on June 3rd, worked his way back, and got six minor league games in on his rehab assignment before he returned to the lineup to restart his 15th major league campaign.
“I feel like I can still play this game for a long time, and guys get injured,” Werth said, “... guys get dinged up, but I feel good. I’m here to help and my eyes are still on the prize.
“I want to win. I want to win a World Series, and I think we’ve got the team to do it
“So I’m glad to be back with enough time to get in to shape, and just kind of fall back into my normal routine and be with the guys. These guys have been playing great, we got a great group of guys and sky is the limit for this team. Sky is the limit. But we got a long way to go. We’ve got a long hard road.”
“I’m excited, I’m thrilled to be back and we’ll see what happens.”
Werth grounded out to second in his first at bat, but the second time up, he got all of a full-count changeup from Marlins’ starter Jose Urena, hitting a two-run blast to left field to give the Nats a 4-1 lead in the fourth.
We will not say "Werth the wait."— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 29, 2017
We will not say "Werth the wait."
We will not say "Werth the wait."
... Werth the wait. pic.twitter.com/9jbBuJ629Q
Werth’s bat flip was back at full strength:
Flipping a bat is like riding a bicycle. pic.twitter.com/rImA1VmFDp— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) August 29, 2017
Werth battled Dustin McGowan in an 11-pitch at bat in the sixth before lining a single to left field for his second hit in three at bats, and he scored on a base-clearing triple by Howie Kendrick as the Nationals jumped out to a 7-1 lead in what ended up a six-run inning.
Werth finished the night 2 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. He said after the game that the 11-pitch battle was a great way to get back into things.
“I think what I take away from that at bat is the 0-2 to 3-2,” Werth said, “and that’s like — I kind of pride myself on going 0-2 to 3-2, so fouling balls off, that’s kind of like, not what I’m known for, but what I can do, I hit that ball hard down the line, I think it was 2-2, and it was just foul, that was probably the swing of the night for me other than the home run, but that was a great at bat to see all those pitches on my first night, kind of set the tone so hopefully we can build on that and keep going.”
Baker said after the Nationals’ 11-2 win that it was good to see Werth back in action.
“It was great. It was great for him to get that first hit and then the first homer. He was pumped up, we were pumped up, the fans were pumped up, and it was a great comeback. You couldn’t have drawn it up any better than that. He was outstanding.”
Werth said it was just another step in, as he told MASN’s Dan Kolko, getting the band back together.
“Slowly but surely, I talked to Ryan Madson today and he sounds like he’s doing better too, and Bryce is on the mend, so we still got some time and we need to get this thing rolling and get the synergy of the lineup and get everybody kind of rolling again, and it looks like that’s going to happen, so that’s exciting and these guys have done great with everybody out, we’ve got a nice lead and September should be a lot of fun and then hopefully October is even more fun.”