Jayson Werth was wandering around the Nationals’ clubhouse Friday afternoon after 4 p.m. — the first indication that the right fielder likely wouldn’t be making his planned trip to Single-A Potomac to begin a rehab assignment.
No alarm bells necessary, though, the rainy weather played a factor in Werth delaying his rehab one more day, as did some good stiffness, as manager Davey Johnson put it, in his surgically-repaired left wrist.
Werth took batting practice on the field at Nationals Park on Thursday and Friday — the first two sessions he’s had since he broke the wrist on May 6 and underwent surgery to repair it on May 7 — and Dr. Richard Berger from the Mayo Clinic (who performed the surgery) said the stiffness was not only to be expected, but a positive development.
“He was a little stiff but his doctor said that’s to be expected,” Johnson said. “That’s a good sign. He pushed it to the point where it got a little stiff. He said once you get that, you’re good to go. No biggie. Actually good news. I was amazed he didn’t get stiff after he hit the first day.”
Werth did some exercises with the wrist in the training room at Nationals Park, Johnson said, and everything felt great. Werth is expected to head to Potomac on Saturday to begin the assignment.
Chad Tracy and Xavier Nady, however, were still scheduled to play for the P-Nats on Friday night. Tracy, who is rehabbing after surgery to repair a torn right adductor muscle, began his assignment in the first week of July but had to scale back during the week of the All-Star break after some soreness cropped up in the area. The Nationals don’t plan to rush him back but are looking forward to the return of his left-handed bat to the bench.
“Sometime soon I think is accurate (for his return),” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said Thursday. “I’m not sure exactly when. We’re going to go in and see where he’s at. His injury is a little trickier. Those sports hernias, it’s not so much about swinging the bat, it’s about exploding out of the box after you hit the ball and it’s lateral movement and that type of thing. He’s a veteran player that’s had that injury before. He’ll dictate when he’s ready to go out for rehab and we’ll see where he’s at.”
For Nady, his rehab assignment expires after Friday’s game and it doesn’t appear the Nationals have immediate plans to add him back onto their 25-man roster. At this point, it appears the veteran outfielder is a candidate to be designated for assignment but Johnson said the team will not make a final decision on his future until after Friday’s game.
“We still have until after the game,” Johnson said. “We make these decisions not knowing what could happen in the game. Wait and see what happens.”