The Nationals can’t say exactly which day it’ll happen, but sometime this homestand manager Davey Johnson is hoping to write Jayson Werth’s name back on his lineup card for the first time since May 6.
Werth, who has missed the last three months with a broken left wrist, is nearing the end of his rehab assignment. He will likely play two or three more times this week, probably for Single-A Potomac, and make his return to the Nationals’ active roster.
“He’s walking around feeling pretty good about himself,” said Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo. “He’s going to go out and play a couple of nine-inning games back-to-back and we’ll see where he’s at after that. But he’s in good spirits and says he feels good with a little normal soreness. I think he’s well on his way to coming back.”
Werth, who is 6-for-24 on his rehab assignment, has seen his numbers steadily improve recently. In his last three games for Triple-A Syracuse he is 5-for-9 with two doubles. Werth told Johnson he feels like he could play for the major league team now — but that he’s not 100 percent.
“He’s probably got two or three more games to where he’ll feel like he’s good to go,” Johnson said. “That’s probably what he needs.”
The Nationals will, of course, have to make a roster move to clear room on the active roster for Werth when he’s ready and while the team has now carried eight relievers for nearly two weeks, Johnson indicated the move would not come from lightening his bullpen.
“Probably the next thing I do will be adding to it,” Johnson said. “And that’s in a month (when rosters expand).”
“That was the way we constructed the roster at that time,” Rizzo said of the decision to carry eight relievers made on July 19. “I particularly, at this juncture of our schedule, like having the eight relievers. With the versatility of some of our bench guys it allows Davey to do deal with it.”
– One other note that Nathan Fenno alluded to in our lineup post this afternoon, the Nationals are expected to recall left-hander John Lannan to start one of the team’s games in Friday’s doubleheader against the Miami Marlins. Just like his last major league start this season, Lannan can be added to the roster on the day of a doubleheader as a 26th man and then sent back to the minor leagues following the start.