VIERA, Fla. — When Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson “goes to the whip” this week, as he puts it, and plays his regulars for full games on multiple days in a row for the first time all spring, it’ll be their most grueling stretch to this point.
Even that might be overstating it.
“It’s a gentle whip,” said right fielder Jayson Werth who, along with every other position player left in Nationals camp (except for Roger Bernadina who will be on his way back from the World Baseball Classic) was scheduled to make the two-hour trip south to Jupiter on Wednesday.
For Werth, it will be a good test of the strength in his surgically-repaired left wrist.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” he said. “I think it’s coming along.”
The strength of Werth’s wrist could determine a lot for him this season, particularly when it comes to his power at the plate.
At the team’s Fan Fest in January, Werth said he expected it could take as many as 18 months for it to fully return to where it was before it broke last May.
But he’s also been encouraged by the progress he’s felt with it in the last two months, and that’s important.
Werth hit a home run last week, his first of the spring. While that was a good sign, he said how it responds to multiple days of work will be a more important guage.
“Starting Wednesday, going back to Davey going to the whip a little bit, that means we’re going to be playing and playing everyday,” he said. “I think that’s going to be the test.”
– The Nationals also got a chance to see the Detroit Tigers’ prospective closer, hard-throwing right-hander Bruce Rondon.
Werth, who ground out in his one at-bat against Rondon, was impressed to hear that Rondon was clocked at 100 mph on his first pitch to Werth.
“Is that right?” Werth said. “No kidding. It felt pretty firm. I never faced him, but the scouting report was up to 103 or something like that. Any time you hear those numbers, you figure he throws pretty hard.”
There wasn’t a ton of movement on the pitches, Werth said, and he didn’t hide the ball all that well.
“(It was) straight and you could see it,” Werth said. “That doesn’t change the fact that it’s a hundred… A hundreds a hundred, whether there’s movement or not.”