Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth is expected to join Single-A Potomac on Wednesday evening to begin a rehab assignment in hopes of returning to the active roster from a right hamstring strain that’s cost him almost the entire month of May.
Werth had an extended workout at Nationals Park on Tuesday, taking soft-toss batting practice from hitting coach Rick Eckstein early in the afternoon, running the bases, and then going through full batting practice with the team — including shagging fly balls in the outfield — later in the day.
As for when he could return, the Nationals are taking it day by day, though his feeling well enough to go play in minor league games is a good sign.
“We’ll see,” said manager Davey Johnson. “He was moving pretty good in the outfield today. We just told him to take it easy and his reply was ‘I don’t know how to take it easy.’ Hopefully it’s warm weather and not a wet field. He’ll get a couple games in and go from there.”
The Nationals have greatly missed Werth’s presence in the No. 2 spot in the lineup and, with Bryce Harper also out as he battles some bursitis in his left knee, the Nationals’ offense has been without two of their more consistent bats for a good part of the month.
– The Nationals were hoping that left-hander Ross Detwiler would be ready and able to start on Sunday, the next time his spot in the rotation would arise, but as he continued to feel some tightness in his strained right back muscle it became evident he would not.
Nate Karns, who made his major league debut on Tuesday night, will get the start in Detwiler’s place.
“(Detwiler) still has signs of that so we’re not going to push that,” Johnson said. “We don’t want to have a setback if he pushed it and he’s still having some discomfort when he throws. (Nationals head trainer) Lee Kuntz things we ought to give him some more time and that’s what we’re going to do.
“I would rather be on the safe side. It’s kind of like a hamstring. Until everything goes away, you don’t want to take a chance of sending him out there. He’s too valuable to take a chance.”