Jayson Werth doesn’t look like a player who missed nearly three months with a broken left wrist.
The Washington Nationals' 4-1 victory over the Miami Marlins on Sunday afternoon marked Werth’s fourth straight day in the lineup since being sidelined May 8. He went 1-for-4 with an RBI and has hit in each game (5-for-12) since he’s been back — and six overall, which dates to before the injury. Overall, he’s batting .291 with three home runs and 13 RBI in 31 games.
“He’s playing the way I always thought he was going to play. I didn’t see that last year,” said manager Davey Johnson. “He was trying to be the leader of the ball club [last year] … now he’s just being himself.”
The transition back into the Nationals’ lineup happened sooner than Werth thought it would. The outfielder was only 8-for-27 at the plate in nine rehab games between High-A Potomac and Triple-A Syracuse, but he grew more comfortable with each at-bat.
“The whole thing is surprising. I went from trying to swing … and just wasn’t ready,” said Werth. “One day I was like, ‘Oh, I can swing’ and then two days later I was like, ‘I can really swing.’ I was out for two weeks, my legs are a little behind, but everything else felt good.”
He returned to the majors Thursday against Cole Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies — the same opponent and pitcher he suffered the injury against when he attempted to make a catch in the outfield.
“[It] just pure coincidence, but very interesting at the same time,” Werth said.
After playing center field in his first three games back to give Bryce Harper a break from the position, Werth moved over to right field on Sunday.
“Center is a tough position to play, especially when you play as hard as he does, so just to give him a [rest] was good,” said Werth. “Going forward, I don’t care where I play, as long as I’m in the lineup.”
Werth’s presence adds another veteran player to a youthful team. The 33-year-old also has postseason experience, so he knows how to handle the pressure of a postseason race. Though he believes the team’s success all starts with Johnson, who has led the Nats to the second-best record in the Nationals League at 65-43.
“I think you get an iconic manager — as I like to call him — to run the ship and some of the other stuff starts to fall into place pretty quick,” said Werth. “This is going to be a fun run, not just this year, but for years to come. I’m excited.”
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