- The Washington Times - Monday, May 7, 2012

Washington Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth, who suffered a clean break of his left wrist Sunday night, underwent surgery Monday at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., the team announced. The procedure was performed by Dr. Richard A. Berger.

Rehab will begin immediately. Werth is expected to begin strengthening exercises at the six-week mark when the fracture has healed, followed by progressive baseball activities. He is expected to be sidelined 10 to 12 weeks.

Sunday’s injury is unrelated to Werth’s previous left-wrist injury sustained in spring training of 2005, which affected the ulnar side of the wrist.

In 2005, Werth was hit with a pitch on the wrist. The injury, which wasn’t accurately detected until Werth visited with Berger more than a year later at the Mayo Clinic, was one that forced him to contemplate the end of his career. Berger, though, identified and repaired the split tear of the ulnotriquetral ligament and Werth’s career rebounded to the point where the Nationals handed him a seven year contract worth $126 million in December, 2010.

The break Sunday night was a tough blow, for Werth and the Nationals, but it appears he’s avoided damaging the same ligaments that led to his earlier ordeal. He is expected to have plates and screws inserted in the wrist during surgery. The timetable is for his return is not exactly known but the best estimates put him out for at least 10-12 weeks.

The Nationals will attempt to fill Werth’s role, at least in the short term, by moving Bryce Harper to right field and going with a mix of Roger Bernadina and Xavier Nady in left. Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Sunday he may also mix in Chad Tracy and Steve Lombardozzi at the position. The Nationals are not planning to make an additional roster move at this time, only to activate third baseman Ryan Zimmerman from the disabled list on Tuesday.

Werth is the fourth member of the Nationals‘ projected middle-of-the-order to go down with an injury this season. Michael Morse is out until at least June with a right lat tear, Zimmerman missed 13 games with an inflamed right AC joint and Adam LaRoche has been dealing with some right oblique soreness. Zimmerman and LaRoche are expected to rejoin the Nationals‘ lineup on Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

Regardless, it was tough news for the Nationals‘ clubhouse to digest Sunday night, losing another one of their veteran leaders for an extended period. In the Nationals‘ first 27 games this season, Werth hit .276 with a .372 on-base percentage and .429 slugging percentage.

“It’s frustrating,” Zimmerman said. “Anytime anyone gets hurt it’s tough, but it’s part of the deal. It’s a long season. We’re going to have to go through adversity and this team has the talent and the capability to do that.

“I think Jayson’s obviously a really good player but the things he does day in and day out that the fans don’t get to see is obviously just as important. It stinks. He’ll be missed, obviously, but hopefully we’ll just do whatever it takes to get him back as quick as we can and we’ll figure out how to win without him.”

MLB.com was the first to report Werth’s impending surgery.