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NATIONALS: Jayson Werth Takes Batting Practice; Rehab Stint Coming
WASHINGTON – Jayson Werth took batting practice Wednesday at Nationals Park and may begin a rehab assignment as soon as Thursday, manager Davey Johnson said.
Werth has been on the disabled list since May 8, when he sustained a fracture of the distal radius in his left arm – essentially a broken wrist. The batting practice session, which lasted about 20 minutes, was the first time he’s hit since sustaining the injury.
“He wanted to go out, after he hit today, and start playing a little bit, because he felt like one thing he wanted when he came back was to get his timing,” Johnson said. “I said, ‘That’s way ahead of schedule if you do that. Just take it easy, and don’t overdo it.’”
Werth, at one point, hit seven consecutive home runs. He did not speak to reporters after returning to the clubhouse following the batting session.
His goal, according to Johnson, is to return by July 31, when the Nationals host Philadelphia. He sustained the injury while sliding to make a catch against the Phillies on May 6 and played for the team for four seasons before signing a seven-year, $126 million contract with Washington in Dec. 2010.
Werth was hitting .276 at the time of the injury with 10 runs, 12 RBIs and three home runs through 28 games. Michael Morse has taken over as the Nationals’ primary right fielder in Werth’s absence, and he would likely move to left field and push Steve Lombardozzi to the bench upon his return.
Johnson said the two months Werth has had off is “just like the winter,” and his main goal during the rehabilitation stint will be to get the rest of his body in shape.
“He pretty much knows his body better than anybody and knows when he needs to come back, and knows where we’re at in the pennant race,” Johnson said. “When he comes back, he doesn’t want to be half-step. It will be entirely up to him and how he’s feeling.”
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