The Nationals expect to have Jayson Werth back in the lineup for Sunday’s series finale against the Pirates and might even have the veteran outfielder available off the bench tonight.
Werth was due to take a full round of batting practice in the cage underneath the stands at Nationals Park this afternoon and otherwise participated fully in pregame activities, the first time he has done that since receiving a cortisone shot in his ailing right shoulder Tuesday.
“He’s thrown, he’s run, he’s done all the other things,” manager Matt Williams said. “Today is important for him to take some swings, though, and see how he feels. The joint is feeling much better, better every day. And so today is a good test for him to get some swings in and see how he reacts to that.”
If Werth emerged from the hitting session with no issues, he could be used in a pinch-hitting role tonight and is likely to be in the lineup Sunday afternoon.
“We’ll see,” Williams said. “I think he’ll be good, though. Whether it’s available tonight and tomorrow, or if it’s Monday, he should be fine.”
Werth has been out of the lineup seven times in the Nationals’ last eight games with what the outfielder said was diagnosed as inflammation of the AC joint in his shoulder. He managed to start last Sunday night in Atlanta but didn’t look particularly comfortable at the plate.
The cortisone shot should reduce the inflammation and allow Werth to play pain-free, something the Nationals would love to see with their No. 3 hitter swinging a hot bat (he was named NL Player of the Month for July). Whether this issue is something that needs to continue to be monitored over the rest of the season, though, remains to be seen.
“Unless he bangs it again, unless he does something to irritate it again, I don’t anticipate it would be something that would cost him games,” Williams said. “But you never know. If he dives, or if he goes into a wall or something, it could jar that joint a little bit. But I think it’s calmed down pretty well. He’ll be good to go.”