The Nationals' banged up outfield got some good news and some bad news in terms of guys recovering from injuries on Friday.
First, the good news: Jayson Werth - who is dealing with AC joint inflammation in his right shoulder - looks on track for a Sunday return when the Nats close out their series against the Pirates.
The 35-year-old veteran is increasing his workload before games and could be available off the bench as early as Friday night. Rookie Michael Taylor has been starting in right field while Werth recovers.
"He did some running yesterday, did some outfield drills. Some light tossing yesterday," manager Matt Williams said.
"He'll step that up just a little bit today, swing off the tee and make sure it feels good. Potentially available tonight off the bench, certainly available tomorrow off the bench. But it will be a full day tomorrow I think just to make sure everything is good. If you're looking at all of that, it probably points to Sunday, but it could be tomorrow, too. It's depending on how he feels, so we'll see."
Werth is batting .279 with 12 home runs and 63 RBI in 112 games with the Nationals this season.
Now, for the bad news. Outfielder Nate McLouth is not progressing from his right shoulder inflammation as quickly as the team initially hoped. The 32-year-old has been out since Aug. 1 and was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 2. Though he is eligible to return on Sunday, that now looks quite unrealistic.
"It's not responding as well as he'd like it to respond. He's going to get a second opinion on it," Williams said. "We'll have to wait and see on that second opinion and what that other doctor says. But it's not going quite as well as he'd like it to go."
Williams acknowledged concern from the team about McLouth's lack of progress, but believes the second opinion will get him back on the right track to returning.
"The fact that he's going to go have second look is concerning, of course," Williams said. "We would hope that it would just be taken care of and he'd be okay. The fact that he's going to get a second look at it is concerning to us, but we want to do that to make sure that we're taking the proper path to making him better."
McLouth has struggled this year with a .179 average in 79 games for the Nats.