Jayson Werth was out of the Nationals’ lineup Wednesday for the second straight game, his surgically repaired right shoulder still “cranky,” according to Nationals manager Matt Williams.
Werth, who had surgery January 9 to repair the AC joint of his shoulder, missed all of spring training and made his regular season debut one week late. He had been a mainstay in the lineup since then, though, getting only two games off and then starting 11 consecutive games before he was sidelined Tuesday.
Williams described this as “part of the progression” for Werth, who now will get three straight days off, with the Nationals’ next scheduled game Friday night against the Braves.
“It’s going to be cranky from time to time,” Williams said. “You know, surgery five months ago, it’s part of the rehab process, you get through stuff like this over time. So it’s a little cranky. With the off-day tomorrow, this is an opportunity to let it calm down as much as possible.”
Werth, who eluded reporters in the clubhouse prior to Wednesday’s game, was available Tuesday only in an emergency. He did stand in the on-deck circle for a minute during the bottom of the seventh, but he apparently was serving only as a decoy, getting Marlins manager Mike Redmond to bring in a right-handed reliever and allowing Williams to then send up left-handed Clint Robinson to hit instead.
When the Nationals needed a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth, with the tying runner in scoring position, Werth was sitting on the bench. Tyler Moore wound up striking out to end a 2-1 loss to Miami.
Werth is off to a slow start this season, and surely the shoulder injury has played some role in that. He enters Wednesday hitting .176 and slugging .203 with only two extra-base hits in 19 games. He also has looked less than comfortable at times in left field.
“It’s something you go through when you’re coming back,” Williams said. “And at 35 years old, it’s a lot harder than when you’re 22 and younger. He’ll be ready to go Friday.”