PHILADELPHIA — When Jayson Werth returned from a broken wrist in 2012, he remained a productive hitter for the Nationals, just not a power hitter. His wrist needing more time to regain full strength, Werth wound up morphing from a middle-of-the-order power threat into a top-of-the-order table-setter.
So when he returned from another fracture to the same wrist earlier this summer, Werth understandably wondered if the same scenario might play out. Would that power stroke once again be missing?
For awhile, the answer was yes. In his first 27 games back from the DL, Werth hit only one home run. Through it all, though, he remained confident the power would return, unlike three years ago.
“I never had the sense of how I felt in 2012 after I broke my wrist,” he said. “I never really felt that. I knew that year the power just wasn’t there. I felt good [this year]. Sometimes it just takes time.”
It did take some time, but all of a sudden, Werth has morphed back into the power hitter he always was. With a pair of two-homer games this week against the Phillies, he put a definitive stamp on an impressive stretch at the plate.
Over his last 20 games, Werth has now hit eight home runs. That goes along with a .317 batting average, .404 on-base percentage and .683 slugging percentage. (For comparison’s sake, Bryce Harper has slugged .670 for the season.)
Some of this recent power surge has coincided with Werth’s move down in the Nationals’ lineup, from the leadoff spot to the cleanup spot. The move was made out of necessity after Ryan Zimmerman suffered an oblique strain, but it has paid off, ensuring Harper would continue to have lineup protection.
“I love him hitting behind me, I’ll tell you that,” Harper said. “Being able to have a guy like that hitting behind me and being able to get on base and score whenever I can for him and do the things I can to help his numbers get up. He’s one of my best friends in here. He’s like a brother to me, so being able to see him doing what he’s doing right now … It’s very special to see him come into Philly and do that.”