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Werth happy to back with winning Nats

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Werth happy to back with winning Nats

Jayson Werth returned to the Nationals lineup on Thursday night 88 days after he broke his left wrist sliding to catch a line drive in right field at Nationals Park. The day was May 6th and the Nats were playing the Phillies and pitcher Cole Hamels. On the day of his return, Aug. 2, the Phillies were the opponent once again and Hamels was on the mound.

Asked whether the significance of the game had anything to do with the timing of his return, Werth instead spoke of an almost impatience to get back in the lineup of a team that has maintained first place ever since he went out.

It was just a coincidence. I felt like I was ready, I didnt really see what the point was to continue to play games in the minor leagues. I wasnt getting a whole lot out of it, he said.

Like I never missed a step, it was good.

Werth said he felt nothing special in his major league return, but did acknowledge the road back got interesting at times.

The first game I played in Potomac, the first game in rehab, that was kind of surreal because I was back in the minors. I played in that field in like 99 or whatever so that was a little strange, he said.

As far as tonight goes, I felt better and Im just glad to be back with my guys.

Werth reached base twice in the Nationals 3-0 win over the Phillies, he singled to left field off of former teammate Cole Hamels in the second inning. He also earned a walk off Michael Schwimer in the eighth.

The highlight of Werths night was an RBI in the third inning to give the Nats their third run. With Michael Morse and Adam LaRoche in scoring position, Werth poked a sleepy grounder to Chase Utley whose only play was to first as Morse was already steps away from home. He also made a rangy catch in center field to cap an all-around productive night.

Werth was able to contribute right away and help the Nats avoid a series sweep by Philadelphia, but players afterwards said just his presence makes a difference.

Hes huge in the clubhouse, in the dugout, out on the field. He is just a leader, hes a gamer. Regardless of what we saw last year, regardless of what is going on statistically, LaRoche said. Weve been waiting a couple of months for this. It has been great.

Its great, he is a leader for us. Especially against his old team, he always seems to do a little more against them for whatever reason, Ross Detwiler said. You have a leader out there and a great outfielder, and you know what he does with the bat thats why he gets paid.

The Nationals moved to 62-42 on the year with the win, once again an even 20 games above the .500 mark. When Werth suffered the wrist injury they were 18-10 and had played just 28 total games. 58 games and two months await the first place Nationals, but at this point Werth is just happy to be back in the mix and a part of the team.

Weve won a lot of games with that talent and going forward, we have two months to go, he said. When we get healthy and when Desmond gets back we are going to be tough.

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Ryan Zimmerman’s ailing foot returns him to the injured list

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USA Today

Ryan Zimmerman’s ailing foot returns him to the injured list

WASHINGTON -- Ryan Zimmerman is on the injured list. Again.

Zimmerman was placed on the 10-day injured list Monday because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot, which also caused him to be on the injured list earlier this season from April 28 to June 27.

Outfielder Andrew Stevenson was called up to take Zimmerman’s spot on the roster. In a separate move, veteran reliever Michael Blazek was summoned from Triple-A Fresno on Monday. Reliever Kyle McGowin was sent to Double-A Harrisburg.

Zimmerman, who turns 35 years old Sept. 28, has played just 33 games this season. He played 85 games last season. The Nationals are hopeful this “partial rupture” could go away quickly. The bigger picture view is what this means for Zimmerman next year.

The team holds an $18 million option on him. It will be declined. Zimmerman knew at the beginning of the season his health would be key to every aspect of his future, If he was healthy, he thought he could still play well. He hit .333 in July, proving that idea to be true. But, he has not remained healthy.

From the start of the year, the Nationals and Zimmerman have said they hope to work something out if the contract option is not picked up. Zimmerman joined the organization in 2005. He doesn’t seem inclined to go elsewhere. 

An oblique injury stalled Zimmerman last year. This year, his foot won’t cooperate. Zimmerman could come off the injured list Aug. 1. If he does, and plays every game the rest of the season, he would max out at 87 games played. He would be provided days off when he returns, so Zimmerman is almost assured of playing fewer games this season than last.

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Nationals' ace Max Scherzer on the cusp of a return

Nationals' ace Max Scherzer on the cusp of a return

WASHINGTON -- Everything looked normal Monday: Max Scherzer in full uniform went to right field for his warmup throws, then walked into the Nationals’ bullpen for a full pitching session. He briefly lingered to talk it over with the regular denizens of the bullpen before exiting through the back entrance and looping back to the clubhouse.

It went well. He feels good. The expectation is he will start a game “at the end of the week,” according to Davey Martinez. Scherzer declined to put a projection forth. He’s just pleased to feel well. 

“I’m getting through the ball,” Scherzer said. “I feel great. I feel 100 percent. The ball is coming out 100 percent. It’s just a matter of making sure I got all of the feel for all the executions.”

Per usual, The Next Day is at issue. Scherzer expects no problems because he threw from a mound Saturday and felt “nothing” Sunday. If he comes in Tuesday feeling good, everything should be set for possibly Thursday to return and wrap a four-game series with Colorado. 

Scherzer thought he could pitch Sunday in Atlanta. He suggested as much to Martinez and others. Mike Rizzo, Martinez and team medical staff told him no.  

“[I asked], but it wouldn’t have been smart,” Scherzer said. “You need to see me off the mound. Can’t take that chance. I always want to pitch. If this was Sept. 28, I think, yeah, they would have let me go. But when you have so much season left. You can’t take that risk. So...I get it. If I ever think I can pitch, I’m always going to want to pitch. That’s why the ball’s in the trainer’s court, the ball’s in Rizzo’s court, the ball’s in Dr. [Robin] West’s court. They have to make that call. They didn’t make that call. I completely get why.”

A cortisone shot received seven days ago has proven effective. As has advice from former teammate Shawn Kelley, who had the same injury -- inflammation of his bursa sac below his right scapula -- three days before Scherzer. They talked, the shot was recommended and it helped right on time.

Scherzer said he has an idea what caused the issue, but chose not to disclose it. Though, he was adamant it has nothing to do with his workload this season.

Despite not pitching since July 6, Scherzer still leads the National League in strikeouts. He remains a top-tier Cy Young candidate. He also is desperately needed by a Nationals team which suddenly has a bit of disarray percolating in their rotation.

Assuming Scherzer is ready to return, the Nationals need to sort out the fifth spot in their rotation. Erick Fedde was scheduled to pitch Monday before the game was postponed by Major League Baseball because of inclement weather a day after Joe Ross put together a reasonable start in Atlanta. Austin Voth (right biceps tendinitis) remains on the 10-day injured list and is building strength in his arm. He expected to throw Monday.

The next two days are mostly lined up: Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin will pitch. Fedde could pitch the 1:05 p.m. start of Wednesday's split day-night doubleheader. If Scherzer pitches Thursday, Anibal Sanchez would be bumped to Friday to open the series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Nationals could pitch Scherzer on Friday -- keeping Sanchez on turn -- and still have him to close the three-game series against Atlanta next week.

"[Tuesday] will be a big day,” Martinez said. “If Max comes in and says he has no issues, we’ll go from there.”

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