Jayson Werth aims to return from broken wrist by August 1

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Six weeks ago Jayson Werth was given a 9-12 week recovery timetable for his broken left wrist and he’s basically still on that same track, with manager Davey Johnson saying yesterday that the Nationals hope to have the outfielder back around August 1.

Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that Werth is no longer wearing a cast on the wrist, which he had repaired via surgery on May 6, but likely won’t be cleared to begin baseball activities until mid-July.

Ryan Zimmerman’s disabled list stint followed by Werth’s injury led to the Nationals giving Bryce Harper an extended chance and the 19-year-old phenom has hit .289 with seven homers and an .882 OPS in 45 games while splitting his time pretty evenly between right field and center field. By comparison Werth hit .238 with 23 homers and a .732 OPS in his first 177 games for the Nationals.

Once everyone is healthy the Nationals could potentially use an outfield of Mike Morse, Harper, and Werth, but for now rookie Steve Lombardozzi will continue to play regularly in left field.

A-Rod to join ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth

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Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.

Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.

The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.

In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.