Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals

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.

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.

Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.

Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.

The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.

Report: The new collective bargaining agreement reduces players’ meal money

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.

Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.

Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.

EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.