The first-place Nationals could have two of their better bats back in the lineup next week. Both Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth are set to play rehab games for Single-A Potomac on Saturday.
Rendon has been out since June 25 with a strained left quad. So as to tread more carefully with the injury, the Nationals intend to have him play third base initially on the rehab assignment, even though they’d prefer to use him at second base in the majors.
Werth, who is coming back from a broken wrist, started playing for Potomac on Thursday and will play his third straight game today. He went 1-for-5 the last two days, starting in left field Thursday and DH last night.
Both Rendon and Werth also opened the season on the disabled list for the Nationals before returning for brief stints; Rendon has played 18 games in the majors this year, compared to 27 for Werth. Danny Espinosa has been pretty terrific in picking up the slack for Rendon. However, Nationals left fielders have largely struggled in Werth’s absence.
After missing two months with a fractured left wrist, Jayson Werth is finally getting close to rejoining the Nationals.
According to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, Werth will begin a minor league rehab assignment Thursday with High-A Potomac. The veteran outfielder injured his wrist when he was hit by a pitch on May 15, but he didn’t have surgery until two weeks later when two small fractures were found. He said at the time that he hoped to return by August 1, but he might be able to beat that timetable if there are no setbacks during minor league action.
Werth got a late start on the season after shoulder surgery and was batting just .208/.294/.287 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 119 plate appearances prior to the wrist injury. The Nationals have relied on a combination of Michael Taylor, Clint Robinson, Tyler Moore, and Matt den Dekker in left field during his absence, though Taylor has recently been filling in at center field with Denard Span on the disabled list due to a back injury.
Nationals center fielder Denard Span has been playing through a back injury for the past month, missing games on and off while actually performing very well. Recently the pain became to much to play through and now he’s been placed on the disabled list with what the team is calling “back tightness.”
No one seems quite sure what the exact problem is and Span sought further details from a back specialist, with manager Matt Williams calling the situation “perplexing” earlier this week.
Span has hit .304 with five homers and a .798 OPS in 59 games for his best production since 2009, but now he joins left fielder Jayson Werth, third baseman Anthony Rendon, first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, and right-hander Stephen Strasburg on a crowded, star-stuffed Nationals disabled list.
Nationals center fielder Denard Span sat out Tuesday’s game with a back injury and afterward admitted that he’s “tried to play through it for the last month.”
Span first had back spasms on June 7 and Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com notes that Tuesday was the eighth time he’s had to either sit out a game or leave a game early since then, so the Nationals may decide he needs a disabled list stint.
It’s a tough decision, because when healthy enough to be in the lineup Span has hit .329 with 13 walks, eight steals, and a .430 on-base percentage during the past month to remain a huge key atop the Nationals’ lineup. And because the outfield is already missing injured left fielder Jayson Werth the Nationals would be patching together the other two spots alongside right fielder Bryce Harper.