Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth, who’s been out with a fractured wrist since being hit by pitch on May 15, was cleared to swing a fungo bat over the weekend.
That’s a very small step in the road back to Washington, but Nationals manager Matt Williams told Jacob Feldman of the Washington Post that Werth “is well on the road to recovery” and should be able to swing a regular bat very soon.
Feldman reports that Werth remains on track to return at some point in August, although there are still plenty of hurdles to clear before that happens.
Michael Taylor has taken over as the Nationals’ primary left fielder in Werth’s absence, but the 24-year-old rookie is hitting just .248 with six homers and a .684 OPS in 67 games.
Nationals infielder Anthony Rendon, who missed the first two months of the season with knee and oblique injuries, is headed back to the disabled list with a strained left quadriceps muscle.
Rendon played 18 games between the DL stints, hitting .290 with zero homers and a .737 OPS while splitting time between second base and third base defensively. Last season he played 157 of 162 games, leading the league in runs scored and finishing fifth in the MVP balloting.
He joins left fielder Jayson Werth, first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, and backup outfielders Nate McLouth and Reed Johnson on the Nationals’ disabled list, forcing manager Matt Williams to put together a patchwork lineup that will once again likely include plenty of playing time for Danny Espinosa.
Here is the Nationals’ starting lineup for Sunday’s series finale against the Brewers …
Harper got hit on the left knee by a pitch Saturday. He’ll ultimately be fine, but there is some swelling. Also absent for the Nats is catcher Wilson Ramos, who’s getting a day of maintenance. Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth are both on the disabled list. It’s a starting nine with a spring training feel.