Washington has placed left fielder Jayson Werth on the disabled list with a left wrist contusion, which is the corresponding move that convinced the Nationals to call up 23-year-old infield prospect Wilmer Difo well ahead of schedule.
Werth was hit on the wrist by a pitch Friday and no structural damage was discovered during an MRI exam, but he’ll be shut down for at least two weeks.
Despite calling up Difo from Double-A the Nationals figure to use Michael Taylor as Werth’s replacement. He previously filled in for Denard Span in center field and has hit .250 with three homers and a .740 OPS in 26 games overall as a 24-year-old rookie.
Werth, who missed the first week of the season recovering from shoulder surgery, heads back to the disabled list with a .208 batting average and .581 OPS in 27 games this year.
Jayson Werth has a bum wrist and is expected to be placed on the disabled list. Not that interesting. More interesting? The guy they expect to take his place on the 25-man roster: top prospect Wilmer Difo.
Ken Rosenthal reports that the Nats are expected to promote Difo, who has only played 33 games above low A-ball. The infielder, who is 23, is as fast as anything and hit 14 homers last year. You can read a scouting report from the Baseball Prospectus folks here. Short version: he projects to be a good everyday shortstop for a contender someday.
What he is today is less-than-clear, at least on the Nationals. He has mostly played shortstop, but the Nats are unlikely to sit Ian Desmond. Danny Espinosa has hit really well. There has been talk of the Nats trading Desmond, but at the moment things are going well for the club. Maybe they’re concerned Anthony Rendon is never, ever coming back from the series of unfortunate events he seems to be suffering through.
Either way, and exciting prospect is heading to the bigs.
Jayson Werth, who started the season on the disabled list following January shoulder surgery and has hit .176 since returning, is out of the Nationals lineup for the second straight game with a “cranky” shoulder.
That’s according to manager Matt Williams, who has rookie Michael Taylor starting in Werth’s place against the Marlins. Washington has Thursday off, which means Werth will get three days off before rejoining the lineup Friday versus Atlanta.
Werth hit .292 with an .849 OPS last season, but in addition to hitting just .176 with zero homers in 19 games this season Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com writes that he “has looked less than comfortable at times in left field.” Taylor’s presence means there’s little incentive for the Nationals to rush Werth back, but turning away from him completely is unlikely given how good he was in 2014 and the fact that he’s still owed about $60 million through 2017.
Michael Taylor began the season as the Nationals’ starting center fielder, but once Denard Span returned from the disabled list they sent the 24-year-old prospect to Triple-A.
Taylor is back in the majors now but this time it’ll be in a part-time role, as the Nationals have recalled him from Triple-A to replace injured backup outfielder Reed Johnson on the roster.
Span, Bryce Harper, and Jayson Werth are all healthy, so it’ll be interesting to see what type of plan manager Matt Williams has for getting Taylor some playing time. It’s also possible that he’s only around for a short-term solution until the Nationals can find another veteran to take Johnson’s role.
Before being sent back to the minors Taylor hit .271 with two homers and an .814 OPS in 12 games for the Nationals and he went 10-for-26 (.385) with a homer in eight games at Triple-A.