Last night after Jayson Werth broke his wrist attempting a diving catch in right field the Nationals announced that he was expected to miss six weeks.
Today he underwent surgery and Bill Ladson of MLB.com talked to a team source who said Werth “will be out for more than six weeks” and guessed that it would instead be “at least 12 weeks.”
That’s obviously a huge difference, as six weeks would have meant a potential late June or early July return whereas 12 weeks could knock him out until August or even September.
In his absence the Nationals are shifting Bryce Harper to right field and platooning Roger Bernadina and Xavier Nady in left field, although giving prospect Tyler Moore a crack at the starting job is also an option. Moore was exclusively a first baseman prior to this season, but recently logged a handful of starts in left field and it might be worth sacrificing some defense to get his 25-homer power into the lineup.
Phillies star outfielder Bryce Harper played some third base during Monday’s intrasquad game at Citizens Bank Park, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. Harper had been pestering manager Joe Girardi for the opportunity and the skipper finally gave in.
Girardi told Harper, “No diving. And make sure your arm is loose.” Harper had the opportunity to field one ball, a grounder to his left and he made the play perfectly.
Why put Harper at third base? Girardi said, “I think it’s important the guys have fun. I saw him a week ago taking ground balls there and I was impressed. His hands worked well out front and he threw the ball across the field well. I told him, ‘You look good there.'”
Despite the solid showing, don’t expect Harper to show up at third base in a meaningful game anytime soon. That being said, the Phillies’ second and third base situations are still not cemented. Jean Segura will likely open the season at the hot corner with Scott Kingery at second, but things could change between now and Opening Day in 10 days.
Harper, 27, is coming off a solid first season with the Phillies. He hit .260/.372/.510 with 36 doubles, 35 home runs, 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases across 682 plate appearances. Per FanGraphs, Harper’s 4.6 Wins Above Replacement ranked 16th in the National League. For some people, those numbers weren’t nearly good enough, so the expectations remain high as Harper enters year two of his 13-year, $330 million contract.