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.
Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.
Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.
Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.