Jayson Werth is off the disabled list and back in the Nationals’ lineup tonight, nearly three months after breaking his wrist on May 6. And he’s starting in center field for the first time since September of last season, as manager Davey Johnson has decided to play him there rather than Bryce Harper.
Werth was having a nice bounceback season before the injury, hitting .276 with three homers and an .810 OPS in 27 games. He played nine games on a minor-league rehab assignment, going 8-for-27 (.296) with three doubles, eight walks, and an .865 OPS, which convinced the Nationals to activate him a day earlier than scheduled.
Washington’s outfield is now Michael Morse, Werth, and Harper, and it’s interesting that Werth gets the nod in center field tonight given that Harper has started 39 games in center field this season.
Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.
Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.
Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.