Jayson Werth “is well on the road to recovery” from fractured wrist

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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.

Rays’ Erik Neander named Executive of the Year

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At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.

Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.

The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.

At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).