Barring any complications during his rehab, utility player Chad Tracy will return to the Nationals in time for Tuesday’s game at Nationals Park against the Phillies. Tracy, the Nationals’ top pinch hitter before he tore his groin muscle, has not played for more than two months. If all goes to plan, Tracy will play his final game at Class AAA Syracuse tonight.
Jayson Werth is also in Syracuse’s lineup tonight after going 2 for 2 with two walks over seven innings Sunday, his best and longest game yet as he comes back from a broken left wrist. Werth is feeling healthy, but he will not return Tuesday. His precise expected return is not known, but it will likely be later this week.
In six games at Syracuse, Werth has gone 4 for 18 with a double and five walks. He’s had 27 plate appearances total in his rehab, and has yet to play a full nine-inning game. Werth has said he would not be motivated to return in time to face the Phillies, his old team.
The Nationals are letting Werth return at full speed, careful not to rush him. Werth has been on his rehab assignment since July 21, which means he could take another 10 days if he needed to. It would be a surprise if he needed that much time and did not return later this week.
Upon Tracy’s return, Corey Brown will likely be optioned back to Syracuse. Brown has been with the Nationals for a week, joining them when Ian Desmond landed on the disabled list. During his third short stint in the majors, Brown has gone 3 for 13 with a double and a homer. Assuming he gets optioned, Brown will surely be called up when rosters expand in September.
Tracy, 32, was one of the most effective pinch hitters in baseball before he pulled his surgically repaired groin running out a double on May 26. He went 6 for 18 and, incredibly, his seven pinch-hit RBIs still tie him for the major-league lead.