During at least one game last week, Jayson Werth walked into the batter’s box and used a different, more open stance than usual. He planted his front foot at angle that aligned his lower body with the shortstop as opposed to the pitcher, the way he typically hits.
One of the most compelling parts about acquiring a new star player is learning his quirks and habits, and this is one of Werth’s. Even during the regular season, when he falls into a slump or feels off at the plate, Werth’s key is altering his stance.
“If you see my stance is wide open, you’ll know that I’m not feeling so sexy up there,” Werth said. “I’ll do that when I’m not comfortable. It seems like when I’m not comfortable with my normal stance, I open up and I feel comfortable. Then I’ll work back where it’s even or closed.”
Werth has since switched its stance back to square with the pitcher, a sign he’s feeling back to normal at the plate. “It’s part of it,” Werth said. “Sometimes, you come in, and you’re locked from the start of camp and you lose it at the end, or you never find it, or you never had it, or you have it the whole time. Every spring training is different. It seems like what is for sure is, whatever happens in spring training, it really doesn’t matter a whole lot.”
Werth – who, if you’re curious, is 4 for 20 with two doubles and six walks this spring – discounts his results during spring training, particularly since he became a regular starter and even more so following years he reaches the playoffs.
“When you play deep into the postseason, other players get an extra month off,” Werth said. “I focus on weight training, strength, longer than probably most do, because I’m not getting that extra month to do all that. It all shakes out in the end.”
Along with the stance-tinkering, everything else for Werth, in his first spring training with the Nationals, has been standard, too. The travel from far-flung Viera to opposing stadiums feels different – “I’ve only taken two trips, but they were both two hours long,” he said. Otherwise, even with a new team, this spring has felt the same to Werth as his days with the Phillies and other teams.
“Every camp is different,” Werth said. “Every team is different. You adjust fairly quickly. It seemed normal after a few days, anyway. Still playing baseball, you know? Still hitting the ball, catching it, throwing it. It’s very vanilla as far as that goes.”