It’s been a bizarre two-week stretch for Jayson Werth.
More than anything, the Nationals outfielder wants to be back in the lineup. But a combination of dehydration and a strained hamstring gave Werth enough trouble that the Nationals were forced to place him on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 3.
Werth is with Single-A affiliate Potomac for a brief rehab assignment, and it’s possible he will return to the Nationals for Saturday’s game in San Diego.
The injury has frustrated both Werth and Nationals manager Davey Johnson.
“The team’s been playing with 24 guys for over a week now,” Werth said. “We feel like we’re close and feel like it’s not that severe. But it’s one of those things, you go out there with the way it is and you might make it severe pretty quickly. We’re erring on the side of caution.”
Werth contracted a virus, which dehydrated him, around the same time his hamstring injury popped up. Werth’s muscles, not just his hamstring, have experienced spasms and cramps, shooting sharp pains through his legs.
“The thing about it for me is I’ve never had a hamstring issue or an injury,” Werth said. “We’re in uncharted waters as far as that’s concerned. At the same time, there is some dehydration and cramping issues going on.”
Doctors conducted an MRI and found nothing more than a strain. With the virus exiting Werth’s system, the Nationals are optimistic he will soon be able to put this injury behind him.
In the meantime, Washington is using a combination of Steve Lombardozzi and Tyler Moore in left field, with Bryce Harper moving to Werth’s right field spot. In instances when Harper had to miss games, Roger Bernadina filled in at right. The Nationals also called up Eury Perez from Triple-A Syracuse to fill out the 25-man roster.
Entering Wednesday’s game, Lombardozzi, Moore and Bernadina have combined for 10 hits in 63 at-bats (a .159 average) since May 3.
Even if Werth returns this weekend, don’t be surprised if Johnson plays it safe with the 33-year-old veteran outfielder.
“I’m awfully cautious about running a guy out there with a hamstring [injury] and reinjuring the hamstring when it’s bad,” Johnson said.