The Washington Post

Jayson Werth could return within a week, may play center fielder

(Alex Brandon/AP)

The Nationals do not have any specific timetable for Werth, and Werth himself expected an unpredictable rehab. But the steady progress has made Johnson confident Werth could join the Nationals when they end their road trip and return to Nationals Park next Tuesday against the Phillies, Werth’s former team.

“I imagine he’s going to be getting close by the time we get back to D.C.,” Johnson said. “I’d be surprised if he wasn’t there waiting on us.”

Johnson said he’ll leave the schedule up to Werth. He has come back from an injury to his left wrist before, the torn tendon that nearly ended his career. That was a much different injury than the broken wrist he suffered May 6, but Johnson is confident Werth knows his own body well.

“He’ll tell me,” Johnson said. “I know he’s got it figured out. It was his idea to move from Washington up to Syracuse. And he likes to take somebody with him, so he took Chad Tracy. In the spring, it was him and Michael Morse that traveled together. He’s got the plan. He might put it on Tracy, but I know who it is. It’s Werth. He’s got it all mapped out.”

Werth played center field last night to prepare for his role once he returns. Johnson will rotate in center field between Werth and Bryce Harper to keep their legs fresh. “He would be the right-handed center fielder,” Johnson said. “That’s something I don’t have.”

Meantime, Tracy had played four straight days in his rehab from groin surgery and rested last night with standard soreness.

In Harrisburg, Chien-Ming Wang allowed two hits and no runs in 6 1/3 innings Monday night with Class AA Harrisburg. Wang is coming back from a strained hip that threw off his mechanics. Monday “his delivery was 100 percent better,” Johnson said.

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