If there is any silver lining for Werth, it is that the radius break has no relation to his history with left wrist injuries. Werth, who signed a seven-year, $126 million contract in December 2010, suffered a ligament split-tear in 2005 and missed the entire 2006 season. Before Dr. Richard Berger of the Mayo Clinic intervened with a proper diagnosis, the injury threatened Werth’s career.
The Nationals will replace Werth in right field by moving Bryce Harper over from left. In left field, the Nationals will go with a platoon of Roger Bernadina and Xavier Nady, with Steve Lombardozzi and Chad Tracy also candidates for playing time.
Werth had used the season’s first month to rebound from his disappointing first season in Washington, hitting .276/.372/.439. Given the effect of his home park, Werth had recaptured his offensive form from his Phillies days: His 123 OPS+ actually bettered the 122 mark he posted in 2008.
It may be just as difficult to replace Werth’s effect on his teammates. Before last night’s game, Werth discussed Cole Hamels’ slow pickoff move with Harper in the dugout. The conversation helped lead to Harper stealing home off Hamels in the first inning.
“Me and Werth had gone in there and looked at some pictures from this series and the last series and whatnot,” Harper said. “He was teaching me some things on the base paths.”
The Nationals expect Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche to return from injuries Tuesday in Pittsburgh. Michael Morse could make his first 2012 appearance in June. The beleaguered Nationals offense now could be without Werth for months.
“Anytime anybody gets hurt, it’s tough,” Zimmerman said. “We’re a resilient team, and we’ll continue to keep playing good, and pitchers will continue to throw the ball well. We’ll just have to find ways to get around it.”