UPDATED, 12:14 a.m.: Jayson Werth took full batting practice on Saturday, but Manager Matt Williams said the outfielder’s right shoulder still felt ” a little tender” afterward. Werth will again take full batting practice on Sunday and see how the shoulder feels then, too.
“If we have to take another day after [Saturday], we may have to do that,” Williams said.
ORIGINAL UPDATE, 6:33 p.m.: With his inflamed right shoulder feeling better, Jayson Werth was expected to take full batting practice on Saturday and could likely return to the Nationals’ lineup on Sunday, according to Manager Matt Williams. Werth shagged flyballs during the Nats’ batting practice on the field and was expected to take his rounds of batting practice in the indoor cages. Werth has already run and thrown without any issue; hitting is the final hurdle.
“[Saturday] is important for him to take some swings, though, and see how he feels,” Williams said. “The joint is feeling much better, better every day. And so today is a good test for him to get some swings in and see how he reacts to that.”
Including Saturday night, Werth has not been in the Nationals’ starting lineup in seven of the past eight games with an acromioclavicular (AC) joint sprain. Werth received a cortisone shot earlier this week and reported feeling better.
Werth did some light hitting off a tee on Friday, but Saturday he was expected to take the full, normal workload of pregame hitting.
If Werth’s pregame hitting goes well, he will be available off the bench on Saturday and could play on Sunday, or maybe Monday, Williams said. With the later-than-normal 5 p.m. start on Sunday, Werth will have a few extra hours to rest the shoulder.
The Nationals have been cautious with Werth since he aggravated the shoulder injury last Sunday. He hasn’t appeared in a game since Aug. 10, and the Nationals hoped to avoid a stint on the 15-day disabled list with treatment and rest. Williams believes the current rest will be enough to avoid further issues with Werth’s shoulder.
“Unless he bangs it again, unless he does something to irritate it again, I don’t anticipate it would be something that would cost him games,” Williams said. “But you never know. If he dives, or if he goes into a wall or something, it could jar that joint a little bit. But I think it’s calmed down pretty well. He’ll be good to go.”
On Saturday, Williams started Bryce Harper in right field instead of rookie Michael A. Taylor. Williams wanted to get Kevin Frandsen a start against a left-handed starter, so Frandsen is starting in left.
Williams wanted Taylor to rest a day. Taylor is 0 for 10 with seven strikeouts since a single and two-run homer in his first game.
“Mike right now is a little bit in between,” Williams said. “We’ve seen it over the last couple of games. He’s a little bit in between in his approach at the plate. That’s natural for a young player seeing guys for the first time. … I’ve seen him take some fastballs that he normally doesn’t take.”