On Aug. 11, Jayson Werth decided he needed a change. He required a cortisone injection to relieve his inflamed right shoulder, which sidelined him for five days. During that span, Werth came to believe a long follow-through in his swing caused the irritation in his shoulder. While he waited for the shot to take effect, he tinkered.
Have a couple of Werth’s swings lately reminded of you of the swing he used to homer in Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS? That’s because it’s almost the same.
“I had to do something to take the stress off my shoulder,” Werth said. “I was screwing around in the cage. It was similar to when I came back from my wrist injury in 2012.”
The result surfaced again Saturday night in the Nationals’ 3-1 victory over the Mariners. Werth blasted his second home run in as many nights, a two-run bomb over a small scoreboard beyond the left field fence in the first inning. Since Werth received the cortisone shot, he is 16 for 43 with three doubles, three homers, 11 RBI and 10 walks.
“Just trying to be shorter and not so long through it,” Werth said. “I think that’s what was bothering my shoulder. I just kind of shortened up my swing a little bit. I didn’t think it was going to take away my power. In my second at-bat, I hit I think the hardest ball I’ve hit all year. I think it was a good adjustment.”
The recent surge has added to an excellent season for Werth, who at 35 continues to defy baseball’s typical aging curve. In his mid-30s, Werth is having one of his best seasons. He’s batting .288/.381/.451 with 15 home runs, 75 RBI and 71 runs in 125 games. Werth, though, is not ready to contextualize his season just yet.
“I think we got a month to go, and arguably the most important month of my career,” Werth said. “Ask me in a month, or maybe two, and I’ll have a better answer for you. I like the way we’re playing. I like the way we’re going about it. I like our team. We got a long way to go.
“It’s no secret: I want to win another championship. I want another ring. Those were my intentions when I came here. In order for that to happen, we’re going to have to play good, I’m going to have to play good and we’ve got a long, hard road ahead of us.”