MIAMI — As he addressed the media after Tuesday’s win, sitting at his locker, unemotional as always, Jayson Werth’s cellphone beeped.
What does 200 home runs mean to him?
“Stuff like that,” he said, referring to congratulatory texts from people who best understood what it took him to get there.
“…there was a time when I didn’t think I was going to get to play again. You cherish these moments and these things,” Werth said. “I’m sure when I look back and my playing career’s over, they’ll mean more. It’s a milestone, for sure, and I’m grateful to get the opportunity to even do it. But again, these sort of things, you file them away and then when you’re done playing you can really go back and cherish them.”
With that seventh-inning swing, which started the most prolific home run rally in Nationals history, Werth joined Alfonso Soriano, Adam LaRoche and Ryan Zimmerman as players to hit their 200th homer as a National. More importantly, perhaps, was the adjustment he made to hit it, overcoming what he called a “leak” in his swing mid at-bat to put himself in a position to hit Adam Conley’s 3-2 pitch out to left.
“(It’s) awesome,” Bryce Harper said. “He’s like an older brother to me. Being able to have good at-bats like he did today — he’s right there. Everybody knows that.”
Werth has said the same for a week or so now, that despite his sub-.200 average, his swing is coming around, almost on time.
“Hopefully I’m on to something,” said Werth, whose self-diagnosis was proven correct when he corrected what he felt was the problem mid at-bat, then homered.
Dusty Baker, who hit 242 homers in his career, called it a “monumental” home run. Zimmerman sat at 200 home runs entering this season, and hit his 201st in the same inning. Werth is tied for 32nd among active players, surrounded by Zimmerman, Adam Jones and Josh Hamilton, among others.