It was announced after last night’s 9-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies that veteran right fielder Jayson Werth broke his left wrist attempting to make a sliding grab in the outfield. He had the same wrist operated on twice in 2006, causing him to miss that entire season. He will see a specialist today to determine whether or not there is any ligament damage. If there is no ligament damage, he should only be out about two months if all goes well with his rehab. However, if there is ligament damage along with the break, he could miss the rest of the season, so Monday’s results will be critical.
This is a crushing blow to a National’s lineup that has already been struggling to score runs. Werth hasn’t been great in 2012 but he has still been one of the Nat’s most productive hitters, placing in the top 3 on the team in HR (3, 3rd), RBI (12, T-2nd), BB (14, T-1st), R (10, T-3rd), and SB (3, 1st). To fill the whole in the lineup and the outfield left by Werth’s absence the Nationals have a few options; They can use someone they already have on the roster like Roger Bernadina, Tyler Moore, Xavier Nady or even Steve Lombardozzi once Zimmerman is back to cover 3rd base. They could also call someone up from the minors to get some big league experience in the person of Chris Rahl (.301, 5 HR, 21 RBI, 9 SB at AA) or Corey Brown (.250, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 5 SB at AAA, really impressed Davey Johnson in spring training). Or lastly they could choose to bring someone in from another organization via trade. Denard Span of the Twins comes to mind as the best fit if they choose that route as he would fill the National’s needs for an outfielder and a speedy leadoff hitter. Not to mention the Nats tried to trade for him last year so they certainly are interested in him. The only silver lining for the Nats is that Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche are due back soon so that should soften the blow of Werth’s injury a little.
UPDATE (2:38 PM): Jayson Werth underwent surgery to repair his broken left wrist today (Monday) and according to MLB.com a National’s team source has said that Werth “will be out for more than six weeks,” and estimated that it would be “at least 12 weeks,” until he can return to the field. With Werth out, it’s likely that the Nats will shift Bryce Harper to right field and platoon Xavier Nady, Roger Bernadina, and possibly Tyler Moore (very limited experience in the outfield) in left.