Veteran Werth talks wrist, Harper
Jayson Werth will turn 34 in May, making him the oldest player among those likely to make the 25-man roster. His voice has carried weight in the Nationals’ clubhouse since the day he arrived.
Saturday, Werth held court for roughly 20 minutes, hitting on various topics.
He will enter the year with his surgically repaired wrist still not back to full strength. He broke the wrist in early May last year, and doctors have told him the full recovery will take 18 to 24 months. He can still be productive – last year, he hit .312 with .394 on-base percentage and a .441 slugging percentage upon returning for the final two months of the season. He said he would wait and see if the wrist would affect his spring routine.
“It’s coming along,” Werth said. “. . . It’s definitely not as strong as it was [before the injury]. I’ve been hitting. It doesn’t bother me. I feel strong. Obviously, the numbers are going to speak for themselves. I definitely didn’t have as much power when I came back from the injury as before the injury. I felt like I did a pretty good job. I played at a pretty good level. I expect just to get better.”
Werth also revealed that the Nationals have decided that he will play right field, with Bryce Harper continuing to learn the outfield in left.
“There were some things he’s got to work on,” Werth said of Harper. “It’s just a matter of time. When that time comes, I’ll move to left and stay there the rest of the way probably. We’re not there yet.
“There’s just a lot more responsibility in right. There’s an experience factor to playing the outfield. Left is where you can get by with the least amount of experience. That’s where Bryce is right now. He’s an inexperienced big league outfielder. . . .
“He could progress at a relatively quick rate, like he does everything else. I think it’s more up to him than it is me. I’m not standing in his way by any means. When I mess around with him, I always tell him, ‘Defensive liabilities play left.’ That’s where we’re at right now.””