WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- On Saturday evening, Jayson Werth went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored during his first live baseball action since breaking his wrist on May 6th.
InsideNova.com has the full story from Werth's debut with the Potomac Nationals. The following quote from the outfielder should be very encouraging for general manager Mike Rizzo as well as Davey Johnson.
"I'm relatively pain-free. [My wrist is] still a little stiff. This is a good
place to start the rehab. Ten days, two weeks, twenty days, I should be
ready to go."
Before his excruciatingly painful injury, Werth was arguably the second most important bat in the Nationals early season lineup -- .276/.372/.439 with three homers and 12 RBI's in 27 games.
Werth is obviously an everyday player in Washington's lineup, but what position makes the most sense for him to play? Months ago reports leaked that the organization had hoped Bryce Harper's long term position would be right field. Now it seems as if Johnson will utilize Harper's speed in center.
The real glaring question: where will Werth bat in the lineup?
Steve Lombardozzi's role as an everyday starter -- and leadoff hitter -- seems destined to end. Danny Espinosa's resurgence as a reliable bat (hitting .328 during July) may thrust him into the leadoff spot.
One thing I wouldn't do if I were Davey Johnson: bat Werth high in the lineup. Clearly 2011 was a dismal season for Werth, but the righty hit .163 in 49 at-bats as the leadoff hitter, and a paltry .222 in 90 a-bats in the two-hole.
Forcing to put Werth in a spot where he hasn't been successful could lead to a slumping offense. And let's not forget how he handled the added pressure last season, thrust into the role of being star player with his salary figure alone. Ian Desmond's career year cannot be ignored when re-tinkering the lineup either.
Here's my projected batting order against right-handed pitching upon Werth's arrival -- assuming everybody is healthy.
2B - Danny Espinosa
CF - Bryce Harper
3B - Ryan Zimmerman
1B - Adam LaRoche
LF - Michael Morse
SS - Ian Desmond
RF - Jayson Werth
C - Jesus Flores
P - Jordan Zimmermann