Werth primed for return, leads off and notches two hits at Potomac

Jayson Werth is another step closer to returning to the Nationals following another successful rehab stint. Werth led off and played center field for high Single-A Potomac in its game versus the Salem Red Sox on Wednesday night in Woodbridge, Va.

The game was called due to rain in the ninth inning. The game will be resumed at 5:05 p.m. Thursday with the score tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Werth was 2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk in four plate appearances.

“I felt good,” Werth told reporters after the game. “I think we are day 11 of rehab. There really isn’t any more to accomplish as far as rehab goes. My hand is good. I think, obviously, that is the most important thing. Being in playing shape is one of those things that takes time. It is pretty much up to the team whether I am ready or not. I am healthy and I feel good, so that is the main thing.”

Manager Davey Johnson had said pregame Wednesday that Werth could play center field and rotate the spot with Bryce Harper or others.

Werth was asked by reporters if playing center field Wednesday meant the Nationals were grooming the veteran to play center field when he returns.

“I think the thought was I would play center because I would get more action out there,” Werth said. “If nothing else, I would have more plays to move around on. Center, right or left - I can play all three, it doesn’t really matter.”

Werth did not know if he would be back in Woodbridge for a second rehab game Thursday. “I don’t know,” Werth said. “Those decisions are not made by me.”

It would make sense for Werth to play one more game for the P-Nats because they are home Thursday as well before they head out on a six-game road trip. There also is a good chance that Werth could be activated as early as Friday’s doubleheader against Miami at Nationals Park.

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