It was pretty clear even before the official diagnosis came in: Jayson Werth broke his left wrist tonight.
The Nationals’ medical staff and manager Davey Johnson later confirmed what the highlights appeared to show. Werth broke his wrist while attempting to make a sliding catch in the sixth inning of tonight’s game.
According to Johnson, the break was a clean one. There’s no timetable as of yet for exactly how long Werth will be out, but it will be a matter of months, not weeks. The Nationals right fielder will see a specialist who will consult with the Mayo Clinic to determine the full extent of the damage.
But one thing is clear. “He’ll be out for a while,” a solemn Johnson said after the game.
The good news - if there is some in all of this - is that the break came on the opposite side of Werth’s wrist from where he had suffered earlier wrist issues. Back in 2005, Werth tore a ligament in his wrist after getting hit by a pitch, but this time, it was the side of the wrist closer to the thumb which suffered the damage.
The Nationals have been incredibly banged up early this season, especially when it comes to their position players. They now have had Ryan Zimmerman, Michael Morse, Adam LaRoche, Werth, Rick Ankiel and Mark DeRosa miss time through the season’s first month.
That’s their prospective No. 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 hitters and their top bench player, as well.
Zimmerman and LaRoche might both return Tuesday, but as soon as they’re set to return, another big bat in the Nats’ lineup goes down.
“All of a sudden, we seem to be getting a little more healthy, and then boom, one of our main guys goes down,” Johnson said. “We dealt with it before, we’ll deal with it again. But we’re not alone, it seems like that’s rampant right now. But that was a tough blow, because I was anxious to have all the guys back by Tuesday.”
In some ways, it’s starting to feel like the Nats are snakebitten when it comes to injuries. If they go a few days without having a new guy go down, it’s seemingly a miracle. But Johnson wasn’t willing to take that line of thinking.
“I mean, it’s just baseball,” Johnson said. “Breaks. Seems like this year we’ve been getting more than our fair share. But we’ve still got a lot of good players here. We’ll weather this one.”
Johnson said that with Werth out, he’ll move Bryce Harper to right field. Roger Bernadina and Xavier Nady will platoon in left field, with Chad Tracy and Steve Lombardozzi also getting worked into the mix out in left.
And before anyone asks, no, Johnson did not include Tyler Moore’s name in that group.