It's now been more than six weeks since Jayson Werth broke his left wrist while trying to make a sliding catch in a game against the Phillies.
The initial timetable on Werth's return was set around 12 weeks, but doctors thought that because they had operated on the outfielder's wrist so quickly after the injury, he might be able to cut as much as three weeks off that estimate.
Today, manager Davey Johnson said that Werth is making progress, but still probably is at least a month away from returning to action.
"I think his injury was so severe with the plate in there that I think it's going to be late-July at best," Johnson said.
Doctors have told Werth that the broken bone in his wrist is "knitting" nicely, which means the bone is reforming as hoped. Still, Werth likely won't be able to begin baseball work until a "pretty good ways past the All-Star break," Johnson said.
Infielder Mark DeRosa has rejoined the Nationals after spending some time away to deal with the passing of his father, Jack, who died recently after a prolonged battle with cancer. DeRosa was out with his teammates during batting practice, and genuinely looked to be enjoying being back on the field.
Johnson said that DeRosa - who has been on the DL since late April with a left oblique strain - will start a rehab assignment with Single-A Potomac soon. His rehab stint likely won't be too brief, as he hasn't seen live pitching in more than six weeks and was struggling mightily even before landing on the DL.
There's also good news on Chad Tracy, who is more than three weeks removed from being placed on the disabled list with a right adductor strain. Tracy has been throwing and swinging lately, and says he's shooting to head out on a rehab assignment around the All-Star break.
"He's doing better than I thought he'd be doing," Johnson said. "The doctor did say he could do baseball stuff. So I look for him probably shortly after the All-Star break. He might be pretty close to being back."
Coming back from elbow surgery, Drew Storen is continuing to throw bullpen sessions. His latest came yesterday with pitching coach Steve McCatty watching on intently.
"He felt great and Cat said he threw great," Johnson said. "He'll probably have to do a couple more 'pens and then he can start throwing to hitters. So, All-Star break is not out of the question for him."
As I mentioned earlier, Henry Rodriguez will start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Syracuse tonight as he looks to come back from a strained index finger on his throwing hand. Johnson said he expects Rodriguez to be healthy "inside of a week, depending on how things go," but he'll need to work to fine-tune his command while also making sure the finger feels good.
There's finally a light at the end of the tunnel for a number of these injured players, and within a few weeks, the team might finally start looking like how Johnson and GM Mike Rizzo envisioned it would this spring.
"The good news is the MASH troops are kinda coming around," Johnson said. "It's great. Instead of seeing the casts on their ankles and wrists and tubes coming out of their stomachs ... I'd go in the training room and every table would be full. Not that I was looking to get on one, but it was always a full house. And went through the other day and everyone was walking around there in the weight room.
"So that was nice. I think about the mid-way point (of the season), we should have a lot of guys chomping at the bit."