Manager Davey Johnson said today that Werth will likely get a few more games on a rehab assignment before getting activated, but that he’s still hopeful that Werth will be ready to return to the Nationals’ lineup before the end of this current homestand, which runs through the weekend.
“He feels like he could play, but he’s not quite 100 percent,” Johnson said. “He’s only, since he started his rehab, I think he’s had 10 days. If he gets two or three more days, he’ll have a couple weeks. That’s probably, coming back from that, what he needs with the strength. It still gets a little sore.”
Werth has steered the direction of his rehab thus far, and that won’t change. He’ll determine which affiliate he wants to join to continue his rehab assignment, but Johnson said the veteran outfielder will likely go to Single-A Potomac.
Since starting his rehab assignment, Werth has yet to play nine innings in a rehab game, something he would presumably need to conquer before being activated.
Asked who would come off the roster when Werth is ready to return, Johnson declined to look that far down the road.
“I’ve got enough things today, surviving today, without drawing conjecture on what I’ll do three days from now, or four days,” Johnson said.
Johnson did said that he plans on sticking with an eight-man bullpen for the foreseeable future, which leaves him with just four bench players.
If the Nats do, in fact, keep eight relievers, then the options to free up a roster spot for Werth appear to be optioning outfielder/first baseman Tyler Moore to Triple-A or letting go of infielder Mark DeRosa. Until Ian Desmond returns from an oblique injury, DeRosa is the Nats’ lone backup middle infielder.
Meanwhile, Johnson confirmed that John Lannan will be called up from Triple-A to start one of the games in Friday’s doubleheader against the Marlins.
Lannan started the second game of a doubleheader against the Braves on July 21, allowing just two runs over seven innings.