Werth has been out since fouling a pitch off the inside of his left foot June 3 in Oakland, unable to even put weight on the foot for several weeks. He finally was able to start baseball activities last week, playing catch and jogging before games at Nationals Park.
Now he’s working out at the Nationals’ spring training complex, and though he’s ready for some game action he’s not allowed to do that quite yet.
“We had a bit of a wrench,” manager Dusty Baker said. “He was trying to play down there in the Gulf Coast League, but I guess when you’re a certain ... I don’t know if it’s age or amount of time in the big leagues, you’re not allowed to play with the kids down there. So he’ll just continue to work until he’s ready to go play.”
There indeed is an arcane rule that states nobody with three or more years of minor league service time are allowed to be on the active roster of a rookie league club, so that disqualifies Werth, who spent five full seasons in the Orioles and Blue Jays’ farm systems before making his major league debut in 2002.
Thus, Werth will spend at least a few more days working out in West Palm Beach prior to games, then depart to join one of the Nationals’ upper-level affiliates for a rehab assignment.
That likely puts Werth on a timeline to return from the disabled list coming out of the All-Star break next week.