Werth, Turner each play five innings in rehab debuts

Jayson Werth and Trea Turner's paths back to the Nationals lineup began Monday night with three at-bats and five innings in the field a piece in Allentown, Pa.

Trea-Turner-running-gray-sidebar.jpgBoth injured players made their rehab debuts for Triple-A Syracuse, which opened a three-game road series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, and completed their pre-planned workloads with no apparent issues.

Werth went 1-for-3 with a single, playing five innings in left field. Batting third in the Chiefs lineup, the 38-year-old singled to center field in the first, flied out to right in the third and lined out to short in the sixth before calling it a night.

Turner, who led off for Syracuse, went 0-for-3 while playing five innings at shortstop. He struck out swinging to open the game, popped up to the catcher in the third and flied out to center field in the fifth to complete his performance.

Thus concluded an uneventful, yet important, rehab debut for two key players who have been sidelined for a considerable amount of time and now are trying to make sure they return healthy to the Nationals with enough time to prepare themselves for the postseason.

Werth has been out since he fouled a ball off the inside of his left foot June 3 in Oakland, causing a small fracture and a bad bone bruise. He had been able to swing a bat and participate in fielding drills for several weeks but only recently was cleared to run at full speed, which delayed his return to game action.

Turner has been out since getting hit in the right wrist by a pitch June 29 in Washington, causing a fracture. He had been running and participating in light fielding drills for a while but was only allowed to start hitting last week.

The Nationals won't rush either player back. Both Turner and Werth are expected to stay with the Chiefs through their entire seven-game road trip to Lehigh Valley and Scranton-Wilkes Barre, then return to Syracuse with the club for the start of next week's homestand.

Werth is eligible to return whenever the club deems him ready. Turner, who recently was transferred to the 60-day disabled list, will be eligible to be activated Aug. 29.

"You want them back when they're ready, versus trying to force them back early," manager Dusty Baker said Sunday in San Diego. "I'm sure they're chomping at the bit, because they've been out a long, long while. They're not used to being out that long. I'm excited. ... Slowly but surely, we're getting whole. And hopefully we can get them sharp."

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