SAN DIEGO - Two key injured Nationals regulars are ready to start playing in games again, with a return to the major league roster now likely sometime next week.
Turner and Werth each had been working out in recent days at the club’s spring training complex in West Palm Beach, ramping up their baseball activities after slowly working their way back from significant injuries. Now they’ll be able to participate in minor league games, the final step in their return to the Nationals active roster.
Werth has been out since June 3, when he fouled a ball off the inside of his left foot, suffering a hairline fracture and a bad bone bruise that took much longer to heal than originally believed. The 38-year-old outfielder had been able to swing a bat and throw for weeks but was only cleared to run at full speed last week, which finally allowed him to ramp up his rehab.
Turner has been out since June 29, when he was struck in the right wrist by a pitch and suffered a fracture. The shortstop’s recovery has gone according to plan, with various checkpoints along the way that allowed him to begin fielding, throwing and finally hitting again.
Turner and Werth will actually spend their first week of rehab playing on the road. Syracuse opens a four-game series Monday at Lehigh Valley, then plays three games at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre over the weekend.
If the Nationals take a cautious route with both players, a luxury they’re afforded because of their 14-game lead in the National League East, they could keep Turner and Werth on rehab into next week. Syracuse hosts Lehigh Valley for a four-game series beginning Aug. 28.
The Nationals will need to decide whether to activate both players for any part of next week’s home series against the Marlins or have them meet the club Aug. 31 for the start of a seven-game road trip to Milwaukee and Miami.