Washington Nationals: Too early to panic about Jayson Werth


Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth has struggled in eight games since returning from the DL. However, it’s too early to panic.

Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth suffered a fractured foot and severe bone bruise after fouling a pitch off of his foot on June 3. He returned nearly three months later, but has struggled for the most part.

Werth’s first game back from the disabled list was a big one, as he went 2-for-5 with a homer, two runs scored, and two RBI’s. However, he is just 1-for-24 since then and is hitless in his last 20 at-bats.

Yes, Werth is struggling. That is indisputable. Nevertheless, it is too early to panic. Werth is an extremely experienced professional hitter and was putting together a solid season prior to the injury.

When a player misses a significant period of time, it takes a while to get back into the swing of things at the big league level. He did go on a rehab assignment, but nothing simulates MLB play quite like actually being in the MLB.

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Because Werth missed so much time, he is still trying to get back into the swing of things. These games right now are similar to Spring Training for him; he is just trying to get his swing back. Most hitters struggle in the beginning of Spring Training, and these struggles were to be expected.

Another thing that could potentially be plaguing Werth is his sore shoulder. While on his rehab assignment, he was hit by a pitch in his shoulder and it has been sore ever since. Playing through this certainly has not helped while attempting to get his swing back.

Rightfully so, Dusty Baker has finally decided to give Werth a few days off to rest his shoulder and mentally reset. He got Thursday’s game off and will be out of the lineup on Friday as well.

One encouraging aspect of Werth’s time back in the lineup is the fact that he is still seeing an abundance of pitches. One of his best offensive qualities is his ability to see pitches, which makes him an outstanding second hitter.

Since returning from the disabled list, Werth has continued to see an abundance of pitches. In 31 plate appearances, he has seen 162 pitches; that’s a little over five pitches per plate appearance. Seeing five pitches per plate appearance is phenomenal, and seeing so many pitches will be extremely beneficial while attempting to get his timing back.

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While Werth has struggled in his short time back from the disabled list, this was to be expected. He is working hard to get his swing back, while also playing through a sore shoulder. It may be frustrating to watch him struggle now, but he should regain his typical offensive prowess in the near future. These games right now are essentially meaningless, so he has time to work out the kinks and return to form just in time for the postseason. Once he gets his swing back, it’ll only add to the already deep Nats lineup and the whole league will be forced to take notice.