Jayson Werth appeared to seriously injure his left wrist trying to make a sliding catch in right field during the sixth inning of tonight's nationally televised game, a potentially major blow to a Nationals club already reeling from the loss of several key players.
Werth charged in hard from his position trying to catch Placido Polanco's sinking liner and nearly made the play. But his glove hand got twisted up badly in the process, his wrist bending backward.
Werth was barely able to get to his feet and throw the ball back toward the infield, then collapsed in the heap on the ground as a trainer and manager Davey Johnson raced from the dugout to check on him. He walked off the field under his own power but was carefully holding his left wrist and arm in place.
If Werth misses significant time, the Nationals would have yet another key position to attempt to fill. They've been without left fielder and cleanup man Michael Morse since Opening Day due to a lat muscle injury that will sideline Morse for at least another month. They've also been without third baseman and No. 3 hitter Ryan Zimmerman for the last two weeks due to right shoulder inflammation. And they've been without first baseman Adam LaRoche the last four days due to a sore oblique muscle.
Zimmerman and LaRoche are both expected to return Tuesday for the start of the Nationals' series in Pittsburgh, so that will help compensate some for the anticipated loss of Werth.
The Nationals, though, will have to find a suitable replacement in right field, with rookie Bryce Harper a strong candidate to shift from left field. Johnson could then use some combination of Roger Bernadina, Xavier Nady, Tyler Moore and Steve Lombardozzi in left field.
Werth, in the second year of a seven-year, 126 million contract with the Nationals, is no stranger to left wrist injuries. His career nearly ended in 2006 due to a ligament that split in half, though he hadn't dealt with any wrist issues the last six years.