Werth undergoes shoulder surgery
Nationals outfielder will be out of action when Spring Training begins
WASHINGTON -- Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth had arthroscopic surgery on his right AC joint Friday. He will be out two to three months. The club did not confirm that the procedure was being done. The procedure took place at the Mayo Clinc in Rochester, Minn., and Dr. Diane Dahm performed the surgery.
Werth has had problems with the shoulder since August, when he hurt it while making a catch against the Phillies at Nationals Park.
A few days later, Werth had an MRI on the shoulder, and the results revealed an AC joint sprain. He also received a cortisone shot, but he was able to play the rest of the season, including the postseason against the Giants.
Werth had one of his best seasons with the Nationals last year, hitting .292 with 16 home runs and 82 RBIs.
"There was hope that [the shoulder] would heal with time and treatment. I pretty much did everything legally possible to not have surgery but, in the end, surgery was the best course of action with the 2015 season and beyond in mind," Werth said in an e-mail to MLB.com. "Fortunately the major shoulder tissue has not been harmed, no cuff or labrum troubles, which is a very good sign."
With Werth out to start Spring Training, the Nationals will see a lot of outfielder Michael Taylor. Taylor is an outstanding defender and had a great year in 2014, hitting a combined .304 with 23 home runs and 64 RBIs for Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse. It would not come as a surprise if he started the season in left field if Werth is not ready by Opening Day.
Taylor made his Major League debut against the Mets last August and hit a home run in his third at-bat against right-hander Carlos Torres. After going 2-for-4, Taylor struggled the rest of the way. He knows he has to cut down on his strikeouts in order to stay in the big leagues.
Nate McLouth, who had a tough time at the plate in 2014, will get a chance to show that he has recovered from shoulder surgery. He missed the last two months of the season.
Once he returns to action, Werth will play a new position. In December, general manager Mike Rizzo announced that Werth and Bryce Harper will switch positions starting next season.
Harper will go from left field to right, while Werth, a right fielder during most of career with the Nationals, will move over to left field. The Nationals feel Harper will have more range covering right field. Both players were approached by manager Matt Williams and agreed to the switch.
"I think it gives a younger set of legs in right field. He throws extremely well," Rizzo said of Harper during the Winter Meetings. "Jayson, who has taken good routes and good angles on baseballs, can have less ground to cover to save his legs a little bit. He will be more prepared to play throughout the whole season."
Werth believes he will have a full recovery and left this message for Nats fans:
"I will continue to work and play hard for my city, my teammates and all Nat fans with the hopes of bringing a title home to D.C.," Werth said. "I would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and support as we work diligently through this process. Go Nats."