Washington Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth has decided to finally do something about the pain in his right shoulder that has bothered him since August. MLB.com's Bill Ladson reports that Werth will undergo arthroscopic surgery on Friday, January 9, to repair the acromioclavicular (AC) joint in his right shoulder. Werth will need two to three months to recover. According to Ladson, the Nationals have not confirmed the report.
Werth sprained his shoulder making a catch against the Philadelphia Phillies in early August. He played through the rest of the season, playing in 44 games in August and September and hitting .322 combined. Only five missed games during that span are attributed to the shoulder problem.
On Thursday, Ladson discussed the pending surgery with MLB.com's Matt Waymire. Ladson said that Werth looked fine as the season ended, but the pain returned and intensified during recent offseason workouts, prompting the decision for surgery. See the interview below.
Werth played in 146 games for the Nationals in 2014. He compiled a slash line of .292/.394/.455 with 16 HR, 82 RBI, and 4.0 WAR. Whereas many players would love to have season totals such as these, it is actually a down year for Werth, who typically has hit above .300 with 20+ home runs in recent years when healthy. He hit only .059 (1 for 17) in the four-game NLDS, but that stems much more from the terrific pitching he faced from the San Francisco Giants staff.
The two-to-three month timeframe would put Werth back on the field between the middle of March and the middle of April. Ladson predicts in both his report and his interview above that Werth will more likely return in April and that Werth's absence will allow prospect Michael Taylor an opportunity to showcase himself and possibly win a roster spot out of Spring Training -- maybe even start on Opening Day if Werth is not ready. Left-handed hitting Nate McClouth is also an option, and the Nationals have shown interest in acquiring Ben Zobrist from the Tampa Bay Rays.
At age 36 with recent injury history, Werth could possibly move to left field with young stud Bryce Harper switching to right. Left field would cut down on Werth's throws to third and give him a little less ground to cover.
Werth is a career .276/.370/.469 hitter with 186 HR and 659 RBI in at least parts of 12 seasons since 2002.