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Werth not expected to return before late July

Werth not expected to return before late July

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Werth not expected to return before late July
WASHINGTON -- A three-game sweep at the hands of the Yankees stymied some of the momentum the Nationals had gathered in June, but the number of players returning from injuries remains a source of optimism.

Jayson Werth has been out since breaking his left wrist on May 6, but manager Davey Johnson said the veteran right fielder believes he's "about a month away" from returning. The severity of the injury forced doctors to insert a metal plate into the wrist. According to Johnson, Werth's return could come in late July at best, though doctors will X-ray the wrist again in a couple of weeks.

"The doctors saw him Friday or Saturday and said the wrist was knitting very well," Johnson said. "He's probably not going to be able to do anything until a pretty good ways after the All-Star break. The injury was so severe with that plate in there, it's going to have to be fully healed before he's doing any baseball stuff."

In 27 games before the injury, Werth was batting .276 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in 113 plate appearances.

Meanwhile, utility man Mark DeRosa is back after the death of his father, Jack, following a prolonged battle with cancer. DeRosa also has been on the disabled list since April 29 with a strained left oblique. Johnson said DeRosa looked good working out and running with the team before Tuesday night's game, and since DeRosa hasn't batted in about five weeks, he will probably head to Class A Potomac for a rehab assignment.

"The good news is the MASH troops are coming around," Johnson said.

Other Nationals injury updates:

• Infielder Chad Tracy, out since May 26 due to a right adductor strain, was back in the clubhouse on Tuesday. Johnson said Tracy is recovering better than expected and could return shortly after the All-Star break.

• Closer Drew Storen threw a bullpen session on the team's off-day Monday and is expected to return around the All-Star break. Storen had surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow on April 11.

• Reliever Henry Rodriguez, on the disabled list since June 7 with a strained right index finger, could return "inside a week, depending on how things go," Johnson said. Rodriguez began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday.

• Reliever Cole Kimball also began a rehab assignment with the GCL Nationals on Tuesday, pitching one scoreless inning.

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