Werth an option to lead off when he returns

Werth an option to lead off when he returns

WASHINGTON -- Though Jayson Werth remains a few days away from rejoining the Nationals, the veteran outfielder could slide into the team's leadoff spot when he returns, according to manager Davey Johnson.

Aside from having Werth play two or three more rehab games with Class A Potomac, the Nationals would like their 33-year-old outfielder to play in back-to-back games before returning to the team. Werth led off and played center field for Potomac on Wednesday night.

"I talked to him about it and he said, he has all the history, 'Well, we had our longest win streak in Philadelphia when I was leading off. And playing center,'" Johnson said when asked about the possibility of Werth leading off. "I said, 'A 6-foot-6 donkey wants to lead off?'"

In his 10-year career, Werth has batted .222 with a .323 on-base percentage in 41 at-bats in the leadoff spot -- interestingly enough, both figures are the lowest among any place in the order.

Before breaking his right wrist on May 6, Werth batted fifth in 17 of the 28 games he played, though Johnson added that he could also bat sixth. Defensively, Johnson will likely rotate Werth with Bryce Harper and Roger Bernadina in center field.

The Nats' lineup also figures to change once Ian Desmond returns from the disabled list. Desmond was sidelined on July 23 with a left oblique strain.