If anything, Werth said, that surreal moment came when he had to play for Class A Potomac during his Minor League rehab assignment. Thursday felt like business as usual, as he went 1-for-3 with an RBI and a walk.
"Like I never missed a step. It was good," Werth said. "Those Minor League fields, they're kind of spongy, so it was good to get back on a hard surface.
"I felt like I was ready. I didn't really see what the point was to continue to play games in the Minor Leagues. I wasn't getting a whole lot out of those. If we were going to wait for me to get into 100 percent game shape ... if I wanted to wait up to 20 [days], I could have, but I felt good at the plate and felt like I could help the team. I felt ready."
The impact of having Werth back in the lineup and in center field wasn't lost on his teammates or Nationals manager Davey Johnson, not after Werth missed 75 games with a broken left wrist. Johnson said Werth, who didn't play full back-to-back games during his rehab assignment, would be a "day-by-day" evaluation, but didn't sound concerned about his durability.
"He's pretty focused on coming back and helping the ballclub. That was a very determined Jayson Werth," Johnson said. "He's always determined, but he was very focused."
"It's great. He's a leader for us," added left-hander Ross Detwiler, Thursday's winning pitcher. "He's a leader out there, a great outfielder. You know what he does with the bat."
The Nationals' success made it easier for Werth to sit back and watch from the dugout, but with him back and Ian Desmond due back in three or four weeks, Washington is starting to round up its full roster -- something that didn't slip by Johnson or Werth.
"We're getting there," Johnson said. "This is the closest we've been in a long time."
"We've done a great job, guys stepping in all season," added Werth. "That's what great teams do. This team's got a lot of depth. Playing the games in the Minor Leagues, you see the type of talent we have down there and the type of guys that are in the system, just not at the Major League level. We're pretty stacked. I like our chances for years to come."