Jayson Werth to undergo shoulder surgery today

Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth will undergo surgery on the acromioclavicular joint in his right shoulder on Friday and will require two to three months of rehabilitation, which could put the veteran's availability for opening day in jeopardy.

Werth originally hurt his right shoulder — diagnosed as AC joint inflammation — in August, missed a week and needed a cortisone shot to relieve the pain. The shoulder joint inflammation affected Werth's range of motion and forced him to adjust his swing to avoid the pain. Werth still hit .338 with six homers and 19 RBIs the final six weeks of the regular season.


Werth's surgery comes late in the offseason. Nationals position players are expected to report to spring training in Viera, Fla., on Feb. 24, a little more than six weeks after the surgery. After the season ended, General manager Mike Rizzo said no Nationals players were expected to undergo offseason surgery. Rest was recommended for Werth's shoulder during the winter. But the shoulder emerged again as an issue recently, as players start to ramp up their offseason workouts.

"I've been dealing with this issue since I banged my shoulder on the fence in August, if you remember I received two cortisone shots during the season for this issue," Werth said in an email to the Post. "There was hope that it 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 the "major shoulder tissue" has not been harmed, nor the rotator cuff or labrum, which is a good sign. The AC joint procedure will be done with a scope, which is minimally invasive, and performed by Diane Dahm of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

"I am fully confident in her, her staff and her care during this procedure and expect a full recovery," Werth said. "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 DC. I would like to thank everyone for there thoughts, prayers, and support as we work diligently through this process. Go Nats."

News of the surgery was originally reported by Fox Sports.

If Werth's recovery requires closer to the three-month end of the projected rehab spectrum, he would be ready to return on April 8. The Nationals open their season at home on April 6 and have an off day on April 7. So Werth wouldn't be in danger of missing a substantial chunk of the season if there are no complications.

Without Werth in the meantime, the Nationals can turn to the other seven outfielders on their roster. Werth, Bryce Harper and Denard Span are the everyday starters. Nate McLouth, the Nationals' primary backup outfielder, is expected to be ready for spring training after undergoing surgery on his torn right labrum last August.

Other outfield options include veteran utility man Kevin Frandsen (.259 in 105 games last year); speedy infielder-outfielder Jeff Kobernus, who split time between Triple-A Syracuse and the big leagues last year; and Tyler Moore, who is out of options but has experience in left field and at first base.

Perhaps the most intriguing substitute would be 23-year-old Michael Taylor, who climbed from Double-A Harrisburg to Syracuse and up to the Nationals last season. Taylor is the top-rated outfield prospect in the Nationals' system and the closest to big-league ready after the trade of Steven Souza Jr. in mid-December. Taylor hit .205 in 17 games with Washington last season but shows flashes of his power and speed.

The Nationals could also look outside the organization for outfield insurance. Should McLouth not be fully ready for spring training, the Nationals could consider bringing back Nate Schierholtz, a player they liked last season. The Nationals added the veteran left-handed-hitting outfielder in late August to fill McLouth's role and he hit .225 in 23 games.

The surgery Werth is expected to undergo is similar to that of teammate Ryan Zimmerman. In October 2012, Zimmerman, who has had more extensive shoulder injury history than Werth, underwent arthroscopic surgery to clean up the AC joint in his right shoulder, but also had a bone spur shaved down and was given a six-week recovery time-frame. Werth's shoulder is expected to be cleaned up in the surgery.

Chelsea Janes and James Wagner,

The Washington Post

More Nationals: Washington added former Oriole Bob Milacki as pitching coach at Triple-A Syracuse. The manager there is Billy Gardner Jr., the son of former Orioles infielder Billy Gardner.


Et cetera

European forward Ivan Bender set to join Terps next week

The bench for the Maryland men's basketball team will get a little bigger, and taller, next week. Ivan Bender, 19, a 6-foot-9, 230-pound forward considered among the top young players playing in Croatia, is expected to enroll in the university for the spring semester next week. He is expected to be eligible to play immediately. Mark Turgeon What kind of role the Bosnia and Herzegovina native will play for the No. 11 Terps has yet to be determined. Bender has played with KK Split in the Junior Euroleague as well as with the Croatian under-18 national team. There are questions about Bender's physical condition. After averaging 14.3 points, nine rebounds and 2.3 assists per game in the Junior Euroleague and 10.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in the 2013 FIBA under-19 World Championships, Bender missed most of 2014 after undergoing surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament. "He's getting healthy," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said Thursday. Bender's younger brother, Dragan Bender, is considered by many to be the best prospect in European basketball. The younger Bender has a long-term contract with Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv and is expected to be a lottery pick in the 2016 NBA draft.

Don Markus

Golf: Harper Lurie from The First Tee of Howard County will be one of 28 students attending The First Tee Outstanding Participant & Leadership Summit on March 11-15 in Dallas. The summit will be an interactive and educational event in which participants will have the opportunity to develop and hone skills to become leaders in their chapters, schools and communities. Lurie, 15, a sophomore on the Howard High team, has been active with The First Tee of Howard County for six years. She mentors a PLAYer class once a week, is a peer mentor at Allied Golf, plays on the Metro Tour and volunteers at chapter fundraisers.

College football: Navy (8-5) finished third in voting for the Lambert Trophy, which goes to the best team in the East in the Bowl Subdivision. Rutgers (8-5) was first and West Virginia (7-6) second. Maryland (7-6) was fifth, behind Penn State (7-6). ... Bowie State tight end Khari Lee and Navy outside linebacker Paul Quessenberry will play for the National team at the Medal of Honor Bowl, an all-star game Saturday in Charleston, S.C. The game will begin at 2:30 p.m. and be televised on NBC Sports Network.

College basketball: Baltimore City sophomore Michelle Wright and Allegany sophomore Billy Giles were named MD JUCO December Student-Athletes of the Month.


Girls soccer: US Youth Soccer named more than 200 attendees for its Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program national training camp Jan. 22-27 in Sanford, Fla. The 1999 Region I team includes forward Kathleen Gibbons (Premier SC, Ellicott City); the 2000 Region I team includes defender Bethany Bruck (Upper Chesapeake, Bel Air), forward Abigail Hanks (Ellicott City) and midfielder Catherine Hoffman (ASA Premier, Severn); and the 2001 Region I team includes defender Lily Dunbar (SA of Columbia, Columbia), goalkeeper Alyssa Minnick (Premier SC, Baltimore) and midfielder Jenna Snead (Premier SC, Pasadena).

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