WASHINGTON -- The Nationals suffered a huge blow on Sunday night when right fielder Jayson Werth broke his left wrist while attempting a sliding catch in their 9-3 loss to the Phillies.
Werth is expected to miss at least six weeks of action. It's the same wrist he broke as a member of the Dodgers in 2005. He ended up missing all of 2006 because of the injury.
He will be consulting with the Mayo Clinic to figure out the next course of action, and will also confer with the surgeon who operated on his wrist when he was with the Dodgers. Werth was not available for comment.
"That's [bad]. That's really bad," an upset Bryce Harper said.
The injury occurred in the top of the sixth inning when Placido Polanco hit a blooper to right field. Werth dove for the ball and it looked like he caught it, but the ball came out of his glove for a single after his left wrist was bent backward. Werth was in pain and left the game a few minutes later and was replaced by Xavier Nady, who is dealing with an injury to his left side.
"He is going to be down for a while. He is going to see a specialist," manager Davey Johnson said. "It's a clean break. He will be out for a while. I'm not a doctor. We are going to get experts on it."
Werth, who went 1-for-2 in the game, was hitting .276 with three home run and 12 RBIs before the injury.
With Werth out, Johnson plans to platoon Nady and Roger Bernadina in left field, while Harper will be the everyday right fielder. Johnson also said Stephen Lombardozzi and Chad Tracy could also see action in left field.
The news of Werth's injury comes at a time when the Nationals were expecting to get healthier. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is expected to be activated from the disabled list on Tuesday and first baseman Adam LaRoche is hoping to be back in the lineup after missing a few games because of a right abdominal injury.
"We seem to be getting a little ... healthier and -- boom," Johnson said. "One of our main guys goes down. We dealt with it before. We'll deal with it again. ... That was a tough blow. I was anxious to get a lot of the guys back on Tuesday."
The Nationals are losing more than a player in Werth. They are losing a leader, according to reliever Craig Stammen.
"He is a guy that shows up every day. If you are a young guy, you don't want to be caught doing the wrong thing in his presence, because he will tell you about it," Stammen said. "He is not afraid to voice his opinion. That's good. That's what leaders have to do. Sometimes, people don't like him because of that. But in the end, it keeps everybody on the straight-and-narrow path."
Nady believes that Nationals have enough talent on the team to replace Werth. Only time will tell.
"We have to step up, guys in the outfield," Nady said. "There is enough talent on this team to step in. It's a long season, Hopefully, we can hold it down [until] he gets back. I feel bad for him. It stinks. Hopefully, we'll fill in. Our pitching has kept us in ballgames. Offensively, hopefully, we break out here shortly."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time He can also be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.