In December 2006, the Phillies announced the signing of Jayson Werth. At the time, it hardly sent shockwaves through the Phillies’ fan base, let alone Major League Baseball.
Werth had been plunked on the wrist by A.J. Burnett in ’05 spring training while playing for the Dodgers. The injury was so bad that Werth believed his career might be over. Ultimately, Werth recovered and the Phillies took a chance.
And the shaggy right fielder went on to become a catalyst for the Phillies, won a World Series in ’08 and was named to the All-Star team in ’09.
After last season, the Phillies weren’t able to re-sign Werth and he joined the Nationals for seven years and $126 million.
Last night, Werth made his first appearance at Citizens Bank Park since leaving. When public address announcer Dan Baker announced Werth in the top of the first inning, the fans booed momentarily. Those jeers then turned to cheers and Werth tipped his cap to the sellout crowd.
Werth trotted out to right field in the bottom of the first and the fans up in the bleachers gave him a standing ovation. There were numerous signs in support of the former Phil.
“There were some good times here,” Werth said in a crowded Nationals dugout. “I was very proud to have been a World Series champion and it’s something that can never be taken away from me. I was a proud member of the team. I’ll relish that the rest of my life. My time in Philly is over. I’m starting something new in Washington.”
Werth went 0-for-3 with a walk yesterday. He’s batting just .226 with four home runs and seven RBIs. But the Nationals are 14-15 despite some injuries — and winning is what matters most to Werth.
“We want what they have,” Werth said of the Phillies’ success. “There’s no doubt about that.”