Werth with the Nationals in 2017
|Washington Nationals – No. 28|
May 20, 1979 |
|September 1, 2002, for the Toronto Blue Jays|
(through September 18, 2017)
|Runs batted in||794|
|Career highlights and awards|
Jayson Richard Gowan Werth (born May 20, 1979) is an American professional baseball outfielder for the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has previously played for the Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Philadelphia Phillies. He bats and throws right-handed. While primarily a right fielder throughout his career, Werth has recently been moved to left field for the Nationals.
Werth was born in Springfield, Illinois, the son of Jeff Gowan, a collegiate baseball and football player who broke all the receiving records and led all Division I wide receivers in receptions while at Illinois State University, and played outfield in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system in 1978 and Kim Schofield, who competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials in the long jump and 100 meters. He is the grandson of Ducky Schofield and nephew of Dick Schofield, both Major League Baseball infielders, and stepson of Dennis Werth, who played in parts of four seasons with the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees from 1979 through 1982. Werth is married with two children.
Werth was successful as a youngster, playing for the top youth traveling teams in Springfield, Illinois. His teams began traveling when he was seven and dominated the state of Illinois youth baseball with four consecutive state championships (never finishing worse than fourth in nationals) in Khoury League with the Bunn Brewers. He then played for a national power, the Springfield Flame, where his team won the state and Midwest Regional and finished third in the 1993 Sandy Koufax World Series in Spring, Texas, behind Pico Rivera, California and a Dallas, Texas, team that included future major leaguer Vernon Wells. Werth also was selected to play for the U.S. Junior Pan Am Games in 1995. He gained more attention while attending Glenwood High School in Chatham, Illinois, where he compiled a .616 batting average in his senior year with 15 home runs in 31 games and helped his team to the state championship in 1996 (his junior year).
Werth initially planned on playing college baseball at the University of Georgia, but changed his plans when he was drafted in the first round (22nd overall) by the Baltimore Orioles in the 1997 Major League Baseball draft. In the minor leagues, Werth played catcher and first base, in addition to being an outfielder.
Toronto Blue Jays
Prior to making his major-league debut, the Orioles traded Werth to the Toronto Blue Jays for pitcher John Bale. Werth broke into the major leagues with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2002.
Los Angeles Dodgers
On March 29, 2004, Werth was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Jason Frasor after two seasons in Toronto.
During spring training, on March 2, 2005, Werth was hit by a pitch from A. J. Burnett that broke his left wrist. Despite the injury, Werth was able to play in 102 games during 2005, hitting .234 with seven home runs (compared to 16 the previous year, in fewer at-bats). Eight months later, Werth underwent exploratory surgery which revealed two ligament tears that were repaired; however, his discomfort never subsided. On May 21, 2006, Werth had cortisone injected into his wrist; the wrist was placed in a cast for three to four weeks. These injuries caused him to miss the entire 2006 season.
On December 19, 2006, Werth signed a one-year, $850,000 contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.
In 2008, Werth began the season platooning with Geoff Jenkins in right field, but soon found himself playing every day in the early part of the season while regular center fielder Shane Victorino was on the disabled list. On May 16, he had a career night against the Blue Jays. He hit three home runs in one game, including a grand slam, a three-run home run, and a solo shot which put him one round-tripper short of hitting for the "homer cycle." He also tied the Phillies team record with 8 RBIs in one game. For the season, he led the majors in home runs against left-handed pitchers, with 16. On October 29, 2008, the Phillies won their second World Series title.
Despite being eligible for arbitration after the 2008 season, Werth agreed to a two-year contract with the Phillies worth $10 million on January 21, 2009.
On May 12, 2009, Werth made a steal of home plate in a bases-loaded situation against the Los Angeles Dodgers, which came in the seventh inning after previously stealing both second and third base. Werth stole four bases in the game, leading the team to a 5–3 victory, and again tying a Phillies record. On June 27, Werth became the 14th player in Toronto's Rogers Centre history to hit a home run into the stadium's 500 level. On July 10, Werth was named to the NL All-Star Team as a replacement for New York Mets' outfielder Carlos Beltrán. On July 21, in a home game against the Chicago Cubs, Werth hit his first career walk-off home run, in the 13th inning against Jeff Samardzija, to deliver a 4–1 victory for the Phillies. He led the majors in pitches per plate appearance during the 2009 season, with 4.50. In Game 5 of the 2009 National League Championship Series, Werth hit home runs in the first and seventh innings, in a game which the Phillies won 10–4, clinching the series. Baseball fans voted Werth the 2009 "Unsung Star of the Year" in MLB's This Year in Baseball Awards.
On December 5, 2010, Werth signed a seven-year contract with the Washington Nationals worth $126 million, the 14th richest contract in baseball history. He was introduced to the media on December 15, 2010 with his number 28 jersey.
Werth had a difficult 2011, highlighted by a June in which he had a .154 batting average, a .291 on-base percentage, and a .286 slugging percentage. On the season, Werth had a .232 batting average, with 20 home runs and 58 runs batted in.
On May 6, 2012, Werth broke his left wrist attempting to make a diving catch against his old team, the Philadelphia Phillies. The wrist was the same one that had caused him to miss much of the 2005 season and all of 2006. While the injury was described as a "clean break", it was reported that Werth would consult with the same wrist specialist who treated him in 2005, to determine whether there was any ligament damage. The next day, Werth underwent surgery on the left wrist. After a three-month absence for recuperation, Werth returned to the Nationals' lineup on August 2. Werth batted primarily in the leadoff spot for the first time in his career, posting a .309 batting average and .388 OBP in that role.
On October 11, 2012, Werth, to conclude a 13-pitch at bat, hit a 9th inning walk-off home run off Lance Lynn of the St. Louis Cardinals in the bottom of the 9th inning to win the game, 2–1, and tie the National League Divisional Series at two games apiece. Werth finished the 2012 season with a .300 batting average, 5 homers, and 31 runs driven in in 81 games.
On August 11, 2013, Werth collected his 1,000th career hit. Werth finished the 2013 season batting .318 with 25 home runs and 82 RBI. Werth also finished 13th in the NL MVP voting. It marked the third time in his career that Werth had garnered MVP votes.
Fouling a ball off his left foot in a June 3, 2017, game against the Oakland Athletics, Werth suffered a fractured first metatarsal bone as well as a bone bruise, which placed him on the disabled list. Werth returned from injury on August 28, against the Miami Marlins, where he tallied two hits, including a home run.
On January 29, 2015, Werth pleaded guilty to reckless driving, and was sentenced to five days in jail.
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