Werth reflects on Philly, shows positive signs

Nats outfielder hits 2-run double in potential last game in Philadelphia

Werth reflects on Philly, shows positive signs

PHILADELPHIA -- Before he stepped into the batter's box in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 7-5 loss to the Phillies, Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth tipped his helmet to the crowd of 17,642 that greeted him with the boos that have become customary for him at Citizens Bank Park.

Earlier in the day, Werth reflected about his time in Philadelphia during an interview commemorating the 2008 World Series champion Phillies, a team he played for. That brought back memories and emotions, as he began what he realized could be his final game at Citizens Bank Park.

"I had a lot of good times in this town, this stadium, regardless of what it sounds like," Werth said. "I feel like my career kind of was made as a Phillie. I was just paying my respects. Just in case."

Werth is in the final season of a seven-year, $126 million contract he signed with Washington after the 2010 campaign. That contract is the reason he still hears the jeers of Phillies fans whenever he comes up to the plate at Citizens Bank Park.

Werth, 38, may not return to the Nationals after this season, given their influx of young outfield talent throughout the organization. He has mentioned several times this season that he might be best suited for the American League next year, so he can serve as a designated hitter.

"It was somewhere in the middle of the game that it kind of dawned on me that this could be my last game [in Philadelphia]," Werth said.

The Nationals are encouraged by the swings Werth took Wednesday, which included a two-run double off the left-field wall in the fifth. He had another hit taken away by a leaping catch at the center-field wall by Odubel Herrera.

Herrera's stellar leaping grab

"I just need to hit it a few more feet," Werth said with a laugh.

As Werth's contract comes to an end, he is ready for his potential last chance to bring a World Series championship to Washington. He said he believes this team has the best chance of any during this run of four National League East titles in six seasons.

Even though Werth has struggled this month since returning from the disabled list, the Nationals are giving him opportunities to prove he deserves to be the starting left fielder in the postseason.

"It's been a little bit of a struggle," Werth said. "I haven't felt that bad. My shoulder was bothering me a little bit, but that's getting better. And my timing's good.

"It's a lot of good signs, and I'm feeling pretty comfortable. We've still got a few more games, and a few more at-bats."

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.