Tracy further along in rehab than Werth

Tracy further along in rehab than Werth

MILWAUKEE -- There had been some talk of outfielder Jayson Werth joining the Nationals when they return to Washington on Tuesday, but it's looking more likely that they'll have Chad Tracy waiting for them.

Tracy and Werth continued their rehab assignments with Triple-A Syracuse on Friday night and are scheduled to play Saturday night. Tracy played seven innings at third base, while Werth manned right field for six innings. Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Werth reported back that his hand was "a little tender."

"Tracy's probably farther along than Jayson," Johnson said. "I think there's a chance Chad Tracy will be ready when we get back home."

It doesn't appear that Werth will be ready quite as soon, though he still figures to return in early August. Johnson said Werth's return date is essentially up to him because the veteran outfielder knows his body and health better than anybody else. Johnson wasn't concerned about whether Werth is hitting in the Minors, but rather if he feels well enough to play defense and take a full game's worth of at-bats.

"If he feels like he's ready for that, then we'll have him back," Johnson said. "No matter what we're doing here, you want to make sure that he's up to speed so that he's not going to get hurt. It's always more about injury, for me, than performance down there."