Jayson Werth RF WAS 1 Day

Werth (shoulder) took his first batting practice session of the spring on Saturday, Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports. "The swing is there, all the range of motion," Werth said "My natural swing path is good. I still have a little ways to go."

He then followed up the batting practice by playing a few innings of defense in a minor league game. He's making steady progress in his recovery from shoulder surgery and the Nationals haven't officially ruled Werth out for Opening Day, but at this point a DL stint to start the season seems almost inevitable.

Jayson Werth RF WAS 5 Days

Werth (shoulder) will take batting practice and play five innings of defense in a minor league game Wednesday, James Wagner of the Washington Post reports.

Werth continues to progress towards a return to the big league club, and will make a big step Wednesday by taking part in a BP session and playing five innings defensively. Assuming no setbacks occur, he appears to be on track to be ready for Opening Day at this point.

Jayson Werth RF WAS 7 Days

Werth (shoulder) is expected to get some at-bats in a minor league game on Wednesday or Thursday this week, the Washington Post reports.

The plate appearances may just be to help him track pitches, and he may not even swing the bat, but Werth is still inching closer to being ready for Opening Day.

Jayson Werth RF WAS 7 Days

Werth (shoulder) had no issues other than soreness with his minor league game Sunday, James Wagner of The Washington Post reports.

While Werth has previously expressed confidence that he will be ready for Opening Day, it remains to be seen if he'll progress enough over the next two weeks to meet his own timetable. Werth had six chances in left during Sunday's game and was forced to make multiple throws.

Jayson Werth RF WAS 10 Days

Werth (shoulder) will play defense in a minor league game on Friday, MLB.com's Jamal Collier reports.

He's still experiencing pain when he has to stretch his swing out for a pitch outside the strike zone, so for now Werth will only be playing defense. He's confident that he'll be ready for Opening Day, but until he's able to take regular at-bats, that should be considered simply optimism on his part rather than a firm timetable.

Jayson Werth RF WAS 11 Days

Werth (shoulder) says he's on target to be ready for Opening Day, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports.

Werth said he was surprised by how well he's been able to "let it go" while throwing, and the next step is now working up to full speed in the batter's box. He said he'll only need a handful of at-bats before Opening Day, so the team will likely look to insert him into at least one or two games prior to the opener. Continue to keep an eye on the situation, as Werth is certainly no guarantee to be an Opening Day starter at this point.

Jayson Werth RF WAS 16 Days

Werth hit lightly Saturday and will take the field for defensive reps in minor league games next week, the Washington Post's Chelsea Janes reports.

The Nationals want Werth to be used in "controlled situations," hence him starting off in minor league games, where there can be starts and stops in the action. Werth is going to need to make some significant progress in the coming weeks to be ready to go for Opening Day, and it is a fluid situation that should be monitored closely by prospective owners.

Jayson Werth RF WAS 18 Days

Werth (shoulder) threw for the first time since his surgery without any issues, the Washington Post reports.

He'll throw again on Thursday, and while Werth's recovery is going well, he'll need to see some spring game action soon if he wants to avoid starting the regular season on the DL.

Jayson Werth RF WAS 26 Days

Werth (shoulder) will be re-evaluated on Friday to determine whether he can ramp up his rehab, the Washington Post reports. "Once you hit eight weeks [post-surgery], you can start to evaluate. Can we start throwing? Can we start hitting?" Werth said on Tuesday. "Everybody is different. It's getting a lot better."

There's still time for Werth to get himself into game shape for Opening Day, but given his age and the Nationals' typical patience with recovering players, the safe bet is still to assume he'll begin the season with at least a short DL stint. The club should have a better idea of whether Werth will be ready for the opener by next week, however.

Jayson Werth RF WAS 1 Month

Werth was restricted to conditioning drills on Thursday, but says he's anticipating being able to ramp up his rehab from shoulder surgery late next week, the Washington Post reports. "You got to err on the side of caution," Werth said. "You come back too early and then you have a setback or something like that so it's a fine line. But our trainers and doctors are on top of it. I feel like I have a good sense of where I'm at and where I want to be so it's just a time thing."

The veteran outfielder still thinks he'll be in the lineup on Opening Day, but even if he misses that target, at this point it doesn't look like Werth will miss more than a week or so of the regular season. If his shoulder injury suppresses his price tag enough at the draft table, he could even prove to be a bit of a fantasy bargain this season.