08/24/12 6:30 PM ET
Werth doesn't regret e-mail, reaches out to Phils
Former Phillie had lashed out at fans who jeered him after injury
By Todd Zolecki and Jake Kaplan / MLB.com
"You say the damndest things when you're lying in a hospital bed post-op," the Nationals' right fielder said. "They've got some pretty good medicine. But I don't necessarily take back what I said."
Werth played for the Phillies from 2007-10, helping them win the '08 World Series, '09 National League pennant and four National League East titles. But Phillies fans have been booing him since he signed a seven-year, $126 million deal with the Nationals in December 2010.
He said some of those fans crossed the line May 6 when they jeered and mocked him after he broke his left wrist during a game at Nationals Park. Werth had surgery May 7 at the Mayo Clinic, and almost immediately sent an e-mail to The Washington Post. In it he wrote, "After walking off the field feeling nauseous knowing my wrist was broke and hearing Philly fans yelling 'You deserve it,' and, 'That's what you get,' I am motivated to get back quickly and see to it personally those people never walk down Broad Street in celebration again."
Werth said he has cooled off completely since he fired off that e-mail. He also said he contacted some of his former teammates and members of the Phillies' organization soon after the e-mail hit the internet.
"It was a few guys I have a world's worth of respect for," Werth said. "I contacted them and said, 'Hey, no disrespect.' I explained the situation."
Werth wouldn't say, but those conversations probably went something like this: It's not you, it's those fans in the stands that heckled me.
"You go through something like that, you're pretty bent out of shape about the way it went," said Werth, who was one of the most respected and well-liked players in the clubhouse while he was in Philadelphia. "As time goes on you don't feel as strongly. I've definitely been contacted by a lot of people from Philadelphia, fans I've come to know and love over the years. They've reached out to me. For what it's worth, you learn to forgive and forget.
"I'll finish that with saying that I would not give back any of my time I spent here in Philadelphia. They were some of the most sacred years of my life. There is a mutual respect for this town and these people, and especially those guys over there [in the Phillies dugout]."
Schwimer reportedly upset he wasn't put on DL
PHILADELPHIA -- Nobody is talking about Phillies right-hander Michael Schwimer these days.
The Phillies optioned Schwimer to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Thursday, and CSNPhilly.com reported Schwimer got upset at the decision because he believed he should have been placed on the 15-day disabled list. Schwimer reportedly had complained of an arm injury recently, although he pitched as recently as Sunday and had not told the Phillies he could not pitch.
The club and Schwimer's agent declined comment Friday. It is unclear if Schwimer has filed a grievance with the players union.
With Schneider on DL, Kratz's workload increases
PHILADELPHIA --- Manager Charlie Manuel has said Erik Kratz is a guy the Phillies can "beat up," meaning the 32-year-old catcher is durable and can handle a heavy workload behind the plate.
That will be put to task in the coming weeks. Before Friday's series opener against the Nationals, backup catcher Brian Schneider was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain. To fill his place, Steven Lerud had his contract purchased from Double-A Reading. Lerud, who will wear No. 39, was expected to be available off the bench Friday.
Kratz has hit .319 with seven home runs, seven doubles and 17 RBIs in just 69 at-bats over 27 games entering Friday. All-Star Carlos Ruiz, on the disabled list with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, is still at least a week away from returning.
"I think it's good for Kratzy," Manuel said. "I think he can handle that. I think that he can do it."
Schneider's injury did not occur during his pinch-hit appearance in the 10th inning of Thursday's 4-3 win. Manuel said Schneider was hurting before Thursday's game. He wasn't sure when the actual injury occurred, but said Schneider's had trouble with his hamstrings before. The veteran missed time earlier in the summer because of a sprained ankle.
"The concern is we can't have him not available because of the catching situation," assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. "We have to make sure he's 100 percent. We just felt the need to get somebody who was available in a situation like [Thursday] night, extra innings, that sort of thing. You have to have somebody who can get back there in an emergency. His availability was in question."
Lerud, 27, hit .235 in 35 games for the R-Phils, but recently assumed a backup role to Tommy Joseph, who was acquired from the Giants organization in the July 31 Hunter Pence trade. Triple-A is the highest level Lerud had reached. He played nine games for Triple-A Norfolk in 2010 with the Orioles organization.
"He's sound defensively," said Manuel, who saw Lerud in Spring Training. The catcher was a non-roster invitee. "I haven't seen him hit that much."
Lerud's addition gives the Phils 39 players on their 40-man roster. The only other catcher on the 40-man is Sebastian Valle, a highly regarded 22-year-old who only moved from Reading to Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Aug. 1. Ranked the eight-best prospect in the organization by MLB.com's Prospect Watch, Valle is likely not yet ready for the big leagues.
Lerud becomes the second player in 2012 to have played at Reading and reached the Major Leagues. Rookie right-hander B.J. Rosenberg was the first.
Said Proefrock, "This was the right guy for us at this time."
Catcher Carlos Ruiz is on schedule to begin running Tuesday. Ruiz, on the disabled list with plantar fasciitis since Aug. 3, has been taking batting practice and caught Cliff Lee's bullpen session Thursday.
"Everything is progressing," assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. "I think it was four to six weeks from the time, so we think he'll be back somewhere in that time frame."
Placido Polanco is still dealing with lingering back problems, manager Charlie Manuel said. The veteran third baseman returned from a DL stint stemming from lower back inflammation Monday. Kevin Frandsen started at the hot corner Friday.
The five hitless innings thrown by the Phillies' bullpen in Thursday's victory over the Reds marked just the second time in the last six seasons that their relief corps did not give up a hit in a game it pitched at least five innings. In a 4-1, 13-inning win on July 21, 2009, Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge, Chan Ho Park and Clay Condrey teamed up to no-hit the Cubs over six innings.
Juan Pierre entered Friday needing just one stolen base to tie Maury Wills for 19th place all time. The veteran outfielder's 585 career swipes are the most among active players. He has a team-leading 31 this season.
Phillies prospects Tommy Joseph, Darin Ruf and Cesar Hernandez were named postseason Eastern League All-Stars on Friday. Ruf, of Double-A Reading, hit his 34th home run Thursday, tying him with former Phillies slugger Greg Luzinski for third place all time on Reading's single-season list.