Jayson Werth hasn't had the greatest offseason. In fact, the break from baseball was particularly tough on the Washington Nationals outfielder, who is now working hard to try and make up for lost time.
A shoulder operation isn't anything too crazy for a Major League Baseball veteran. But at 35 years old, it's a considerable challenge. Werth has to rehabilitate his shoulder joint and bring it back to playing shape, going against the grain of aging that has already cost him some athleticism and speed.
And then there was that brief stint in jail -- five days for excessive speeding. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Werth was caught going 105 miles per hour on his way to the Nationals ballpark last year, and a judge ordered a $1,000 fine plus a short stint in jail.
Werth was fine with the punishment but noted that the experience of getting pulled over was alarming: the officer who caught him lost his temper on Werth and had his hand on his gun while talking to Werth in the car. Ultimately, Werth did everything he could to comply with the authorities.
"I did the crime, so I did the time," Werth told CBS.
Despite that run-in with law enforcement, Werth is still coveted by the Nationals. His production may be at risk of slipping, but Werth is seen as a positive clubhouse influence, and one that the team needs to sustain its run of success.
The challenge, rather, is getting back into playing shape. After shoulder surgery, Werth isn't able to swing a bat still. He has his sights on being ready for Opening Day, but isn't sure yet if he will hit that goal.
That's much better than where he was a few weeks ago, though, when his arm hadn't recovered at all. At that point, Werth couldn't even throw a baseball, and he was worried his career might be over.
Slowly, the rehab has come along, but it remains to be seen whether Werth can overcome the rough offseason and return to his old form.