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Werth misses Nationals first workout with illness


VIERA, Fla. (AP) Washington Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth has missed the team's first full-squad workout of spring training because of an illness.

''We quarantined him,'' Nationals manager Dusty Baker said Thursday. ''We didn't want him to spread it, because I've seen it in different springs. It could spread through the clubhouse and the next thing you know, you've got a whole sick ward.''

''We just wanted him to go home and come back, hopefully (on Friday),'' he said.

Werth got off to a slow start last spring following shoulder surgery. That recovery, along with a broken wrist, limited him to just 88 games last season.

Werth hit .221 with 12 home runs and 42 RBIs last season. Keeping the 36-year-old healthy will undoubtedly be a key to the Nationals success this season.

As for what he told the team before Thursday's first workout, Baker said his message to the players was simple.

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''You just tell them what your few rules are,'' he said. ''You want them to start thinking like a champion. You want them to get together as soon as possible, think like a family.''

Washington third baseman Anthony Rendon has been impressed with his new manager so far this spring.

''He speaks the truth,'' Rendon said. ''That's what I love about him.''

NOTES: Former Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson is spending 10 days with the team as a guest spring training instructor. ''Very excited,'' Johnson said. ''Just helping out and being around the guys. Looking forward to it.'' Johnson, who lives near Nationals manager Dusty Baker around Sacramento, California, said he has been spending time with his three young children and had not thought of getting into coaching. Baker wants Johnson to talk to the young players about hitting and give tips to Ryan Zimmerman about playing first base. Zimmerman moved from third base to first last season.

A popular player in Washington, Johnson was part of the original Nationals team in 2005.

''The real good organizations I've been in, they have history,'' Baker said. ''I thought back to my Dodger days. There was (Roy) Campanella, there was (Don) Newcombe, there was Sandy Koufax, all these greats in camp. If they could say one thing to help a kid figure it out . I've seen it turn people's careers around.''