PHILADELPHIA -- Jayson Werth strongly disagreed with Phillies manager Charlie Manuel that his impending free agency has weighed on him during his recent slump.
Manuel did not play Werth against the Marlins on Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park. Werth is hitting .140 (8-for-57) with two home runs and six RBIs in his past 17 games, and .185 (17-for-91) with four homers and 13 RBIs in 26 games since May 7. It was the second time in nine days Manuel has kept Werth out of the starting lineup.
"I think something like that has to," said Manuel, asked if Werth's contract could be weighing on him. "It has to. I definitely think that. I think everyone is like that. Even if I guy is quiet, I know it does. I know in his mind that he thinks like that. He really got off to a tremendous start and when things started going a little bad for him, he thinks about it. But he's going to be fine."
Werth said through a team spokesman before the game that he did not think his impending free agency was affecting him at the plate. He spoke more strongly about it after the team's 10-8 victory.
"I don't think anybody can sit there and say what I'm thinking," Werth said. "I play hard every night. I hustle. I play to win. Thinking about my contract is the last thing on my mind."
So it upset Werth to hear that?
"Yeah," he said. "It does, but at the same time, I know Charlie is in my corner and we've all got one-track minds in here. But that's not what I'm thinking."
It is highly unlikely the Phils and Werth will strike a deal before the season ends. Werth could command $100 million as a free agent, assuming he recovers from his month-long slump and repeats the success he enjoyed in 2009, when he hit .268 with 36 home runs, 99 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. He has indicated he likely will test the free-agent market.