PHILADELPHIA -- Former Phillies right fielder Jayson Werth smiled and shook his head Friday when a reporter reminded him about the e-mail.
"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]."