With the postseason just around the corner and the Metro League baseball championship chase still unresolved, the league leaders might be getting a big boost off the bench.

Following a frustrating spring filled with doctor’s appointments, repetitive rehab sessions, and even acupuncture on his left wrist, Jesuit senior star utility man Trent Werner is scheduled to be medically cleared and make his long-awaited return to the first-place Crusaders in a reduced role starting this week.

“It’s taken a toll on me because I’m ready to get back on the field,” said Werner. “It’s got to the point where I want to be out there so bad that I’m trying to do anything I can to get out on the field. Even if it’s just pinch-running, I can do that. Not being able to play kind of bummed me out right now, but I tried to stay positive for the team any way I could.”

In August, Werner broke the scaphoid bone — situated between the hand and forearm on the thumb side of the wrist — in his left wrist while playing football during daily doubles. Believing the injury wasn’t a huge hindrance, Werner went on to an all-state season on the gridiron on both sides of the ball and helped Jesuit reach the 6A state championship game.

However, the discomfort in the limb didn’t stop once the football season ended, so after having the wrist examined, Werner and his mom decided surgery was the best option. At first, it was believed Werner would be back in time for Metro play on April 1. But, the healing process took longer than expected as the bone was slow to reform and strengthen. Soon, the days turned to weeks and the weeks to months.

Werner was willing do anything to speed up the recovery, whether it was putting his hand in a bone growth simulator designed to accelerate the process or have acupuncture needles stuck in the wrist to get the blood flowing. The senior noted he wanted to get the wrist fully healed the first time and not have to re-injure it or have to go under the knife again.

As a team captain and one of Jesuit’s best all-around players who expected to have a huge, all-state kind of season, being sidelined for so long has given Werner a new perspective on playing the game he loves.

“It’s made me more hungry to do as good as I can when I get out there,” he said. “I started taking a ton of groundballs the last couple days and played catch to get my arm ready. It hasn’t hurt at all, so that’s a really good sign.”

Werner said how and when he’s used is at the discretion of head coach Tim Massey, though the 2013 all-league pick hasn’t picked up a bat or started hitting yet. As of now, Werner will wait until the summer to hit, but noted if the wrist feels good in the next week or so, he’d “love to give it a try.”

Defensively, Werner can play anywhere in the outfield or infield with speed and hustle to go with a strong baseball intellect.

And, as far as pinch runners go, one would be hard pressed to find a faster threat on the base paths than Werner, who can take extra bags with ease or put himself in scoring position with high-rate wheels.

“I’d like to help the team any way I can on the field,” said Werner. “I’ve been trying to keep it positive in the dugout and be a leader from the bench. But, I think I can be a leader on the field as well.”

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