walked into the visitors' clubhouse at Dolphin Stadium yesterday afternoon, looked at the lineup card posted on the wall, and saw a "2" next to his name.
Werth, whom the Baltimore Orioles selected as a catcher in the first round of the 1997 amateur draft, is the Phillies' emergency catcher. But because catcher Chris Coste left the team Wednesday and returned to Philadelphia to be with his wife, Marcia, who gave birth that night to their second daughter, Camryn Marie, Werth essentially became Carlos Ruiz's backup the last two games.
Coste is expected to rejoin the team for tonight's series opener against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. But Werth had a mini-heart attack when he saw he was catching lefthander Jamie Moyer.
Of course, it was a joke.
He just didn't know it.
"I thought it was a big joke initially, but then nobody was laughing but me," Werth said. "So I'm like, 'OK, maybe this really is going to happen.' I was looking at video of the last time Jamie threw against the Marlins."
He even approached Moyer to talk about the hitters he would face last night.
"My level of panic was pretty high," Werth said.
Werth caught from the time he was 11 years old until he was 23, when he caught 23 games in 2002 for triple-A Syracuse. He even caught Brett Myers for a few innings during a minor-league spring-training game in March at the Carpenter Complex in Clearwater, Fla.
But only when Werth walked past the lineup card a second time did he realize that he was on the receiving end of a joke.
The fake card had been replaced with the real one.
Werth was playing right field, where he prefers to be.
"I've been breathing fine ever since," he said with a laugh. "This just shows you the type of clubhouse we've got and the type of guys we've got around here. You hear Charlie [Manuel] say, 'You've got to have fun in this game.' Winning is fun. Hitting is fun."
"Maybe not so much fun," he said.
"I should have caught Jayson," Manuel said. "Moyer might not like it, though."
St. Louis Cardinals first baseman
will miss at least three weeks with a strained left calf.
That could help the Phillies, who open a three-game series tonight against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Pujols is hitting .347 with 16 home runs and 42 RBIs.
"It could make things a little bit better," Manuel said. "We won't have to walk him then. . . . They've been playing real good. They've kind of surprised me. Their pitching definitely is doing well for them. Of course, they're stronger when they've got Pujols."
Manuel said he would have given it back if he had caught
Ken Griffey Jr.'s
600th home-run ball Monday in Florida.
"I know what it would mean to him," the Phillies' manager said. "But when I worked at [the James Lee Carpet Co.] in Glasgow, Va., I would have kept that damn ball. Believe me."
Manuel said when he was about 20 he worked at the carpet factory in the winter, where he made about $1.75 an hour. One of his jobs was labeling carpets.
"It was one of my better jobs," he said.
The Phillies signed four more players selected in last week's amateur draft. Nineteen of the 53 players selected have been signed. The latest four: 11th-round righthander
, 14th-round righthander
, 15th-round outfielder
, and 18th-round righthander