BOSTON -- After missing the first week of the regular season because of a right shoulder injury, Jayson Werth was back in the Nationals' lineup Monday against the Red Sox, hitting fourth and playing left field.
"It's good that he feels good. That's all we are concerned with at this point," manager Matt Williams said. "He has no issues with his shoulder. He has played a lot of rehab games with a number of at-bats. I'm happy about that."
Earlier in the day, Werth was taking fly balls near the Green Monster in left field. There are challenges playing in front of that famous wall.
"It's big, it's tall, it's short, so with all the challenges that come with those scenarios, you have those in play. Anything could happen in this game," Werth said.
Werth said he and Williams will play it by ear on how many innings he will play to start his season. He didn't play nine innings during his rehab assignment.
"It's a big difference between nine and seven innings. We'll see how it goes," Werth said. "If I need a day, I'm sure I can get it. We have a chance to DH [at Fenway Park]. We'll see. We'll play it by ear. I want to be in there as much as possible. If I need a day, I'll take it. I plan on playing every day,"
With Werth back in the lineup, the Nationals optioned outfielder Matt den Dekker to Triple-A Syracuse. den Dekker appeared in four games for the Nationals off the bench. He was 0-for-2 at the plate. den Dekker was acquired from the New York Mets on March 30 in exchange for left-hander Jerry Blevins.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.