WASHINGTON -- Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth was out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive game on Wednesday afternoon, and manager Matt Williams said Werth's right shoulder is "a little cranky." Thursday's off-day will give Werth three straight days to rest, and he is expected to be back on Friday night against the Braves.
"It's been a little inconsistent," Werth said Wednesday on MLB Network. "At times, it's been good. Other times, my timing just hasn't been there, but I'm starting to figure it out. I had some good at-bats the other night. I think it's coming."
Werth had surgery to repair the AC joint in his right shoulder in January, so five months later, this type of soreness is considered normal.
"Yeah, it's part of the progression," Williams said. "It's going to be cranky from time to time. You know, surgery five months ago. It's part of the rehab process. You get through stuff like this over time. So it's a little cranky. With the off-day tomorrow, this is an opportunity to let it calm down as much as possible."
As Williams pointed out, Werth will turn 36 later this month. That makes recovery more of a challenge than it would be for a younger player, and Werth had started for 11 consecutive days before sitting out Washington's 2-1 loss to Miami on Tuesday night.
After that game, Williams said Werth was available off the bench, but only on an emergency basis. That would help explain why Tyler Moore pinch-hit instead of Werth with two outs and two on base in the ninth inning against Marlins closer Steve Cishek. Williams said that Werth was available on Wednesday as well, with rookie Michael Taylor getting his second straight start in left field for the finale against Miami.
Werth, who remains on a program to rebuild strength in his shoulder, has gotten off to a slow start since making his season debut on April 13. In 19 games, he has hit .176/.247/.203 with two extra-base hits (both doubles), seven walks and 19 strikeouts. He also has made some miscues in left field.
"We don't want to push him to the point where he gets into a hole and can't get out of it," Williams said. "So there are times where we're going to have to give him a day or two."
Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.