Nationals' Jayson Werth returns after 5-game absence

WASHINGTON -- Jayson Werth is back in the Washington Nationals' lineup after missing five games with a shoulder injury.

"Very relieved," said manager Dusty Baker, who has Werth batting seventh and playing right field against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday. "It's going to take some time get his timing and stuff."

Werth, who missed almost three months after fracturing his foot in early June, had just three hits in 28 at-bats over eight games after returning Aug. 28. Baker revealed Werth's shoulder had been hurting since getting hit by a pitch during his minor-league rehab assignment in August.

The 38-year old veteran isn't the only Washington outfielder who's been banged up. All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper has been sidelined since suffering a knee injury on Aug. 12. On Wednesday afternoon, Baker said that Harper has progressed to doing some light running, soft toss and hitting off a tee.

"Hopefully, if nothing else goes wrong, we start getting some of these guys back in time to get them back to top competitive form and shape," Baker said.

Veteran second baseman Daniel Murphy, who ranks fourth in the National League with a .321 average, is out of the lineup Wednesday with a stiff neck.

"He had it yesterday and I could just tell by the way he was swinging," Baker said of Murphy, who went 1-for-3 with a walk in Washington's 8-0 loss and currently has a six-game hitting streak.

Rookie Wilmer Difo will start at second base for the Nats, who are 4.5 games behind the Dodgers for the National League's best record.