Wilfredo Lee/AP

Jayson Werth left Thursday’s game against the Braves in the fifth inning after his right hamstring tightened up again and, according to Manager Davey Johnson, he is expected to miss time as he rests the injury.

Werth, who had never suffered a hamstring injury in his career, felt the initial cramping on Tuesday, and it tightened as the game wore on. He fouled a ball off his left ankle in the eighth inning of that game but had already told Johnson he would need a pinch runner if he reached base.

He missed Wednesday’s game because of the ankle injury, and X-rays were negative. Werth tested out his ankle and hamstring before Thursday’s game and told Johnson he felt well enough to play. Werth, however, had to promise to Johnson that if he felt any discomfort he had to report it. When Freddie Freeman singled to right field in the fourth inning, Werth chased the ball down and reached for it, and he felt his hamstring tighten again.

“He didn’t want to lose me so I told him I’d be totally honest with him,” Werth said.

Werth said a doctor examined him and told him the hamstring injury wasn’t serious and “very mild.” Roger Bernadina replaced him in right field.

The Nationals play a three-game series in Pittsburgh beginning Friday and Johnson, who is overly cautious with hamstring injuries, likely won’t let Werth play for much — if any — of it. The struggling Nationals offense will receive a boost when Ryan Zimmerman is activated from the disabled list from a hamstring strain on Friday in Pittsburgh. Johnson said Werth won’t head to the disabled list.

“He’s a smart enough player to know that it was very close to pulling and it just got real tight on him,” Johnson said. “I talked to Lee Kuntz, our head trainer, and he said it’s a pull down at the bottom of the hammy and he warned me the other game that he had to come out, and then he hit the ball off his ankle and then it was the ankle that was bothering him and not the hammy. It was my fault. I shouldn’t have played him anyway.”

“I was fine up until then, so hopefully it’s nothing,” Werth added. “I felt like I could go. I felt fast. Tested it before the game. I don’t feel like i was doing anything that I shouldn’t have been doing, playing. Just one of those things.”