(AP Photo/Chris Schneider)

Right fielder Jayson Werth told Manager Matt Williams he felt “a lot better” Thursday morning, a day after he received a cortisone shot in his inflamed right shoulder, Williams said.

Including Thursday night, Werth has missed four of the Nationals’ last six games with an acromioclavicular (AC) joint sprain. Williams said Werth will not start until Saturday at the earliest, but he could be available off the bench as a pinch hitter Friday.

“He said today he felt like it was about 50 percent better, so that’s a good sign,” Williams said. “It means that the anti-inflammatory medication is working. We’ll see what he looks like tomorrow, and then potentially the next day give him some work, let him start swinging.”

Williams said it’s “possible” Werth could be back in the lineup Saturday.

Meanwhile, fourth outfielder Nate McLouth does not seem close to a return from right shoulder inflammation. McLouth is eligible to return from the disabled list Sunday. He traveled with the Nationals to New York, but Williams said he has yet to resume baseball activities.

“He’s strengthening at this point,” Williams said. “At some point here, we’ll get him back out and start testing it a little bit. He’s on target.”

Top prospect Michael A. Taylor, who homered in his debut Tuesday night,  has taken Werth’s place in the lineup.