WASHINGTON -- With the All-Star break looming, the Nationals plan to reshuffle their pitching staff next week after the layoff, manager Manny Acta said on Saturday.
The Nationals skipper said the team would go with a rotation order of Tim Redding, John Lannan, Odalis Perez, Jason Bergmann and Collin Balester out of the break. Washington begins the season's unofficial second half with a three-game series in Atlanta.
Acta added that Bergmann, who last pitched on Thursday and faces the prospect of a 12-day layoff between starts, will be available out of the bullpen for the Nationals during their first two games against the Braves.
Acta said he intends to try to get Bergmann in one of those two games to break up the long period of inactivity between his last start and his next one.
Before Saturday's game, Acta praised his rotation, which he said was perceived as a possible weakness headed into the season. The staff has been strong lately, posting a 4.41 ERA so far this season -- 0.70 points better than last year -- and 41 quality starts in 94 games.
"Those guys have been outstanding, our starting rotation," Acta said. "Guys like John Lannan and Bergmann, the young guys coming up, and now Balester have been part of it. [Joel] Hanrahan [has been] developing in the bullpen, too. It has been the bright spot, all those young guys that have been in the pitching staff. I don't know where we would be without those guys."
Zachary Osterman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.