Davey doesn't want to overuse his relief pitchers

Davey doesn't want to overuse his relief pitchers

ATLANTA -- While Nationals manager Davey Johnson has no qualms about running out his regular position players every day down the stretch, he said Sunday he's going to remain cautious with how he uses his relievers.

"I don't want to overuse a guy. That's when injuries come in -- and a lack of effectiveness," Johnson said. "I use the bullpen, I lean on it, but I try to spread the work around. But I want them finishing strong.

"Every one of those guys are very valuable. Some of them thrive on a lot of use. With the starters doing what they've been doing, we really haven't had to lean on the 'pen, which is good."

Closer Tyler Clippard leads the team in appearances, with 66 entering Sunday, while Craig Stammen's 81 2/3 innings rank first among Nats relievers. Johnson felt comfortable that he hasn't overused Stammen, and he's often had little need to stretch out fellow long reliever Tom Gorzelanny, instead opting to use him in a more traditional short-relief role.

"They've really adjusted, and I think they're in pretty good shape," Johnson said. "I like where everybody's at, I think."