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Johnson challenged to find work for bench players

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WASHINGTON -- Early in the season, the Nationals are enjoying good health and plenty of off-days, which means that getting work for the team's bench could be a challenge for manager Davey Johnson.

"The tough thing is when you have a couple of young players on the bench with Tyler Moore, [Steve Lombardozzi]," Johnson said. "That's the tough thing, because they're used to playing every day.

"With a lot of off-days early, especially with the makeup of this ballclub, nobody wants to come out of the lineup."

Infielder Chad Tracy and outfielder Roger Bernadina have more experience in bench roles. Lombardozzi and Moore both were rookies last season, and Lombardozzi -- a utility man -- started 83 games and topped 400 plate appearances as he filled in for various injured players.

Johnson will use double switches, among other tactics, to find extra at-bats for his reserves. But so long as the Nationals stay healthy, he expects to be dealing with the issue all season.

Tom Schad and Andrew Simon are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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