Duke understands the situation and is prepared to enter a game when called. Before games, Duke has bullpen sessions and throws on flat ground.
"I'm ready to go whenever," Duke said.
Duke is going into his first full season as a long reliever. He was considered the emergency starter to start the season until the Nationals signed right-hander Chris Young on Thursday. In his first six seasons in the big leagues, Duke was a starter for the Pirates.
"It's a little different, but through Spring Training, I felt great, feel healthy and I'm ready to get the ball whenever," Duke said.
The Reds have three left-handed hitters -- Jay Bruce, Joey Votto and Shin-Soo Choo -- in their starting lineup, so it wouldn't come as a surprise if Duke sees action in this series.
"I have a lot of familiarity with the Reds. I know Bruce and Votto. Choo is new to me. I've had success with the other guys. Hopefully, I will get in there," Duke said.
Duke entered the game against the Reds in Friday night's 15-0 loss and was hit hard, allowing six runs -- five earned -- in two and two-third innings.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.