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Nats short-handed Tuesday due to illness, injury

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Nats short-handed Tuesday due to illness, injury play video for Nats short-handed Tuesday due to illness, injury

MIAMI -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson held first baseman Adam LaRoche out of the starting lineup Monday in order to get Tyler Moore some playing time. Bryce Harper and Denard Span were out of Tuesday's lineup, but not so that Johnson could get his bench players on the field.

Johnson said Harper and Span were both "very sick" with a stomach flu Monday night, adding that they've been dehydrated and unable to keep any food down. So Johnson had to start Roger Bernadina in center field, stick Moore in left and hope the Nationals could ride out Tuesday night's game against the Marlins with a two-man bench, Chad Tracy and Jhonatan Solano.

Harper and Span were scheduled to see a doctor at 6 p.m. ET at Marlins Park, but Johnson said they were "definitely not available to go." Harper showed up to Marlins Park late Tuesday afternoon, and Span was sent back to the hotel to rest after reporting to the field earlier this afternoon.

"I saw Span here earlier, and he looked like he needed to go back to bed," Johnson said. "Hopefully they'll have a quick recovery. ... I know it's been going around D.C., same thing. I hope it's just a 24-hour flu, but with some guys, it hangs on for two or three days."

Washington was already playing a man short, as second baseman Danny Espinosa is still getting treatment on his bruised right forearm. The swelling and bruising has mostly moved from his wrist further up his forearm, and he hoped to take a few swings off a tee at some point Tuesday. But he still wasn't ready to return to the field Tuesday.

Espinosa repeated what he said Monday, that he hopes to be back in the lineup for Wednesday's series finale at Marlins Park. If not, he said, he will be ready for Friday night's series opener in New York.

"He was in there getting treatment, trying to keep the swelling down in his right wrist or forearm, and then he was trying to get a lot of the blood out of there, because it bled quite a bit," Johnson said. "I know he was shooting, trying to be ready to play tomorrow. But I think more likely, with the day off, maybe Friday."

It's worth noting that starting pitchers Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann took batting practice Tuesday afternoon, meaning they could be called upon to pinch-hit if the situation arises. But the Nationals' short bench raised another question: Who's going to man the outfield if something happens to Moore, Bernadina or Jayson Werth?

Suffice it to say Johnson sparked quite a debate among the relievers in the clubhouse a few hours before the game.

"It was just a conversation that didn't bear a lot of fruit," the manager said.

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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