MIAMI -- Balancing September callups and a postseason chase can prove to be a challenging act.
Washington entered Sunday's series finale against the Marlins eight games behind the Reds for the second National League Wild Card spot with 21 games remaining.
"[I want to] get them some experience up here and get a better read on how they fit in our future," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said. "We have pretty much a set lineup, so you're looking at guys who are bench players -- not anybody that's going to beat anybody I've got on this ballclub."
Friday night's 7-0 loss offered Johnson the chance to utilize five relievers. With a big lead on Saturday, he inserted Eury Perez, who has shown his speed tracking balls in the outfield, as a defensive replacement. He caught a Logan Morrison liner for the second out of the ninth in Saturday's win.
Though he wants to give some prospects a taste of the Majors -- like Zach Walters pinch-hitting appearance on Friday -- winning won't be compromised.
"I'm still using the players I think are best suited for us to win a ballgame," Johnson said. "By the same token, I have in mind that these guys are up here to reward [them] for a good year, and they're our top prospects. So when the situation arises, I'll definitely get them in there."
Christina De Nicola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.