Williams has decisions to make for Nats bench

Williams has decisions to make for Nats bench

JUPITER, Fla. -- As camp hits the stretch run, the Nationals have yet to figure out how their bench will be constructed. Outfielders Scott Hairston and Nate McLouth and catcher Jose Lobaton are expected to be part of the bench.

Manager Matt Williams has to figure out at least two other players, and they will probably come from the infield. Jamey Carroll and possibly Danny Espinosa could be part of the bench.

The Nationals want their bench to be better than last year. Washington's reserves were 44-for-212 (.208), with seven home runs and 17 RBIs as pinch-hitters in 2013.

"In order to be a World Series-caliber team, the team must have a strong bench throughout the year," Hairston said.

Hairston, who joined the team in the second half last year, felt that Washington's bench players "didn't get as much reps as they needed to stay fresh.

"Sometimes, when you let five or six days go by without seeing live pitching and then you try to get back in there, it's almost kind of like starting over. When you have the type of talent that we have -- the starting eight -- it's sometimes hard to take them out of the lineup and use your bench."

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.