WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Manny Acta gave young utility player Kory Casto a vote of confidence on Wednesday, calling him "part of our future." Washington's second-year skipper said he sees Casto as either a left-handed bat coming off the bench or as "an extra guy" for the Nationals next season.

Adding to Casto's value, Acta said the third baseman/outfielder could also see action at first base, primarily to get him more playing time. Casto took extra practice at first, with Acta's help, prior to batting practice on Wednesday.

"We need to give him some at-bats, so I'm gonna work him in there a little bit," Acta said.

Entering Wednesday, Casto is hitting .195 with a home run and nine RBIs in 77 at-bats this year. The 26-year-old has started at third base and at both corner outfield positions. He has appeared twice at first, though he's never started there.

Casto knows that the recent return of Austin Kearns and Ryan Zimmerman has left third base and the outfield pretty well covered for Washington.

"I know I'm not going to going to play every day," Casto said. "With Zimm back, he is going to play every single day, and the outfield is a bit crowded."

Acta said he doesn't think Casto has a long-term future at first base, expecting the left-hander to feature most prominently in the outfield.

Still, Casto was excited when asked about the possibility of playing at first. He said his "athleticism and ability" would allow him to play strong defense, particularly when fielding bunts and making other reaction plays.

"I feel I can do some things over at first that some guys can't do," Casto said. "It's a position where they put offensive guys over there. [I can] make some plays and be athletic over there."