WASHINGTON -- Dodgers manager Joe Torre originally filled out his lineup card Tuesday with Jeff Kent on the bench to give the 40-year-old second baseman and his aching back a rest.

But when Kent walked into the clubhouse and told Torre he felt fine, the manager penciled him back into his typical No. 3 slot.

"There's times when you go over to him and he'll be dragging a little bit, and he'll be honest with me on that, but when he said [he was OK], that's all I really need to hear," Torre said.

Torre still hopes to give Kent, catcher Russell Martin and possibly third baseman Casey Blake a breather in Los Angeles' series against the last-place Nationals to keep them fresh in advance of this weekend's showdown in Phoenix against the first-place D-backs, who entered Tuesday leading the Dodgers by three games in the National League West.

Los Angeles will also likely have the services of reliever Cory Wade (right shoulder inflammation) in time for the Arizona series, as he's expected to be activated on Wednesday after coming out of a Minor League rehab stint Monday for Class A Great Lakes feeling fine.

Wade gave up one hit in a scoreless inning in which he threw 13 pitches before finishing his work with 13 more pitches in the bullpen.

The right-hander said he's a bit sore, comparing it to what he feels like at the beginning of Spring Training, but he said it's nothing abnormal and there's no pain in the injured area.

Wade, a rookie who had never spent time on the disabled list in either the Majors or the Minors, said he had a "terrible" time being away from the field.

"It was hard watching," he said. "I definitely have no desire to go back on the DL."