VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals second baseman Anderson Hernandez hasn't played in a Spring Training game this year. The team wants to give him a week-long break because he had a combined 771 at-bats in the Major and Minor Leagues and the Dominican Winter League this past season.

Hernandez will not play in a game until Tuesday, when the Nationals play the Italian team as it prepares for the World Baseball Classic.

"We decided that he was not going to play in the first week because he had [close to 800 at-bats]," manager Manny Acta said. "He played every single game in winter ball and every single playoff game in winter ball. He is a small-frame type of guy. We decided to take it easy with him."

Hernandez is the leading candidate to become the Nationals' starting second baseman this year.

In other news, outfielder Austin Kearns has missed the past two games because of a blister in the palm of his left hand. The blister started to form before the exhibition season started and it got worse when he played against the Astros on Wednesday. Acta said Kearns could miss another two to three days before he returns to action.