8/22/2013 1:30 A.M. ET
Davey plans to take a look at some young players
By Manny Randhawa / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Nationals manager Davey Johnson said Wednesday that he plans on getting a look at some younger players over the final few weeks of the regular season.
Coming into Wednesday's game against the Cubs, the Nationals were 9 1/2 games behind the Reds for the second National League Wild Card spot.
"We're not in the position I'd like to be in, but there is a necessity to look at some guys," Johnson said. "We'll be doing that. I mentioned the other day that Tyler Moore had to get some at-bats, some pretty regular at-bats."
Johnson declined to be more specific as far as what other players he might play down the stretch.
"I'll do that with some other guys," he said. "I'm not going to go into names because that's going to happen on a daily basis. It's not going to be a set plan."
Johnson was asked about whether Danny Espinosa may be called up when rosters expand in September, and he expressed concern that the middle infielder hasn't played up to his potential with Triple-A Syracuse this season.
As of Wednesday, Espinosa was hitting .202 with two home runs and 15 RBIs in 64 Triple-A games. Prior to being placed on the disabled list on June 4, he began the season with the Nationals but had a .158/.193/.272 slash line.
"There have been discussions of [calling him up], and right now we're trying to get him back on track," Johnson said. "It's also a reward system when you get called back up. It's a reward on how you did down there. He's not doing the things I know he's capable of doing. But there's still a little time left, and we'll just have to wait and see."
Johnson also said that he'll be doing some more platooning at certain positions.
"Going forward I am going to be kind of doing a little bit of platooning, which I don't feel I needed to do early," Johnson said. "But guys haven't performed at the level they were supposed to be performing at, so I will give some other guys an opportunity in a kind of semi-platoon role.
"At this point in the year, your performance dictates really how you're used going forward."
Haren credits Ramos after his latest solid start
CHICAGO -- After earning his fourth win in his last five starts with six strong innings in Tuesday's 4-2 win over the Cubs, Nationals starter Dan Haren credited his catcher with calling a great game despite Haren not having his best stuff early.
"Wilson [Ramos] did a really good job [Tuesday], because I was throwing pitches that I don't really throw in counts -- 2-0 splits, 3-2 splits, you know, 0-2 fastballs or 2-2 fastballs," Haren said. "He was really mixing it up well.
"I didn't have my best stuff, I really didn't. Especially in the beginning … I think [Ramos] noticed that a little bit and he saw what was working for me. … He's good at sensing kind of what's there for me and he did a really good job tonight."
Ramos said Wednesday that it's all a matter of understanding his pitchers and building a good working relationship with each one of them.
"The last couple of years here, people know it's a young pitching staff, but they're very smart guys so I try to stay on the same page with them all the time," Ramos said.
"For me that's the key [to calling] a good game -- when the catcher tries to stay on the same page as the pitcher, things will be good."
• Ian Desmond was taken out of the game in a fifth-inning double switch by Johnson in the Nationals' 11-6 win over the Cubs on Wednesday night. After the game, Desmond said it was due to back tightness that he had felt during batting practice prior to the game.
Johnson said after the game that he hopes to have Desmond back in the lineup Thursday.
"He wasn't his usual self," Johnson said. "His back was really bothering him. He had to go in after he couldn't take ground balls [between innings]. There was a situation made to order [where] I could get him out of there, and hopefully he'll be able to play tomorrow."
• According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Haren has a 2.16 ERA since returning from the disabled list July 8, which is eighth best in the NL since July 1.
Haren's ERA of 6.15 through the end of June was the third worst in the Majors, ahead of Clayton Richard (7.01) and Jeff Francis (6.58). Both rankings are among pitchers with a minimum of 50 innings pitched over both periods.
• Roger Bernadina -- who was released by the Nationals on Monday -- has signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, and he was in uniform for tonight's game against the Rockies at Citizens Bank Park.
Bernadina, who signed with the Montreal Expos when he was 17 years old in 2001, had been the organization's longest-tenured player.
He hit .178 (27-for-152) with two home runs and six RBIs in 85 games for the Nationals this season.
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.