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Washington Nationals’ lineup for 1st of 2 with Atlanta Braves in SunTrust Park...

Davey Martinez is trying to balance the need to keep his hot bats in the Nationals’ lineup with keeping his veterans healthy and everyone fresh.

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Gerardo Parra went 1 for 4 with a double and a run scored in the Nationals’ 3-1 loss to the Miami Marlins on Monday afternoon in Washington, D.C., leaving him 11 for 35 (.314 AVG) over 12 games (and nine starts) since he joined the organization on May 10th.

Parra started in center field, his first start and second appearance there with the Nationals, and he managed to turn a fairly impressive 8-6 double play, making a leaping catch at the center field wall in the fourth, and strong throw in to second base to catch a runner trying to tag and advance to second.

“He’s a veteran guy that can play all three outfield positions, and as we talked about earlier, he’s got a cannon for an arm, made an unbelievable play and threw the guy out at second base,” Davey Martinez said after the Nationals’ 3-2 loss to the Marlins.

The way he’s hitting since joining the roster, is Parra making a case to get more starts as part of the outfield mix?

“Well, he knows his role,” Martinez said.

“We’re going to get him in there against right-handed pitching, but I love him because he’s another left-handed bat off the bench, and yet he can come in and play all three outfield positions, play first base for us, even pinch run for us if need be, but since we got him he’s been great. One thing I’ll mention is he’s a leader in that clubhouse too, which I really like, and he helps all the Latin players, which is really, really good.”

Another player known as a positive clubhouse presence is Howie Kendrick, whose pinch hit single on Monday afternoon left him 38 for 122 (.309/.350/.553) on the season.

Martinez talked after Sunday’s game, in which Kendrick was 3 for 5 with a home run, about how he decides when the veteran needs a rest and how he fights the urge to play Kendrick every day as he tries to keep him healthy.

“You want to put him out there every day,” Martinez explained, “... but I’ve got to make sure he’s rested and that he stays healthy throughout the whole year. The good thing about it, we got [Matt Adams] back, and when we signed Parra to play first base, those two guys help a lot now. Two veteran guys that could come off the bench and could play first base against righties both, so it gives us an opportunity to rest Howie and get him in there when we feel we can.”

Asked how difficult those decisions are when the team is struggling, and when Nats’ second baseman Brian Dozier was struggling in the first two months, Martinez said he and Kendrick talk each day and manage his starts together.

“I have conversations with Howie, and we talk a lot and he lets me know when his legs are heavy, because he’s had a lot of hamstring issues and I know that, so like I said, if I can plop him in in a game where he can pinch hit in a big moment, that means just as much to us as it does if he’s getting four at bats. I know getting him four at bats he can do what he did today, but the days he doesn’t feel right, to keep him fresh, we are able to put him in as a pinch hitter, it’s awesome.”

Did Martinez pencil either Parra or Kendrick into the lineup for tonight’s matchup with the Braves in Atlanta?